We continue my GN Snark's Dramatis Personae with this week's specimen … the Maker of Bonnets and Hoods, or as he's known to the authorities, the Bonnet. Curiously, this character is given almost nothing to do in the epic, except for a brief episode in Fit the Fourth where he allows someone to chalk the tip of his nose. Other than that, not a peep, which poses obvious problems for an illustrator trying to flesh out this nonentity.
One might even
say that the Bonnet poses us an existentialist problem, perhaps even a
protoexistentialist problem of sorts. Luckily, the persona of Friedrich
Nietzsche, the notorious Continental steamer, was available on short
notice and we gladly inducted him into our Fellowship of the Snark,
moustache and all.
We see him above, as he appears in Fit the Second of our version of The Hunting of the Snark, leering at the HMS Snark in a nautical manner. I think he looks rather fetching in his big bonnet, don't you?
doubt the more well-heeled aficionados of Lewis Carroll, and Western
Civ in general, are having a quick apopleptic fit upon seeing all of
this. Why, they wonder aloud over their breakfast scotch-and-cornflakes,
did this artist feel it necessary to clothe the persona of the
Bonnet-Maker in the fleshly lineaments of the Prussian
Was it the leather, the machismo,
the whips and such-like that Nietzsche was wont to bandy about when
talking of women, a bandying which he not only spoke of in print but
would even indulge in personally right in front of a camera operated by —
yow! — a man named Bonnet?
so … have we hoisted Nietzche upon his very own petard here, a petard
which the philosopher had himself loaded with the scattershot
observation that there are no facts, only interpretations? Have we
stooped so low that we must rely upon the flimsiest of nominal accidents
to populate our Hunting of the Snark?
is it just a petty bit of passive-aggressive revenge by an inkster who
still suffers from debilitating bouts of
Post-University-Philosophy-Course-Syndrome, an illness which can only be
controlled by long-term exposure to Carrollian Nonsense and in severe
cases, repeated applications of Three Stooges shorts?
there’s nothing going on here at all, folks, just a guy with a moustache
wearing women’s clothes, a guy who knows that to become what one is,
one must not have the faintest idea what one is.