Wednesday, May 28, 2008
They roused him with muffins — they roused him with ice —
They roused him with mustard and cress —
They roused him with jam and judicious advice —
They set him conundrums to guess.
The very mention of that hateful word Boojum had sent our Baker into a swoon and he now reclines artfully upon his hot-buttered-charpoy, just so. His duenna, a woman whose two-faced duplicity beggars the imagination, intercepts the stimulating nourishment which rains upon him like pennies from heaven. The ice, greens, jams and muffins, all of ‘em will vanish into her outstretched apron to reappear in a day-old half-baked no-goods shop she runs on the side. The Baker is left with only a conundrum to guess. Naturally, the conundrum is to guess what the conundrum is.
Oh, these Boojums! Is there no deviltry that they will not stoop to? Great god, save the earth from ever bearing such monsters! No history has proved that there were any such. Through the efforts of the authorities, no one will be exposed to them any longer.
To-say-the-thing-which–is-not and to-draw-the-thing-which-is-not is the Way of the Boojum! That way leads to the Dark Side! Fortunately, our Baker is a simpleton and his foolish mind is the hobgoblin of more consistent ones. Like those buxom Greek girls locked up in bronze towers by their upset daddies, he has no need for conundrums, he just wants to have fun!
NB. A thankful tug of the ink-soaked fetlock towards the perceptive Mr. Adam Roberts at the Valve.org, whose learned and latinate Snarkiana commentary upon the Way of the Boojum is pure catnip for all snarkistes! These English conundrumists need not worry what it is that cannot be roused by muffins, ice, mustard, cress, jam or judicious advice? They know! ‘Tis a sleeping dog whose master shouts — obey, cur!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Baker, immer très über-courant, now practises psychogeography upon himself! Psychogeography — the urban flâneur’s deliberate mapping of his internal world upon the external world through which he flânes — it’s all the rage! The Baker’s zen-like state of internal vacuity is no impediment to the above process, he simply reverses the procedure. When one’s mind is entirely given up to all things snark, causal logic is a mere bagatelle.*
On the sand, half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown and wrinkled lips once proved a disquieting muse to the snark-hunter P.B. Shelley. The uncertainty of the poet crystallizes into the philosophical banana-peel of Romanticism upon which Surrealism eventually slipped and fell (cogitatus interruptus in medias snark).
The Baker knows none of this for his cerebral cortex is being overwhelmed by a shocking revelation of the secretive, amorous gigantism of the inanimate world towards the animate world … the love song of a rubber glove for its plongeur, the melancholy and mystery of a street lusting for a solitary Turinese pedestrian … an entire world whose very mind is as solely and entirely snark as his own!
Oh, gentle Baker, forever parsing the Snark’s enigma of arrival … when this riddle is solved, your tale will come to a devilish end …
* There are those psychogeographistes who insist on navigating their way, for example, through a suburb of Utrecht with only the aid of a street map of central Rome. None of this is to be confused with mere confusion, a paltry condition unworthy of the true snark hunter and smacking more of those be-boojumed unfortunates whose wives insist that they stop and ask for directions.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The Preface and Fits One and Two in their entirety … that he was born it cannot be denied, he ate, drank, talked snark & died
My Hunting of the Snark as it exists so far — the Preface and Fits 1 and 2 — can now be downloaded in an easy-to-read PDF here.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch …
Whenever asked what the Snark meant, Lewis Carroll always replied : I don’t know*. Huzzah for these cheeky Victorians and their tautological transparencies in which the meaning is the meaning, they never cease to baffle the small-minded and delight the light-hearted! But I digress …
Should we ask the Snark what Lewis Carroll meant? The Snark’s reply is, of course, the entire text of The Hunting of the Snark, excluding the Preface. Since the Snark and Carroll are ultimately the same, the Carrollian answer of one word and the Snarkian answer of 5,065 words are ultimately equivalent, an astonishing feat of commutative compression and expansion!
This business of looking into the wrong end of the telescope is the essential premise of protosurrealism, that obscure school of art which has been previously defined here as the 21st-century application of 19th-century answers to 20th-century problems. The protosurrealist telescopes his postmodern Surrealist past into the Victorian intellectual’s expected future, and as his past becomes his future, his nostalgia becomes his anticipation! Nothing is wasted!
The excellent and truly well-read nnyhav has rightfully pointed out the similarities between protosurrealism and ‘pataphysics. The difference lies in purpose : the latter was a strategy of defiance towards the pre-War culture of Europe and a precursor of Surrealism, the former is exactly the same things but 100 years too late.
Protosurrealism, like Pierre Menard writing Don Quixote, has no history or future, it’s always now and its now is always then. For this poor Snark whose very purpose in life was unknown to his creator, what better habitat for him than the pre-anachronism of protosurrealism? At last, the Snark will have a refuge where he can dwell on his comforting memories of the future and look forward to the past he will never have.
* I might reply that the Snark means : 'Pataphysics, Adlocutio, Alberto Savinio, Alexandra Xie Kitchin, Alfred Jarry, Andrei Vyshinsky, Aristotle, Arnold Bocklin, Assamese Curry, Atlas Press, Augustus Caesar, Bathing Machines, Benjamin Péret, Blaise Pascal, Boojum Tree, Book of Revelations, Buddhist Stupas, Carl Reiner, Charles Dodgson, Clochetic Rule of Three, Coconino County, Comte de Lautrémont, Constantin Brancusi, Dante Alighieri, Dora Maar, Douglas Adams, Easter Island Moias, Edgar Allan Poe , Edouard Manet, Eileen Agar, Elmer Fudd, Epistemology, Eric Satie, Etymology, Eugène Delacroix, Exquisite Corpse, Flann O'Brien, French Language, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Herriman, George Orwell, Gilbert and Sullivan, Gin-Driven Ink-Pens, Giorgio de Chirico, Golden Eagle Beer, Goon Show, Gustave Flaubert, Hans and Jean Arp, Hans Bellmer, Henri Michaux, Henry Holiday, Heraclitus, Heinz Edelmann, Hieronymus Bosch, His Master's Voice, Igor Stravinsky, Italo Calvino, Jacques-Louis David, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Jean Benoît, Joseph Bonnet, Joseph Welch, Juan Miro, Karl Marx, Kiki de Monparnasse, Krazy Kat, La Guida di Bragia, Leonardo da Vinci, Lord Byron, Louis Aragon, Récamier, Man Ray, Mark Antony, Martin Heidegger, Matthias Grünewald, Max Ernst, Mel Brooks, Michelangelo, Nautch Girls, Nectarines, Old Scratch, Omnium, Orientalism, Oscar Dominguez, Paranoaic-Critical Method, Peter Greenaway, Piero di Cosimo, Plato, Poutine, Procris, Protosurrealism, Père Ubu, Railway Surrealism (Anglo-Italianate), Raphael, Raymond Roussel, René Magritte, Robert Walser, Salvador Dali, Scholasticism, Sebastian Brant, Shakespeare, Sigmund Freud, Sir Alma-Tadema, Sir John Tenniel, Socrates, Stephane Mallarmé, Sylvie and Bruno, The Globe and Mail, The Isle of the Dead, The Line of Beauty, The Number 42, The Rake’s Progress, The School of Athens, The Ship of Fools, The Snark as an Ontological Argument for a Godless Universe, The Temptation of St. Anthony, The Third Policeman, The Yellow Submarine, Théodore Géricault, Turin, Une Semaine de Bonté, V.I. Lenin, Valentine's Day, Vincent van Gogh, W.H. Auden, Walt Whitman, William Hogarth, Witold Gombrowicz and Yves Tanguy.
Some readers may call all of the above just logorrheiac-name-droppings rife with an surfeit of posthumous collaborations (AKA plagiarisms), shot through and through with half-truths, quarter-truths, and even eighth-truths and of course (my personal favorite as an independently impoverished artist), a brazen contempt for the clearly stated wishes of the hapless author, expressed by indulging in a particularly vicious (and Flaubertian) brand of semiotic and typological miscegenation hitherto only seen in the utterly depraved final days of the Roman Empire!
But you can’t say that because I said it first and now I got dibs on it! Plus, all those big words — they could put your eye out!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Fit Two, Page 16, Panel 3 … old Snarks for sale, old Snarks, prim Snarks, silly and grim Snarks for sale
"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums —" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away.
Utter bedlam has broken out amongst the B-Boyz at the mention of the B-Word! The Baker, mortally wounded by the tusks of the dreaded Boojum, languishes in the arms of the cytherean Beaver, who tenderly nibbles the ear of her farinaceous Adonis. The Billiard-Marker, wracked by hunger pangs, is searching for the hidden compartment within the Baker with which he transforms stones into bread for the crew’s sustenance. The Banker is auctioning off the Baker’s personal effects to pay off his creditors; he is demonstrating a telescope made of copal to the Bonnet-Maker, who ignores him entirely, the latter is measuring himself for a strait-jacket. The Boots’s evolutionary solipsism has taken a turn for the worse, the frightened Butcher wrings his hands in despair at his monarchical frenzy. In the lunatic sky of the Desierto Pintado, startled doves take flight, fleeing the preternaturally sinuous lineaments of the bioglyph upon which the Bellman’s magic lantern rests.
Only the Bellman retains his wits! He has seen this before, this nesting of parody within parody, reference within reference, this rake’s progress towards the inevitable bankruptcy auction of all one’s semiotic inheritance and then — off to bedlam! Oh, shun this Boojum of Infinitely Regressive Reference, this Snark’s Progress to protosurrealist ruin!