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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Wordlessness (Theroux)

A vision rose up before him. It was Cacotopia, suddenly, all around him, a land of nightsoil swept over by aboriginal winds and lit by a dim moronic moon under which, songless and illiberal, the only tribe of humans left on earth sat around shouting and mocking all that language could, a cultureless people who, having looked back into the past, saw there was no future. Agitprop throttled fable, libraries had been torched, and in the rubble of what once was were enacted scenes better imagined than described, with words, no longer lovely magical influences on nature anymore but now bleats of perversion serving only as a means of evil report, slander, strife, and quarrel.

The final day of pollution had come, and everywhere crowds of the disaffected gathered together in an earsplitting din to smash printing-presses, incinerate books, and befoul manuscripts in an orgy of violence, with everyone spitting, shitting, and bouncing up and down on his heels. Impatience was upon them! Where can we go, they screamed, never to hear or read a word again? They clapped in chant to be led somewhere. But where, where?

Suddenly, political sucksters and realistic insectivores, shoving to the front, puffed up their stomachs and blew lies out of their fingers! A parade was formed! It was now an assembly on the march, an enthusiastic troop of dunces, pasquil-makers, populist scribblers and lick-penny poets, anti-intellectual hacks, modernistic rubbishmongers, anonymuncules of prose and anacreontic water-bibbers all screaming nonce-words and squealing filthy ditties. They shouted scurrilities! They pronounced words backwards! They tumbled along waggling codpieces, shaking hogs' bladders, and bugling from the fundament! Some sang, shrill, purposely mispronouncing words, snarping at the language to mock it while thumping each other with huge rubber phalluses and roaring out farts! They snapped pens in half and turned somersaults with quills in their ears to make each other laugh, lest they speak and then finally came to the lip of a monstrously large hole, a crater-like opening miles wide, which, pushing and shoving, they circled in an obscene dance while dressed in hoods with long earpieces and shaking firebrands, clackers, and discordant bells! A bonfire was then lit under a huge pole, and on that pole a huge banner, to hysterical applause, was suddenly unfurled and upon it, upsidedown, were written the words: "In the End Was Wordlessness."

Alexander Theroux, Darconville's Cat


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