Monday, November 23, 2015
Another crypto-scholastic cri de coeur from the Subtle Don, Lewis Carroll, cunningly palmed off by him as the Butcher’s usual Snark Hunting blather. For the benefit of readers who may have just emerged from the washroom and are discreetly eying the exit whilst wondering what all the ruckus is about, scholasticism was an insidious bit of Continental thinkery brought over to England in unlicensed bathing machines and then peddled discreetly in certain no-questions-asked academic circles frequented by the finest medieval chatteratti of the day.
It was advertised as strong medicine for all manner of mental boojums, in particular, the disconcerting lapse between how we think things should be and how we actually find them to be. Such lapses seemed to plague the rook racked and river-rounded purlieus of Oxford in particular, so much so that Gerard Manley Hopkins found it necessary to work his inimitable brand of poetical juju upon the place …
… these walls are what
He haunted who of all men most sways my spirits to peace;
Of realty the rarest-veinèd unraveller …
The unvaricose Oxonian unraveller that Hopkins is rhapsodizing is none other than Duns Scotus, the professional theologian and fiendish disputant of all things trinitarian. If his name is not one which is lightly bandied about your dinner table, fret not; his Warholian fifteen minutes will be over before you have even finished your dessert!
This will be a simple transmogrification. We liberally apply several gallons of india ink recycled from an obscure Surrealist travel poster atop the hapless Duns; then we accessorize him with an appropriate chapeau and finish by triumvirating him.
Gosh, dada was right, the hat does make the man! Our rather pasty-faced theologian is now become a strapping, young specimen of a Snark Hunter flexing his rhetorical muscles with a showstopping visual demonstration of the Clochetic Rule of Three!
Yes indeed, gentle readers, this successful demonstration of a tautological trinity of Jubjubs is proof positive that wishful thinking trumps logic as far as Snark Hunting goes. Henceforth, please keep your minds empty and your beliefs in an upright and locked position for the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Monday, November 9, 2015
The story so far: An Oxford don, known to the authorities as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, has been apprehended soliciting persons whose names begin with the letter B, urging them to participate in what he calls a "hunting of the snark". When pressed for more substantial details, the self-styled Mr. Lewis Carroll claimed that he had absolutely no idea what it all meant and that furthermore, he was himself being harassed by a certain Jubjub, a person of unspecified origin with possible links to a notorious organized-poetry syndicate.
And now …
A screaming comes across the sky. Somewhere a Jubjub bird was wreaking havoc on some other, less fortunate part of Oxford but the Butcher wasn’t buying it. Not anymore, not today. The Bellman had warned him long ago. Be a man, he’d said, and he said it three times, like he really meant it.
But the Bellman was gone now. They were all gone, it was just him and the Beaver. And she’d lost it way back in Fit the Fourth, in that freakshow scene with the black lace.
It was all up to him now. Just play it straight, just take it easy, Carroll had told him. Sure, take it easy, try taking it easy when the anapaests are hammering your skull like jackhammers and the crosshatching makes your skin crawl. Yeah, take it easy while every two-bit, punk academic with a jones for a dissertation topic takes a cheap shot at you. Like the Butcher needed a college degree to know that it was all absurd, that it was all just nonsense and that there was a Boojum waiting for him at the end of the road.
The Beaver said something incomprehensible in Japanese and an origami crane fluttered by. It’s time, the Butcher thought to himself.
Without thinking at all, with his mind totally empty of any thought save one, the Butcher raised his hand, slowly at first and then faster, faster, as high as he could, even higher than the Other’s hand, that disembodied hand with which they all grappled, as high as that hand which was turning and pointing towards him. The Butcher thought to himself, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on, and then it was over — he’d already forgotten the question and it was too late, the Other’s hand had passed him over — again!
“Like a dunce!” the Butcher said, it was as if the shame of it must outlive him.