Swimming in Beautiful Metaphorical Soup

Week Four of the Leacock Anniversaries, Monday April 15th: The week before Passover and Easter, and therefore somewhat truncated in its blogs. We start the week admiring, somewhat ruefully, an abundant blessing of April snow. The migrating birds seem to take it in stride; we do our best.

Olde Stephen and I left you last week with a question about the profusion of metaphors that has invaded this … what is it, anyway? Is it hunt? An analysis? An investigation? A discourse? I like Marshall McLuhan’s term: a Probe. It’s a Hunt and a Probe. We hunt by probing. We probe while hunting. Eventually we want to catch the Wild Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, or WUROSJ, and convert it into a Tame Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, or TUROSJ, after which it can live out its days, which will no doubt be long, as an UROSJ, dreaming all the while of becoming a SROSJ, or Solved Riddle of Social Justice. I personally have my doubts, well-founded I believe, that it will ever get that far.

Olde Stephen, so far, has been of little help. He likes the profusion of metaphors,—dark tower, slug-horn, Unsolved Riddles, etc.,—but doesn’t seem at all inclined to follow them to their metaphorical conclusions if they have them. I, on the other hand, must do so. I need his help. At our meeting today I decided to push.

“Olde Stephen,” said I, “in 1919 you made made your way to the Dark Tower, after visiting several other lighter towers on the way, you dauntless set the slug-horn to your lips, and you blew “The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice”. What happened then?”

“I walked all around the Dark Tower, observing its superficial features and describing them, I spotted some false ways into it and described them, I spotted one good way and described it. Then, having spotted more pleasant terrain in another direction, I went there, leaving the Dark Tower for others.”

“Did you ever return?”

“Yes indeed, during the Depression. I went back, the good way in was still there, I pointed it out as did others, and then left the entry to younger hearts. I did point out that the old false ways were still there and apparently attractive to many.”

“What happened to those who tried to go in the bad ways?”

“They scrabbled away at the walls, sometimes ineffectually, sometimes doing damage, without ever getting inside, then marched off to war, another dark tower with many easy ways into it and pulsing to its own warped slug-horns.”

“And those who went in the good way?”

“Few did, and none whole-heartedly. They fiddle-faddled around for a while in the ante-chambers, then they too marched off to war, slug-horning their hearts out just like the rest.”

“Then what did you do?”

“I turned away to other things. Then when the time came I died.”

“You did not see the great experiments that followed the war.”

“I did, but from Beyond.”

“Or what happened to them.”

“That too.”

“What would you say if I told you that the Dark Tower of your day is still there, vastly complicated now by recent construction of more rooms, more turrets, and all manner of architectural gewgaws, as substitutes for going right at the heart of the edifice. I would like to go there with you. We will have a difficult time. I fear that many of the new parts are rickety echo-chambers full of noise, distraction, and falling debris, the whole surrounded by menacing legions armed with wrecking balls and other powerful siege engines. The Tower may fall down while we are in it.”

“Then we will have to give the slug-horn a right good toot, will we not?”

“That we will.”

Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set, and blew. “Olde Stephen and friend to the Dark Tower came.” Will set, and will blow, that is, when we get to it. I am getting ahead of myself.

To be continued.

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