Friday, December 31, 2010

Snark First!

Gosh, those illegal immigrant foreign words, they have no respect for the law, huh?

They’re even showing up in our GN version of Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark, taking jobs away from hard-working English words, standing around on street corners hooting at respectable Anglicisms on their way back from church.

Let me tell you one thing, mister, from now on in this Snark, we won’t speak nothing but good old English Nonsense. Just like they did in the days of the Bible!

Elsewhere on The Hunting of the Snark …
Die kleinsten Schnarken sind die stolzesten

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Machiavelli’s Snark

I’ve always maintained that Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark is perfectly suitable for young people, or at least young people who prefer to read and think.

Some might consider that a bit of snobbish elitism and I’ll proudly wallow in that label while I drink my Tim Horton double-double.

The reading of Carrollian Nonsense, especially verse, is pure catnip for the smart kids. And the underlying message of the Snark, that Adults Are Pretty Stupid, appeals to them, as it should.

It all boils down to young people’s innate desire to Keep It Real, their Holden Caufield adolescent loathing of false pretences, even at the risk of showing a want of sense.

Murder’s a lark once you grow up, just ask any casually homicidal, adult politician.

Elsewhere on The Hunting of the Snark …
Colonel Mustard, in the sitting room, with a blunt boojum

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Remembrance of snarks past

I’ve never cared for Watteau the painter although Watteau the draftsman is sublime, as is the case with most French Baroque artists. No matter, his Embarkation for Cythera is sufficiently charming to serve as Snark fodder for our little experiment in surrealizing Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark.

And if you live in the snow-heaped acres of Quebec, as this artist does, any opportunity to make whoopie outdoors without flash-freezing to death in a few seconds is not to be spurned.

Elsewhere on The Hunting of the Snark …
Timeo Snarquae et dona ferentes

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snark Mask Replica

Snarks behind every door is an easy enough proposition to illustrate, and when tackling the above stanzels in Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark, I did so with an inky aplomb.

Doors are a jolly thing to have around the house, they can be those doors of perception which have provided gainful employment to janitors around the world for centuries.

They can serve to remind us of our superior place atop the food chain, for opening a door is a classic mania of higher intelligence, such as dogs (and goats) possess.

They can also serve as a place for the Snark to linger at from our perspective, or as the Snark sees it, a place of potential awkwardness, with the Reader, so to speak, at the door!

Everyone and everything has their Boojum, and the Snark’s Boojum is almost certainly you, the Reader!

So let’s get busy and cleanse those doors of perception with some suitably infernal methods. May I suggest scotch and water?

NB. Today’s title refers obliquely to Don Van Vliet's (Captain Beefheart) recent death. As always, John Coulthart has a good round-up of some essential information about him. It’s hard to believe that once upon a time an American businessman would provide funds for the production and distribution of a work of art such as Trout Mask Replica. Progress, eh?

Elsewhere on The Hunting of the Snark …
The Bellman never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the Baker

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Let a hundred flowers bloom, a hundred schools of snark contend

The above picture is an excellent example of how we like to do things in our graphic novel version of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark.

Your eyes do not deceive you. That is Karl Marx on all fours. He is imprisoned in a circus cage. He is impersonating the Banker in Carroll's verse epic.

Why? Do I really need a reason why? Must I explain to you the obvious correlation between Marxism and Carrollian Nonsense?

Do I really have to spell out to you the irresistibly sensuous appeal of an overweight German philosopher romping about on all fours?

But I have a further confession to make; the above picture is the least of the indignities that Karl Marx will suffer in the course of my Snark.

For one thing, he's not wearing any underwear in this drawing. And for the other … well, you'll have to check out my full-blown explanation at MobyLives.

NB. I think someone's instigated a global, internet reading-aloud of the entire Snark. As susual, I'm a bit confused about it, but it looks like fun!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Foucault's Snarkulum

For a few weeks I've been linking to various other Snark postings of mine around the internet. This was to create a sensation of overwhelming Snarkery, of ubiquitous Boojumery around the world and thus trigger the dreaded Global Cognitive Nonsense Overload that Lewis Carroll once warned us of.

Having done that, we'll return to simpler pleasures, such as wondering why I saw fit to embellish Fit the Fourth with the above frontispiece.

Devoted readers will know that in my GN version of the Snark, the Snark itself is never seen directly. This is as the Admirable Carroll wished it. Instead, I always show the Snark as Eye, a carefully disembodied Eye. This simple pun affords my simpler readers no end of puzzled delight.

There is an Eye concealed above but even better, the entire crew of the HMS Snark is also present. Glassy-eyed perhaps, but present.

Upper row, left to right:
The Broker, played here by Erik Satie
The Beaver, played here by Castor canadensis
The Boots, played here by Charles Darwin
The Baker, played here by Lewis Carroll
The Bonnet Maker, played here by Friedrich Nietzsche

Bottom row, left to right:
The Barrister, played here by Martin Heidegger
The Butcher, played here by an Easter Island moia
The Billiard Marker, played here by Raymond Roussel

And directly underneath:
The Banker, played here by Karl Marx

And standing upright:
The Bellman, played here by Sir John Tenniel/The White Knight/Lewis Carroll

What do all these characters have in common? Some subtle allegorical scheme of postmodern ontology? A multilayered literary puzzle of mind-mangling proportions? An Illuminati's coded message to his zombie Carrollian followers?

No, it's really quite simple! They are hapless Protosurrealist cannon fodder caught up in my Nonsensical struggle to dominate the anapestic reaches of the Carrollian Multiverse …

In short, they are there because they're there.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Also Sprach Snarkathustra!

One of the best things about illustrating Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark is the many opportunities it provides for acting one's own petty revenge fantasies.

The drawing above, which shows the Billiard-Marker (AKA Raymond Roussel) chalking the nose of the Bonnet-Maker (AKA Friedrich Nietzsche) is a classic example of all that. The unerring aim of the dapper French novelist (the 2nd finest French novelist ever!) has neatly punctured the pre-existential pomposity of the overly mustachioed Prussian philo-bloviator.

For those readers who like a rational explanation of all of the above, hurry to MobyLives, where I posted a jolly example of one. For those readers who don't, who prefer to just wallow in the sordid pleasures of petty revenge, keep looking at the drawing. Or better yet, buy a copy of the book and put Freddie out his misery once and for all!

NB. I refer to Raymond Roussel as the 2nd greatest French novelist, for he must defer to the greatest of them all, the Master of all French scribblery, Jules Verne. Take that, Messers Beyle and Flaubert, you phonies!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snark the herald angels sing!

What does this picture remind you of? Seaside bathing in the salad days of Queen Victoria? Standing around with an umbrella waiting for the English rain? How about a spot of haute couture dissection atop a shiny zinc table?

If this picture simultaneously reminds you of the Snark's love of bathing machines and the Comte de Lautréaumont's dictum of "as beautiful as the chance meeting of an umbrella and a sewing machine atop a dissecting table", well, it darn well should!

After all, what did you spend all that money on your university education for if you can't recognize the battle cry of Surrealism being applied to this bit of Carrollian verse from Fit the Second?

Questions, questions! For more answers, amble over to A Journey Round My Skull, where Will Schofield has very graciously made room for yet another lengthy exegesis of mine upon all things Snark … you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'm just a snark-hunter from Muskogee …

The proprietor and master voleur at Biblioklept, Edwin Turner, has very kindly posted a lengthy interview he did of me on the subject of turning Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark into a GN … big, gallumphing ideas are bandied about, such as Gateway Surrealism …

"It’s hard to illustrate an idea and oddly enough, the Snark is really a poem of ideas, couched in the form of a tragic epic and then declaimed by a master comedian … I wanted to avoid … doing literal drawings of the scenes in it.

I wanted the Snark to constantly bring up a stream of associations, references, insinuations, all of them triggering more and faster allusions, what I call a Gateway Surrealism that leaves readers hopelessly addicted and desperate for more! Don’t say no, kids!"

For more, go here

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A wild and crazy snark!

Since the publication of my Snark GN, I’ve been quite busy with the time-consuming but necessary work of marketing it. Of course, in our modern world, Nonsense sells itself, don’t you agree?

Hence, pitching the Snark is a snap, especially when one considers that vast swathes of this planet still believe in non-existent entities such as Snarks … legions of prominent and wealthy men, like the Banker, possess the moral intelligence of a concussed bee … and our political leaders regularly conduct their business by relying on nonsensical belief-systems such as the Bellman’s Blank Map. If you don’t believe me, I urge you to refer to my latest posting at MobyLives, where I’ve explained to a nicety the finer points of that famous Map and my Snark’s depiction of it.

If all this doesn’t persuade you that marketing Nonsense in this modern world is like taking coals to Newcastle, I must draw your attention to this jaw-dropping article in the NYT, in which the learned and genuinely talented Steve Martin was castigated by an angry audience at the 92nd St. YMCA in NYC.

Poor Mr. Martin. He came to give an interview with Deborah Solomon about his latest book, concerning the fine arts, and his audience was given a refund when he did so.

It seems that they would have preferred idle chatter and gossip about Martin’s Hollywood life and doings … AKA the dullest sort of bottom-feeder marketing tripe imaginable.

And so, I make this offer to Steve Martin, an artist and writer I genuinely admire … you are welcome to as many copies of my Snark as you need to pummel your future audiences with. They are hard-bound with lots of sharp edges and crammed with enough Nonsense and Art to dent even the thickest low-browed skull. And it's on the house.

NB. Here at Chez Snark, we have Martin's comic masterpiece, Bowfinger, on a looped, 24-7 display screen right in the office (in French, of course). It's a valuable component of our corporate marketing strategy, plus, it reminds us all to keep those pencils sharp!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One flew over the snark's nest

Today's commentary on my Hunting of the Snark has fled its birdcage and gone to roost at MobyLive, a somewhat better furnished blog where the commentary seems to feel right at home. You can watch it preen its explicatory feathers here.

And preen it shall, since Laura Miller was so kind to give our ever so 'umble Snark a place in her list of the Top Nine Best-New-GNs at, a rather plush nest indeed for our Snark … we're rubbing wings with Dan Clowe, Lynda Barry and Joann Sfar!

Nonsense is the new sense, hipsters!