Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fit the Fourth, Page 26, Panel 1 … the joy of snarking

"The rest of my speech" (he explained to his men)
"You shall hear when I’ve leisure to speak it.

But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!

‘Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

We have already nibbled upon — and spurned! — Beatrice Hatch’s assertion that Lewis Carroll had told her that the word Snark was a portmanteau of Snail and Shark. The etymology of the Snark is an entire Hunt unto itself (excellently summarized by the inestimable Bradshaw of the Future) but it seems that we are running perilously low on bullets, tinned goods and scotch-soaked mosquito netting, or so my faithful shikaris tell me … we had better return to civilization, such as it is, and seek our Snark indoors … such as these Snark Hunters pictured above are doing.

Please observe that these Hunters are relying solely upon their finely-tuned instincts to track down their perilous prey and as usual, everything’s become a hopeless jumble! The afore-mentioned Beatrice Hatch’s semiolinguistic brain-crumbs have joined in an unholy alliance with the semiographic cupcakes of the Belgian pâtissier (and chronophobe) René Magritte to create a novel yet frothy confection! Of course, such half-baked baked-goods would be incomplete without some of that double-plus-good explanatory frosting which the Critics love so; I append an explanatory (and thoroughly plagiarized) morsel here:

"I decided to paint the image of a shark . . . In order for its mystery to be evoked, another immediately familiar image without mystery — the image of a snail — was joined."

Well, there you have it : an Indo-Germanic-Belgo-Anglo-Saxon layer cake of ink and words … I call it Beatrice’s Revenge, for it’s a rather heterogenous and unsettling dish best served cold, perhaps as an after-dinner dessert? Of course, Lewis Carroll’s original photographic bonbon of Miss Hatch was also a bit cloying but certain artists will always indulge their sweet-tooths!

NB. Please, America, do not crush my young nephew Leopold’s already shaken faith in The System — vote early and vote often!