Monday, October 31, 2016
Profiles in Nonsense: My Favorite Martin
The Encyclopedia Snarkiana defines a Barrister as someone who tries to appeal to the Beaver’s pride, vainly citing a number of cases in which making laces has been proved an infringment of right.
Lewis Carroll, the author of those lines, further elaborated upon them by providing the Barrister with a ready-made dream to occupy him with in Fit the 6th. This dream was also furnished with a snappy soundtrack by Messers Gilbert and Sullivan and a full supporting cast of judge, jury, witnesses and defendant. The oneiric defendant (and substitute judge and jury) was none other than the Snark itself, which led to a bit of what well-oiled jurists call a conflict of interest. The Snark’s legal status as a nonexistent, fictitious and nonsensical creature can be best summed up as being Nothing, and nothing, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, comes from Nothing.
This illustrator chewed over that legal, ethical and even metaphysical conundrum for quite a while when he was first looking about for someone to cast in the role of the Barrister. After countless auditions with aspiring non-entities ranging from obscenely wealthy middle-class American politicos to an entire gaggle of opiated American radio talkshow intellectuals, I threw my hands up in the air in despair. It was impossible, finding someone who could encapsulate the very essence of Nothing so thoroughly that it even permeated his dreams!
At that moment, the door opened and a sweaty and rotund German intellectual eased himself and his moustache onto The Hunting of the Snark’s rather tatty casting couch. It was Martin Heidegger, the notorious Continental philosopher and Black Forest gadabout. It turns out that good ol’ Martin had spent considerable ink and governmental educational subsidies bloviating ad nauseam on the subject of Nothing. It seems like everywhere Martin looked, in the kitchen, in the shower, behind the sofa, there it was, the bane of Existentialism — Nothing!
Of course, he had a fancy German name for it, curious readers can read all about it and much more here, but in short, Martin was our man. The fourth member of the B-Boyz, the Barrister, was going to be Martin Heidegger! Exhausted by the search, I lay back and lit up a hand-rolled Brazilian samba girl. Things were back to normal at Chez Snark, Nothing was working its nonsense mojo once again.