This is what the knowledge that Transformers 2 will end up being the movie most people see this year has done to movie critics. They are eating on the streets. Happy Michael Bay? First you ruin fighting robots and now the dining habits of the film critic world!
Speaking of books, the other day I went into Gould’s bookstore in Newtown, a place where old records, books, cassettes and magazines are in huge piles everywhere, and where finding the right book is half the fun.
One book grabbed my eye and I picked it up for $5. First published in 1944 (my edition is 1946), Roger Manvell’s Film is quite a read. Part 1? Film as a New Art Form. And it even quotes Stalin in the opening!
So, if you can get your hands on a copy, do so. It’s a little gem of Film writing that shows some philosophy behind it all. And also, it predicts the future:
We ask you to raise the standards of the ordinary film-goer not as philanthropists but as artists. A public taste maintained on a dead level of consumption is the dead taste of a dead public.
And how is this prophesy? Transformers 2 is making it’s way into the record earners. ‘Nuff said.
Bandersnatch – A swift moving creature with snapping jaws, capable of extending its neck.
Beamish - Radiantly beaming, happy, cheerful.
Borogove – A thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round, “something like a live mop”. The initial syllable of borogove is pronounced as in boring rather than as in burrow.
Brillig – Four o’clock in the afternoon: the time when you begin broiling things for dinner.
Burbled – Possibly a mixture of “bleat”, “murmur”, and “warble”.Burble is also a pre-existing word, circa 1303, meaning to form bubbles as in boiling water.
Chortled - Combination of chuckle and snort.
Frabjous - Possibly a blend of fair, fabulous, and joyous.
Frumious – Combination of “fuming” and “furious.”
Galumphing - Perhaps a blend of “gallop” and “triumphant”. Used to describe a way of “trotting” down hill, while keeping one foot further back than the other. This enables the Galumpher to stop quickly.
Gimble – To make holes as does a gimlet.
Gyre – To go round and round like a gyroscope. However, Carroll also wrote in Mischmasch that it meant to scratch like a dog. The g is pronounced like the /g/ in gold, not like gem.
Jubjub – A desperate bird that lives in perpetual passion.
Manxome – Fearsome; the word is of unknown origin.
Mimsy – Combination of “miserable” and “flimsy”.
Mome – Possibly short for “from home,” meaning that the raths had lost their way.
Outgrabe (past tense; present tense outgribe) – Something between bellowing and whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle.
Rath – A sort of green pig.
Snicker-snack: An onomatopoeia of unclear meaning, possibly referring to sharpness.
Slithy – Combination of “slimy” and “lithe.” The i is long, as in writhe.
Tove – A combination of a badger, a lizard, and a corkscrew. They are very curious looking creatures which make their nests under sundials and eat only cheese. Pronounced so as to rhyme with groves. Note that “gyre and gimble,” i.e. rotate and bore, is in reference to the toves being partly corkscrew by Humpty Dumpty’s definitions.
Tulgey - Thick, dense, dark.
Uffish – A state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish.
Vorpal - See vorpal sword.
Wabe – The grass plot around a sundial. It is called a “wabe” because it goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it, and a long way beyond it on each side.
By the way: If there was a person who could use all of these terms correctly and coherently in one paragraph, I might have to marry that person. Did Lewis have any sons?
"There he stood, uffish, amidst the tulgey grass of the wabe. Grasping his vorpal sword, he longed for the frabjous days of old, where he would stand with his beamish wife, around brillig, on the hills. Sometimes, when he closed his eyes, he saw his kids, who burbled and chortled every now and again in the outside area of his home. If he thought hard enough, memories of their days with their pets unfolded in his subconscious, the jubjub flapping away in its cage, longing for the borogrove opposite it. The slithy tove that would lie at the foot of his sundial, the sundial at which he spent his afternoons, waiting for the sun to fall. Even the rath that would wander across the fields, and which was seen to gyre and try to gimble constantly. That was before the manxome men came galumphing down the hill to take his life away. That horrible day he heard a strange outgrabe, coming from the forest opposite his humble aboud. The snicker-snack leader, who looked like a bandersnatch, wandered out from the trees and asked him to vacate his home. He was frumious. But he was no match for those men. They took his family and destroyed his home. And for what? Years of wondering and wandering left him mimsy. And now, at this sundial, far away from his own, in the midst of another land, he was reminded of how he wandered mome. He pulled out his vorpal sword. He had found this bandersnatch, tracked him to this very town. Vengeance would be his. Finally.”