Monday, December 23, 2013

Everywhere man is born free and everywhere man is snarked

You know that your professional life has taken a turn for the better when people will pay to see your drawings of The Banker, AKA Karl Marx, vamping his way through the British Raj in blackface (or brownface, to be precise). But I digress …

This stanzel is jam-packed with jolly bits of scrumptious, Nonsense-soaked Carrollian references. Would it interest you to know that:

1. Mimsy is a portmanteau of miserable and flimsy. The word is current throughout the Carrollian Multiverse, ranging from Snark Island to Looking Glass Land. Pessimistic linguists call this sort of thing a Grimm Shift, while their more psychologically attuned colleagues prefer to call it a Freudian Slip. The main thing is getting the word out of her knickers and into something a little more comfortable.

2. The Banker is rattling his bones and fingering his hair; the former is a reference to Mister Bones, a stock character in Victorian minstrel shows who would literally play himself, ie., play the bones … and the latter is a probably just the Banker luxuriating in his newly-minted, windswept locks.  Dialectical materialism works wonders on the dreaded Bed Head.
The Bone Player, by William Stanley Mount

3. The deliciously well-turned line, "words whose utter inanity proved his insanity," is a cleverly veiled jab at the letter "S", whose appearance inside a word, say inanity, seems sufficient here to render it unfit to operate heavy machinery or make major financial decisions. This petty defamation of the letter "S" is itself a classic example of the inability of most phonemes to just get along. Why can't they learn to live in peace with one another? It's utter insanity, their communal inanity.