Monday, October 27, 2014

The Fellowship of the Snark

These headless anapaests of Lewis Carroll rollick onwards in their frolicksome procession and who are we to deny their cantering allure? Of course, the essence of an anapaest is the idea of a reversal (a reversal of a reversal, actually, two steps backward and one step forward) and what better expresses the idea of reversal than the dawning realization that one is speaking in a language that no one understands? The unfortunate Baker is quite literally going backwards as the sense of what he says is instantly transformed into nonsense by his puzzled auditors.

Snarkologists call this sort of thing the Snarkosocratic Method, a kind of dialectic in which a question is responded to as though it were absolute nonsense. This in turn forces the questioner to endlessly repeat himself until his uncomprehending auditors gradually lose interest and finally go away.

Left alone in his splendidly impenetrable semiolinguistic Fortress of Solitude, the Baker is now free to concentrate his intellectual powers upon himself. Toying with the building-blocks of language and meaning, he will arrive at some sort of Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything in It … eventually …

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wu Tang Snark

False pretences are the bane of modern life or so I’m told. Although Lewis Carroll seems to have composed here an entire poem devolving entirely from the concept of false pretences and all the semiotic and logical heartache they can inflict upon the tender-hearted and tender-brained, in our more louche age the concept of false pretences has inspired instead a steady diet of policiers, bodice-ripping Mills & Boons and true-life confessional serial-killer-self-help-vademeca.

Very well, let the masses have their sensationalist Lewis Carroll, their police gazette Hunting of the Snark! If it’s murder and false pretences they want, let ‘em have it!

The heart of the problem, as I saw it, was to produce a drawing with a maximum of false pretensions and a minimum of actual labor. My eyes fell upon samples of certain competitors of mine, artists blessed with an abundance of spare time and a minimum of talent which they had parlayed into a critically-acclaimed career of coprophiliac jokes, professional amateurism and an uncanny penchant for receiving 99% of a book's fee while doing 1% of the work.

Gosh! Throwing caution to the winds, I brushed aside my idly gyrating Assamese nautch girl, recklessly purchased an entire sheet of second-grade-fresh Denril and pushed another quarter into the meter of my steam-driven pencil! Working without respite, I laboured to flesh out the Baker’s criminal pretence, multiplying his crypto-Carrollian visage seven-fold!

Huzzah for the critics! In a world of false pretences, who is the menaced assassin and who is the menacing victim now? Look out, New York art-wallahs, here comes a real maverick!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Through a glass, snarkly

A strange brew: a pastoral melancholy of the gods resurgent, a fête galant of the ancien regime, the reveries of Lewis Carroll and an illustrator slumbering over his ink-pot …

The Fellowship of the Snark has succumbed to the most delicious ennui, the most languid douceur possible … it is impossible, amidst the heady scent of perfumed bowers and amorous glances, to even speak that hateful word Boojum … far easier for the Boots to nibble on his ladylove’s niobic neck, far easier for the Butcher to lead the gallant company of andromachean mannequins and embryonic homunculi down the verdant lawn towards the wondrous, gilded barge whose pilot, the Bellman, will steer them to the sanctuary of Cythera, that isle of enchantment where all things distasteful softly and suddenly vanish away into their constituent, Savinio-esque semioglyphs …

Monday, October 6, 2014

Things fall a-snark, the centre cannot hold …

I submit for your perusal the word uffish in the above lines. Lewis Carroll explained it thus: "it (uffish) seemed to suggest a state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish."

A likely story … I suspect that all this Carrollian neologicomania was nothing more than a clever, crypto-linguistic metatheory (hatched, no doubt, in some "scenic" bathing machine) which attempts to explain the Origin of Language in the Human Species by means of the Clochetic Rule-of-Three!

Simply put, the learned Mister Carroll was pointing out, through repeated utterances of neologisms such as uffish and brillig and Boojum, that whatever we tell one another three times eventually does become true, that is to say, we need look no further for any linguistic First Cause than the simple observation that long, long ago, certain sounds became words through mere repetition. We might even say that sound becomes symbol through repetition, or even better, chaos becomes logic through repetition. So much for the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything in It! Mister Carroll seems to have whittled it all down to a proper size, easily digestible and suitable for the unwashed masses.

Of course, there are always certain idle loafers lounging in every philosophical woodpile, hairshirt-wallahs such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, who dismissed the linguistic and logical implications of Carroll’s Clochetic Rule-of-Three by sniffing (in German, no less!) that it was as if “someone were to buy several copies of the morning paper to assure himself that what it said was true.”

To which we reply: What rubbish! Quelle bêtise! Was für ein Quatsch!

NB. Needless to say, our prelingual, Adamic ancestors did not read newspapers. They preferred perusing the above drawing and verses, which would have been engraved upon the walls of their semi-Platonic caves. Note carefully the plethora of doors delineated in both. These are the doors of perception, which, if cleansed, would allow everything to appear to the Snark concealed behind each of ‘em as it truly is — infinite! You do realize, don't you, that to these concealed Snarks, we are the concealed infinity behind their doors?