Monday, January 16, 2012

Fit 8, pg. 77 … is that a snark in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

Parental Warning: This week's Snark posting contains scenes of paranoiac-critical crosshatching and surrealist innuendo that may not be suitable for younger readers.

Devoted readers will know that I've made the frontispiece of each Fit of this Snark into a visual pun of some feeble sort. They will also know that the Snark itself is concealed in each frontispiece, vamping it up in the cunning disguise of an Unsleeping Eye, ie., what is the Snark? — it is Eye!

Undevoted or even flagrantly promiscuous readers will wonder what all the fuss is about. Are they being thickies or is there no discernable pun in this, the very last frontispiece of the very last Fit (or Fitt in the traditional Anglo-Saxon) of our GN?

Well, it all depends upon your definition of what a pun is, or even, as a certain American libertine once noted, upon your definition of what "is" is. For what we have here is not a literal Vanishing but a visual Vanishing, a Vanishing away of the poet Lewis Carroll (upon whom the soon-to-be-Vanished Baker is modeled), out of the 19th-century British Raj and into the natty decor of a 1930s Upper West Side apartment furnished by none other than Salvador "Avida Dollars" Dali.

Face of Mae West Which May Be Used as an Apartment by Salvador Dali (1935)

We've already had a go at Dali and his paranoiac-critical method, an addictive type of eye-candy which can lead to dilated pupils, loss of motor coordination and workplace giggles (better known as Gateway Surrealism Syndrome), but I think we've successfully plumbed new depths here by insinuating the Admirable Carroll into the private residence of the legendary Mae West, a woman of genuine capabilities. Hubba hubba, as they say here in Montreal (although it's a silent "h", bien sûr).

Lewis Carroll AKA Charles Lutwidge Dodgson AKA The Baker

More sober-minded readers will ponder the fact that the portrait of Carroll used as reference by this artist was made by Oscar Rejlander, a talented photographer whose work will be cropping up again on page 81, thanks mainly to his public domain status, the poor dope.

My drunken, slobbering, tie-askew, pants-disheveled readers can skip all that and go ahead and google ( a portmanteau of "go ogle") Mae West, a woman who carnalized the Bellman's Clochetic Rule of Three into a handy dictum which fits discreetly into any young lady's purse, viz. “I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.”

NB. The Boot's well-turned ankling is no accident, it is — the shape of things to come!

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