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STUPID UNDERGROUNDS - MANN
Quack - Page 21

It would not, after all, be so hard to accumulate masses of such "data": one would simply have to collect newspapers and magazines from around the world and devote all one's time to poring over them, filing, collating, cross-referencing, in a certain sense indiscriminately. In time one could produce a whole new world-view, or at least the apparent eclipse of an old one, without ever having to look up. Several years, while riding a bus, I found myself across the aisle from a famous humorist-conspiracy theorist (as we have here before us a "humorist-scientist"), who spent the entire time tearing strips from the newspapers piled beside him and inserting them in various file folders. Did he miss his stop? It couldn't have mattered; and he would doubtless claim that I had missed several stops far more important. How then should one comprehend these precipitous frogs, these crocodiles that turn up in England, this cow that gave birth to two lambs and a calf, these boys dropped suddenly into a boat in the middle of a lake, miles from the place they last remembered? Perhaps the fish fell from a "super-Sargasso Sea"; and to postulate such a sea may have one main motive: "to oppose Exclusionism" (47), the elimination of aberrant possibilities by rationalist methods that seem, from this perspective, nothing more than paranoid symptoms. What about these inscribed stones? Maybe they are just freaks of industry, of fantasy, a strange game against certainty itself. Or perhaps they really--"really"--do signal the existence of New Lands, hyper-Laputas floating in an atmospheric warp somewhere above the earth's surface. The truth is up there, out there, way down there, concealed from us by government intelligence agencies, by conspiratorial elites, by the powers hidden behind the powers that be, by extraterrestrials, none of them efficient enough to prevent the freaks of industry from prying loose a glimpse of their traces. And what about the strange cloud-form trailing a sort of hook, sighted by one Capt. Banner of the bark "Lady of the Lake" (by implication: a trained observer): "I think we're fished for," "I think we're property" (50-51). What about this woman burned to death on an unscorched bed? An instance of the "possible-impossible" (107), of "certainty-uncertainty" (119). The hyphenation is crucial: it marks what Fort calls "alleged pseudo-relations" (98). Everything "might be" connected; to speak here of coincidences--as Bataille might, in a copula-tion that dreams of polluting the entire universe--is already to cede too much to a scientism that would exclude what is not

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