Monday, December 26, 2011

Fit 7, pg. 75/1 … raise high the snark beam, carpenters

What better way to celebrate Boxing Day than to ogle this salacious image of Karl Marx in blackface doing a disjointed, Nonsensical Carrollian bump and grind?

Lesser-minded readers will reach for their politically correct smelling salts or even their attorneys but well-oiled Carrollians will heave a self-satisfied sigh of relief at all of this, for they know that in this, Fit the Seventh of our GN version of the Hunting of the Snark, the Banker has been transmogrified twice! First by this artist, who has been depicting him throughout this Snark as Karl Marx and second, by his nemesis, the Bandersnatch, who has reversed his various Caucasian, upper-crust British Victorian polarities into those of a rupee-less, paan-chomping Hindustani rickshaw wallah slumming his way through the salad days of the British Raj.

All of this is per the instruction of the Admirable Carroll, naturally, so don't look askance. He wrote it all down in black and white anapaestics, in a coded message entitled The Hunting of the Snark which this artist then de-ciphered into anapaestic, Protosurrealist crosshatchings of the darkest, inkiest splendor.

It is horrible and senseless and rather confusing, this Carrollian Multiverse we call the Snark and as the observant reader can see below, its gravitational perturbations are rippling through the very fabric of time and space as we speak. Observe this oddly-shelved copy of our Snark which was spotted at a bookstore, endeavouring to say what its tongue could no longer express

Thanks to the talented and keen-eyed poet Sommer Browning for alerting us to this curious incident and please, if the person responsible for this shelving is reading this, accept my heartfelt thanks. I salute your innate sense of Surrealist horror, your senseless grimace at the pigeon-holing, soul-crushing dictates of modern commerce.

Carroll rubbing shoulders with Sappho and Ovid, the mind boggles deliciously.

NB. Sommer wrote a good essay on Steve Martin (my favorite American comedian) at the Rumpus. What better way to waste your employer's time this busy week than by reading her perceptive take on America's only genuine Surrealist … plus Brother Theodore, of course …

Monday, December 19, 2011

A child's christmas in Snark Island

Alas, dear readers, but the press of deadlines this week forces me to be an utter cad and skip the usual Snark commentary … instead, I must offer you a re-run, an earlier episode from this GN version of the Snark in which the HMS Snark set sail for Snark Island in a billowy puff of surrealist steam.

I've worked up this panel into a screensaver, cunningly heightened to a level of chromatic gaudiness sufficient to blow out your optical gaskets, if that's your sort of thing.

What better way to enjoy your Saturnalia than by staring at this screensaver whilst idly turning the pages of your GN Snark purchased from any of the above on-line links, or even better, from your favorite bookstore? Well, there is another way but it involves a lot of illicit scurrying around with bottles and flasks and bunsen burners, so we'll leave it to the reader's imagination to sort out the lurid, delightful details.

And remember, 42% of all the profits that this artist makes from this Snark will go towards the assistance of any idly-gyrating Assamese nautch girls he happens to find flitting about his ink-soaked charpoy! All aboard for Saturnalia!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fit 7, pg. 74/2 … black and white and snark all over

In an earlier stanzel we subjected The Banker/Karl Marx to the indignities of vamping as a perfumed houri in the lascivious environs of a Turkish harem but that is nothing to his current employment in a Carrollian minstrel show. 

Yes, the Bandersnatch has worked its magic at last, the hypnotic spell of the Orient has done its hypno thing and both reader and Snarquista stand amazed at this climactic thing-um-a-bob at the heart of Fit the Seventh.

Reflexive readers will grasp that there is a bit of artistic commentary going on here, most of it focussed upon Victorian British attitudes towards their Indian subjects but lighter-hearted readers can just go ahead and giggle up their mulligatawny soup whilst sitting in their bungalow, pajama clad and taking a good dekko at this latest instalment of The Hunting of the Snark.

And why not? It's all Nonsense and has hardly any bearing on anything at all except whatever I've surreptitiously meant it to have, ie. it's a wonderful thing to be seen!

Clear as rain, I should think.

NB. My memory is its usual swiss cheese holey thing but I remember reading somewhere of a minstrel show version of the Snark performed in the USA shortly after its publication … perhaps one of Doug Howick's more startling discoveries?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fit 7, pg. 74/1 … the snarkhood of nivasio dolcemare

A sudden outbreak of paranoid Orientalism has overwhelmed every drop of precious ink spilled upon this stanzel. Where once we saw pleasantly buffoonish Snark Hunters disporting themselves against a backdrop of English garden parties and nursery room labyrinths, we are now confronted with the raw animal passions of … well, animals.

The role of animals in Marxism is only lightly touched upon in academia but thanks to our cunning stratagem of employing Karl Marx to play the role of the Banker in this GN version of the Snark, it's about time we put an end to all that sort of thing.

As always, it was the Italian supra-surrealist Alberto Savinio who first grasped the essence of the animal-proletariat's dilemma:

Totemism is a sign of the dignity animals once enjoyed, a testimony that the earth was once a paradise. But the memory of this paradise grows more and more dim.

Paradise is precisely what both capitalism (the Banker) and Marxism (Karl Marx) promise all humans foolish enough to check in their brains at the door whenever invited to warm themselves beside any sort of comfy, warm mental fire.

And what was Orientalism for the Victorians but just more of the same? A paradise peopled by commodified humans regarded as monkey-like primitives (the worst sort of totems) until they clapped you inside a Bandersnatch's basket.

Go ahead and threaten them with your mass-produced, rationalist's forks and hope and smiles and soap but it's just as you feared: ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee, just as you feared …

Next week: nonlinear thinking + linear inking = 100% snark