Monday, September 30, 2013

The heart is a lonely snark-hunter

Fit the Seventh of my GN version of The Hunting of the Snark … the Banker, played by Karl Marx, will soon discover that a certain pesky specter haunting Europe is none other than the dreaded Hindustani Bandersnatch! Meanwhile, back at the paan-shop …

See the Snark Hunters run.
Run, Snark Hunters, run.
See the Snark Hunters on the train.
The train goes choo choo choo.
See Henry Holiday turned to stone.
Crumble, Henry, crumble.

Let's go to Fit the Seventh, said the Bellman.
Let's leave this basket for Fit the Seventh.
And the train went choo-choo.
And the snake-charmer tooted his flute.
And the Bellman rang his bell.

See the fetid Indian jungle.
See the freaky snake-charmer.
See the frightful choo-choo-train.
See the Banker's Fate.
Run, Banker, run!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Let them eat snark!

THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist (for sale here) and explained here, page by page, panel by panel, squiggle by squiggle  …

 At last, we've reached Fit the Seventh of this graphic novel version of Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark. I drew a frontispiece for the first page of each Fit, each one usually involving a feeble pun and all of them concealing in some manner the All-Seeing Eye which I chose to represent the Snark.

Karl Marx, the working man's Marx Brother

This Fit concerns the Banker and I chose Karl Marx to depict the Banker for simple reasons of poetic justice. This canto of the poem will prove to be his downfall, his well-deserved sweeping into the dustbin of history, the ol' coot. Imagine that, doubting our capitalist masters.

The Sleeping Odalisque by J.A.D. Ingres
For the moment though, his Fate is being depicted as his fête, or birthday party, in French. His cake has the requisite 42 candles and the charming Alexandra “Xie” Kitchin is playing the violin for his amusement, just as she did in Carroll’s photo. Xie was one of the poet’s favorite child friends although I doubt that he would have approved of her presence in this Snarky up-date of the French painter Ingres’ famous harem scene.

Alexandra "Xie" Kitchin as photographed by Lewis Carroll

No matter, the Banker’s fan-waving monkey will soon restore some decorum. His name in Hindi, bander, summons up the spirit of the Carrollian Bandersnatch, the Banker’s soon-to-appear nemesis. His hookah will also figure in his downfall, a Marxist reminder that opium is the religion of the masses.

Just say nein, Karl!

Next week: The Gang of Four take five

Monday, September 16, 2013

Snark Fishing in the Yemen

THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist and explained here, page by page, panel by panel, squiggle by squiggle … right now we're in Fit the Sixth, where the Barrister (played by Martin Heidegger) is dreaming of prosecuting a pig …
We've been wandering the Carrollian Dreamtime of Fit the Sixth for quite a while, exploring the fascinating connections between Victorian Nonsense and the legal profession. This illustrator has seen fit to expand the nightmarish implications of all of the above by ensuring that the Barrister, Snark, Judge, Jury, Witnesses and even Defendant all possess the features of Martin Heidegger, the eminent Continental brain-and-nitpicker.

But perhaps now is as good a time as any to awaken from this dream, to ignore the bellowing and wake up to face the ringing in one's ears. And there's the rub, it seems, for awakening from one dream does not automatically guarantee one a safe berth in whatever reality that is assumed to enfold both dream and dreamer.

In short, when we awake, do we awake into reality or merely another dream? Perhaps such questions do not trouble the sleep of most readers but for those of us who Hunt the Snark, such enigmas are pure catnip, knowing as we do that Nonsense is the dream of Logic.

Like so many of the broad, unverified statements with which this blog is littered, I'll not bother with the piddling details behind it. It's all a question of recursion, really, and the very mention of that word gives most Occidentals a bad case of ontological hives.

From whence comes this fear? Eastern philosophy is brimming with the mind-addling fumes of recursion, it's the cat's pyjamas of classical Hindu metaphysics and for good reason: once one accepts recursion as a valid foundation for one's world view, reality starts looking a lot, well … more fun. All of which is a rather giggle-inducing poke-in-the-eye of what those stodgy old Aristotelians once called the First Cause.

All of which confirms this Snarkista's growing suspicion that for the High Anglican-cum-logician Carroll, Nonsense was the inflammatory reaction of a logician's mind plagued by the chronic affliction of Belief …

Whether you call it the First Cause or the Author or even the Illustrator, it's clear as mud that something is going on here, something fiendishly similar to a funhouse hall of mirrors haunted by a genuinely tricksy Boojum.

Of such mind-mangling quiddities are the recursive arabesques of Snarkish ontology constructed, dear readers. Now discuss amongst yourselves, please. And keep it down, I'm going back to sleep.

NB. The train hovering in the background is actually a wretchedly clumsy drawing of a 1967 Hindustan Ambassador, a sturdy vehicle whose chauffeur is puttin' the pedal to the medal in response to his passengers' request to "take us out of this picture." Poor sods, little do they know, eh?

Monday, September 9, 2013

The joy of snarking

THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist and explained here, page by page, panel by panel, squiggle by squiggle … right now we're in Fit the Sixth, where the Barrister (played by Martin Heidegger) is dreaming of prosecuting a pig …
Fit the Sixth has reached an apotheosis of sorts in this stanzel. The swinish defendant has evaded his just desserts by revealing himself to be dead and thus safely beyond the reach of any earthly verdict — and all attendant legal fees, the cunning cheapster!

This artist has cleverly furnished Le Cochon with a small lyre and a spare set of wings to indicate his après-vie status. Naturally, this assumes that our pig is going to heaven, the jolly, winged, lyre-strumming place, as opposed to hell, the overcrowded, forked-tail and burning-flesh place.

Of such niceties are all of our after-life dining and entertainment plans based upon. One makes reservations for one's impending eternity based upon one's individual life choices. Some of us will be nibbling tapas in air-conditioned Elysian Fields while some of us will have to dress for hot weather and dine al fresco, ad infinitum.

Some readers may be shaking their heads in dismay at this conflation of eschatology and the food-services industry but such are the grim exigencies of the modern Snark Hunter. When one's entire day has been spent pursuing a non-existent, annihilating beast, one simply doesn't have the time to prepare for the afterlife, much less prepare a healthy supper for the entire family.

Which is why this artist is pleased to share the following Snark recipe with his fellow Snark Hunters. As befits the dead-pig motif vaguely binding together this aleatory posting, it can be prepared with either Snark or Pig …

Cuban-Style Roast Snark
• a large Snark roast, 2-4 kgs (if snark is unavailable, substitute pork)
• head of garlic minced
• 2 tsp. cumin
• 2 tsp. oregano
• 2 tbsp. salt
• 1 tbsp. black pepper
• 4 bay leaves
• 1-2 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice
• 3 medium onions, sliced thinly into rings
• 2 cups of white wine

Score the Snark/pork roast diagonally. Combine all other ingredients together and then add meat to marinade. One need not be too fussy or precise with measurements. Refrigerate meat & marinade for at least 12 hours. I find that the simplest way to do this is to combine everything in a large freezer zip-lock type bag and then leave it in the fridge.

Bake at 350 degrees, check periodically to baste roast with juices. If using a meat thermometer, roast till interior is 160-185 degrees, a nice crust will form by then, especially if you basted diligently. Remove from oven when done, remaining juices can be whipped up in a blender to provide a gravy. If necessary, remove fat from juices first by chilling in fridge & skimming.

Serve with forks and hope, or if unavailable, black beans and rice. And of course, bellow on to the last.

Ad astra per alas snarqui!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Twerking Heidegger

THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist and explained here, page by page, panel by panel … right now we're in Fit the Sixth, where the Barrister (played by Martin Heidegger) is dreaming of prosecuting a pig …
Transportation for life … it's not a pretty sentence, not even a pretty sentence fragment. Has the Defendant Pig been deprived of his Lexus and condemned to using the subway for the rest of his life? Has he been reduced to riding a bicycle to and from his sty? A skateboard with obligatory tattooes and iPod prostheses?

Gosh, no, he's been deported to one of the British penal colonies, such as Australia, where he can endure the agony of fresh air, sunshine and limitless social and business opportunities instead of the customary Victorian British urban pollution, pouring rain and stifling class system. Although, to be honest, I don't think that by the time the Snark was composed (1874-1876) the British were deporting felons to Australia anymore but I think you get the picture … or even better, you don't get the picture!

Cue evil laughter here, and meanwhile, peruse carefully the above picture. Now compare it to the one at the very top of this posting, the version which appeared in print.

Would it surprise you to learn that this artist often draws that-which-is-not-to-be-seen by the reader, ie., he goes to the bother of drawing whatever it is that the word-panel will obscure when it is positioned later in the production process?

I didn't think you did, smarty pants. Frankly, how could you? How could you guess that I would go to such ridiculous, creepily epistemological lengths to subject various players in my Snark to the dreaded … transportation for life!

The more thoughtful reader will quickly grasp that this curious graphic practice is the visual equivalent of the literary "softly and suddenly vanishing away" which the poet has utilized as the First Cause of his Snarkish plot engine. Pictures aping words aping pictures aping words, and all that. Such complex and delicately crafted levels of conceptual meaning have proved to be a reliable turn-off for the general book-buying public, I can assure you.

Lazier (and faster breeding) readers will content themselves with observing that various members of the jury have themselves been transported for life and that it serves them right. They might even exclaim aloud: This is not a legal system, it's utter Nonsense, I mean, good lord, look at them! Everyone resembles Martin Heidegger. That's not justice and it's certainly not legally sound nor even a legal sound.

Say it slowly, to yourself … Heidegger … Heidegger … it's more of a sneezy ejaculation, a snorty, snirty, snarky clearing of the upper respiratory system with viscous, Flemish connotations … it won't hold up in any court of law, much less a dream court populated by somatic body doubles.

Next week: a cease and desist letter from the Heidegger estate and a hearty thanks from the North American Swine Producers Council.