The coin of the realm these postlapsarian days seems to be the last and greatest bastion of that very same unblinking faith in the unseen which characterized the salad days of the Middle Ages. Nowadays, most governments print and mint the stuff by the bushel with nothing more to back it up save a vague promise of an tattered xerox of a smudged fax of a unfocussed photograph of a crude drawing of a shifty rumour of someone, somewhere, actually doing something of value sufficient to prop up the coin in question.
However, in the Nonsense world of Lewis Carroll, and more to the point, in the Barrister’s Dream of the Hunting of the Snark,
we find a refreshingly hard-nosed, Victorian mentality vis-a-vis
whatever coin of the realm you might be trying to palm off on the
locals. Messers Carroll & Dodgson had a healthy respect for money,
struggling as they did to support various spinster sisters (AKA spinsisters
in certain musical circles) and even the odd charity case on an
academic’s meager salary. The Snark’s pooh-poohing of
the charge of Insolvency on the part of his piggish client would have struck a chord with Carroll & Dodgson.
Snark’s defense of "never indebted" must come as a vindication of sorts
to the Pig, whose depiction here as a piggy bank will no doubt amuse the
simpler-minded reader. Giant, auspicious pigs with financial and
psychic clout were once all the rage in certain mythical, Celtic quarters and such cheap visual sleights-of-hand are this artist’s inky stock-in-trade.
the Barrister would also like to draw your attention to the chorus line
of Martin Heideggers who are shimmying seductively to the delightful
tune of When it Rains, It Rains Pennies From Heaven.
It’s a comforting melody composed to allay the Judge’s crypto-Calvinist
suspicions of any rumored pay-offs emanating from Upstairs and to also
lull the Jury into contemplating the possibility that the Pig isn’t
responsible for his actions since Society Made Him Do It Anyway (a legal defense employed, curiously enough, by the real Martin Heidegger).
what’s this, the Judge sputters in dismay! These are no pennies
cascading into the Heidegger-Pig, these are — gasp! — shekels! Even more
suspicious, these are Tyrian shekels! These notorious coins,
adorned with the likeness of the Phoenician god Melqart or Baal, were
the favored form of payment for the most infamous act of Treason ever
done, yes, they were the fee earned by Judas when he threw his lot in
with you-know-who — Beelzebub & Assoc., Esq.! This same Beelzebub,
associated in Jewish legal circles with the afore-mentioned Baal (and
both of 'em B-Boyz, eh?), has also been seen in company with that pesky
Lord of the Flies so memorably depicted by William Golding as a big, fat
pig’s head impaled on a stick for the amusement of a crowd of hooting
under-age lager louts on holiday.
To sum up, milord and dear
readers, this tragic descent of a benevolent, well-moneyed Celtic pig
into a satanic, treasonous Judeo-Christian pig is no mere question of
fudge, as my learned Snark colleague would have it. No, it is even
worse, it is a prime example of Gresham’s Law — bad pigs drive out good!
The defense rests in a crouched, fetal position, as ever, till next week …