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STUPID UNDERGROUNDS - MANN
Quack - Page 23

believes he has survived despite the most terrible danger, that extraordinaryprecautions must be taken, vast forces are being marshalled against him, he is being followed, they are reading his mail, he will pursue his heroic quest until they finally eliminate him. Or not so spectacularly paranoid, only theoretically so: what is in danger is not one's personal well-being, but in some sense the truth itself.

[18] As humorist-scientist, Fort both aligns himself with all scientists, making them guilty by association with him--they're quacks too, anyone driven to belief by a system is a quack--and always leaves himself a few curious exits:

I go on with my yarns. I no more believe them than I believe that twice two are four . . . . I believe nothing. I have shut myself away from the rocks and wisdoms of the ages, and from the so-called great teachers of all time, and perhaps because of that isolation I am given to bizarre hospitalities. I shut the front door upon Christ and Einstein, and at the back door hold out a welcoming hand to little frogs and periwinkles. I believe nothing of my own that I have ever written. I can not accept the products of minds that are subject-matter for beliefs . . . . It is my attempt to smash false demarcations: to take data away from narrow and exclusive treatments by spiritualists, astronomers, meteorologists, entomologists: also denying the validity of usurpations of words and ideas by metaphysicians and theologians. But my interest is not only that of a unifier: it is in bringing together seeming incongruities, and finding that they have affinity. I am very much aware of the invigoration of products of ideas that are foreign to each other, if they mate. This is exogamy, practiced with thoughts--to fertilize a volcanic eruption with a storm of frogs--or to mingle the fall of an edible substance from the sky with the unexplained appearance of Cagliostro. But I am a pioneer and no purist, and some of these stud-stunts of introducing vagabond ideas to each other may have the eugenic value of some of the romances in houses of ill fame. I cannot expect to be both

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