Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fit One, Page Six, Panel One

The last of the crew needs especial remark,
Though he looked an incredible dunce:

He had just one idea — but, that one being "Snark,"

The good Bellman engaged him at once.

It's a fair cop, guv'nor! The Bellman, assisted by the Fellowship of the Snark, brandishes his clochetic truncheon at this wallah's stoney noggin. Note further, my dear Watson, that a close reading of the text with a fine-toothed comb and well-knitted brow elicits the following facts:

Given …
The duncedness of this otherwise un-named crewmember is literally not-to-be-believed, a statement which itself is not-to-be-believed since it has not been repeated the requisite three times.
Given …
The sole internal property of this non-nonbelievable dunce is Snark.
From which …
The total epistemology of a dunce is a snark.
And therefore …
To possess a dunce is to possess a ready-made Platonic Ideal of a Snark — and in a very handy demi-godlike package too!
And therefore…
This dunce is no dunce, eh? QED!

So, our dunce is an imposter disguising himself as an Easter Island moia with an uncanny penchant for resembling the notorious French confidence-picturist and double-crosser, Eugène Delacroix! After some rough handling and quick bell-work, the so-called Eugène made the following (internal, hence epistemologically dunciad) statement:

"… one should not be too difficult. An artist should not treat himself like an enemy. Experience ought to teach us two things: first, that we should do a great deal of correcting, secondly, that we must not correct too much."

Proof positive and bob's your uncle! This man's an absolute diabolical numbskull, cunningly fitted out with all the French Polynesian deviltry necessary to hold two simultaneously opposing thoughts at once — the very conditions necessary for a Snark to flourish inside the old brain pan! Pseudo-neoplatonic skullduggery with alarming whiffs of a faux-phrenological sub-gnostic epistemological thing-um-a-jiggery — some sort of game's afoot! I could have had a job with NASA but I'm sticking it out with this snark business, I'm a brainworker!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fit the First, Page Four and Five as a Spread (The Meaning of the Snark!)

Meaning, meaning, meaning, nor any drop to think! Bad punnery must be excused, for The Meaning Of It All is a weighty burden for any one to bear, much less an impecunious artist wrestling with the eternal question of Snarkology. 42 will still have to do for now.

In the meanwhile, feast your eyes on this page spread and despair! It's all turned out rather nicely, the textures, the page flow, the surreal imagery redolent of nothing in particular, just the idle reveries of the middle-aged snarquiste confronted with a dwindling bank account, a paltry client list and an unrequited obsession with late-Victorian, proto-surrealist nonsense poetry.

As part of my on-going program of conducting imaginary conversations with imaginary readers, I offer the following remarks concerning the pen-and-inkery jiggery-pokery that goes on behind the scenes: I use No. 1950 Gillot pen nibs, I always keep two by me, a stiffer new one for detail & an older, springier one for the heavier bits. Very fine details are done with a Hunt 104. My flavour of ink is FW Steig acrylic artists' ink, it's reasonably black and of medium viscosity. I once preferred Pelikan but it made my throat hurt. I draw a very tight pencil on tissue (samples to be scanned and posted later) and then ink atop either denril or drafting vellum. I dislike lightboxing and bristol board for one very important reason: I make mistakes. Fixing them on bristol board involves pro-white or even paste-ups & rubber cement, while denril or vellum allows me to use my prized Rotex electric eraser. I just zap the offending work and re-ink, often more than once. Nibs are cleaned with window cleaner spray, the ammonia smell gives me Diazo machine flashbacks from the 1980s. I do plan to post more detailed scans & explanations of the practical nature of pen & inkery whenever my legions of readers clamor for it.

This entry seems devoid of the usual jokes and tomfoolery for the simple reason that we live in a cold, cruel and harsh world, a world in which, to give examples, I've read somewhere (will post the URL eventually) that the Disney Corporation is contemplating some new, even "better" Lewis Carroll-themed audiovisual extravaganzas. This is in addition to the long-awaited Marilyn Manson version of the same. Huzzah! This way to the laughing gas, ladies and gentlemen!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fit One, Page Five, Panel Three

He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late —
And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad —

He could only bake Bridecake — for which, I may state,

No materials were to be had.

Overheard by our foreign correspondent whilst loitering in the Immigration and Customs queue boarding the HMS Snark :

Immigration and Customs Officer: Have you any personal articles of clothing which you are taking aboard?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: Have you any luggage or packages which you are taking aboard?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: Can you state your own name?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: Can you make bridecake?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: Do you not know whether you can make bridecake or are you simply unable to procure the materials to do so?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: (in a heated manner while vigorously waving his arms at the HMS Snark) But dash it all, sir, what does all this mean?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.

Note that the Baker consistently eschews the binary either-or of conventional logic upon which his interlocutor is depending, resorting instead to the triunary-based logic of "I don't know". We have already seen how the principle of threes supersedes all other logical statements (what I tell you three times is true) aboard the HMS Snark. Thus, the Baker disposes of the boojum of binary Marxist dialectical materialism, its frumious one-two is slain by his manxome one-two-three! Huzzah! The vorpal blade of the trinitarian Snarkist trialectic immaterialism goes snicker-snack! Oh, there's a PhD dissertation somewhere in all of this, my beamish boys and girls — oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

In the meantime our correspondent had fled the scene and was unable to record any more of what transpired. She had observed that this exasperated public official was being approached now by the pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn figure of Bartleby the Scrivener — a signal for general bedlam to ensue, huzzah again!

Those who wish to hear an accurate audio recording of a general bedlam and in addition, verify the accuracy of their timepiece (at no extra expense), please refer to the third audio clip in the jukebox to the right.
Hip hip, hooray!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fit One, Page Five, Panel Two

"His form is ungainly--his intellect small —"
(So the Bellman would often remark)

"But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,

Is the thing that one needs with a Snark."

He would joke with hyenas, returning their stare

With an impudent wag of the head:

And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,

"Just to keep up its spirits," he said.

A nautical though nice bit of ink-stained gallimaufry in which we see the Baker's character (still anonymous though!) in a better light, perhaps even the light which shines down from above, the light to which the Baker refers with his finger, in fact, the light for which one does not lack when heaven guides the way. If one were to see the Baker in a philosophical light, one might say that he carries about him a certain Platonic air, a mystical faith in a universal flashlight which he carries about with himself wherever he goes and which enlightens his path in even the darkest caves of the human mind. It is this mental flashlight which provides him with the aplomb necessary to navigate through the thickets of hyenas and bears in which he finds himself today. Note also that he smiles at his tormentors, a Mona Lisa sort of smile which says to his would-be tormentors: I know that you are not real, that you are merely shadows of a Higher Hyena and Bigger Bear.

The ursine fellow to the Baker's left is a Gradgrindish sort of fellow, well-schooled in the Facts of Life, ma'am, a scholastic air about him, Aristotelian even, judging by his know-it-all headware. He has no need for invisible flashlights (or torches, as LC would say), he relies upon Facts, just the Facts & their Causes, perhaps even some Numbers, and that's That! He carries a book, not for idle speculation but for assaulting lesser-minded weaklings such as the Baker with.

At their feet we see a personage in the guise of a drawing of a hyena taken from a xerox of a photograph of Heraclitus copied from a painting of a second-hand redaction of the life of Michelangelo as told to Vasari. This reflective beast (first mentioned in Fit One, Page Three, Panel Three) is lounging pool-side, debating whether 'tis best to plunge entirely into the waters or better still to merely dabble the tips of one's toes in the waters. He is consumed with doubt lest he be unable to bathe in the same waters twice. Incidentally, it appears as if he is also consumed with a petty jealousy over the excellent design of the panel in which he finds himself depicted. Not only is it a cunning gloss upon the above Stanza, but it also illustrates the wisdom of obtaining one's artistic training at a qualified and accredited institute of higher learning, a precaution which this hyenaic gentleman's rival, the infamous Raphael (not shown here) attended to by graduating cum laude from the Roman campus of the School of Athens.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fit One, Page Five, Panel One

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"

To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"

But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,

He had different names from these:

His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"

And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

The penultimate crew member, the Baker, AKA Lewis Carroll, the man with the foolish grin keeping perfectly still with the eyes shut tight in his head to see the world spinning around.

Perhaps the Baker is a boojum of sorts! The authorial nature of the Snark is obvious now, and what makes it especially tasty (as tasty as toasted-cheese-wig-fritters) is the gentle (but very thorough) dissolution of the author into his internal, safely nonsensical world. This panel illustrates the central premise of the Snark. We see the Baker in the stylized pose of the-fool-at-thought, his eyes shut for he has no need to see the Snarkian landscape — he is the Snarkian landscape, and later tonight, when the topic of supper is broached, why, he's on the menu, on the table, he's the knife and he's the waiter!

Where will it all end? What does it all mean? Is Lewis Carroll an proto-existentialist grappling with a multiply-fractured Other generated from and concealed within himself, exhausted by a pseudo-Gnostic quest played out amidst a desolate wasteland littered with the semiotic debris of a long-toppled Victorian imperium? Or is he just this guy, you know?

Credits: Mr. Carroll appears courtesy of himself (and within himself). Mr. Carroll's wardrobe courtesy of Boutique Loplop, footwear courtesy of Chez Pied, hair styled and deep-fried in hot fat by Salon René, animals styled and trained by Bwana Dali.