Greetings, o most excellent reader.
In a recent post, we were forced to acknowledge an objection some readers apparently have to this blog: that, even though it mentions flockbinkers in the title, not every post is actually about flockbinkers. Now, i do need to point out that the greater number of the posts do at least mention flockbinkers, and in that last post we did raise the somewhat metaphysically subtle possibility that even the posts that don’t mention flockbinkers might nevertheless be about them. One of our loyal readers wasn’t buying that one, though, so we thought we’d devote this post to some fairly explicit (be warned, parents!) discussion of flockbinkers.
In fact, why don’t we address a question that has doubtless occurred to more than one reader since this blog was launched. Perhaps you’re among those who have wondered: What is the connection between flockbinkers and unicorns? Are they similar in some way? They certainly do get mentioned together a lot in this blog. What exactly do they have in common?
Let’s set forth eight ways in which unicorns and flockbinkers might be thought of as similar.
1. They both have three syllables in their name.
Here, let me show you.
You – knee – corn. Flock – bing – ker.
You can sound them out for yourself. Three syllables each.
Now, you may not think this is a significant thing for two objects to have in common, but that is where you have made your vital mistake. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine any criterion for similarity between any two things that is more important than the question of whether the words used to depict them have the same number of syllables. You’ll just have to trust us on this one.
2. They both have a horn poking out of the middle of their forehead.
It must be admitted up front that this point is a controversial one. The scholarly community are not unanimous in the conviction that flockbinkers have a horn protruding from the forehead. Some scholars are skeptical regarding whether flockbinkers even have a forehead, or, for that matter any kind of head at all. There are hints in the philosophical literature to the effect that the flockbinker may be an entity something like a toaster, or a microwave oven. There has even arisen a recent school of thought that says flockbinkers may be more like clouds of pinkish gas than anything else. And, of course, there are those outliers who aren’t convinced that there even IS such a thing as a flockbinker… which leads us to our next point.
3. They both are nonexistent.
Of course, this point depends entirely on what you mean by the terms ‘existent’ and ‘nonexistent.’ If by ‘existent’ you mean the sort of thing you are likely to see served at dinner or parked in your driveway, then both the flockbinker and the unicorn may safely be termed ‘nonexistent.’
The more precise discussion of what it means for something to exist has been treated elsewhere on this blog and will be revisited many times in the future. We need not concern ourselves with it now. If, however, you are a philosopher, and therefore of a stamp that requires a higher level of precision than does the average reader of silly blogs, then the next point will doubtless be of interest to you.
4. They both occupy a kind of ontological territory that might be termed ‘modally existent.’
Perhaps ‘nonexistent’ is a fatally inexact way to characterize both flockbinkers and unicorns. Perhaps we might want to nuance that a bit, and say that they do… er, sort of… exist, but not in the same way that your iPhone exists, or those Depends undergarments you’ve started wearing recently and that you earnestly hope no one knows about. We might want to say that the unicorn and the flockbinker are ‘modally existent’… which is to say, they exist in a different sort of way from the things we usually think of as existing, like paper airplanes, government waste, and the number 439. Well, except the number 439 might also go into the category of modal existence, depending on what you think the normal sort of ‘existence’ is all about. For that matter, government waste may have have to go in that same category, because — although we all know that it’s there — it’s not the sort of thing you can swat with a yardstick or draw pictures on with a lump of charcoal. Some other things that might go in the category of ‘modally existent’ would be Elizabeth Bennet, the bogeyman, and whoever that guy is that Taylor Swift keeps writing songs about.
5. Discussing either of them in this blog can send a certain Good Reader into an apoplectic rage.
The Good Reader: Okay, buster, you can just stop it right there. I am not about to put up with….
The Blogger: I rest my case.
6. They both can be found in mythic and fantasy literature.
The Good Reader: Now just a minute, you cut me off before i was able to make my point.
The Blogger: But we’ve already moved on to another point.
The Good Reader: Oh no, we haven’t. Not until we address the previous one, which you just kind of whipped on through while trying to make me look stupid.
The Blogger: [sigh] Okay, Good Reader. You may respond in full.
The Good Reader: You claimed that mentioning unicorns or flockbinkers on this blog will send me into “an apoplectic rage.”
The Blogger: Well, in my defense, i didn’t actually mention you by name….
The Good Reader: I don’t even have a name. I’m a character who serves as the personification of your readership.
The Blogger: There is that.
The Good Reader: But my point is, i am not enraged by hearing you mention flockbinkers or unicorns. I actually think they’re kind of endearing. What enrages me, maybe even apoplectically, is listening to you make bizarre statements that you can’t back up, and then insulting me and trying to make me look like a moron when i challenge you on it.
The Blogger: I have never done that.
The Good Reader: So that’s what enrages me. Apoplectically.
The Blogger: Well, your clarification is of course welcome, Good Reader, but you still seem to be ignoring the fact that we’ve moved on to a new topic.
The Good Reader: Fine. I’ll challenge you on that, too. Unicorns have, of course, been the subject of myth and fantasy literature. Flockbinkers have not. Nobody has ever even heard of flockbinkers.
The Blogger: Except, of course, for the thousands of readers who regularly follow this blog.
The Good Reader: I’m rolling my eyes. Can you see it? I’m rolling my eyes at you and making the face people make when their 16-month-old has just dumped a plate of spaghetti on the floor.
The Blogger: [checking his watch] Oops, will you look at that, we’re almost out of time. Must move on to the next point.
7. They both tend to be featured in Medieval tapestries.
It is commonly known that unicorns are featured in Medieval tapestries, often in the company of a young virgin. What’s less well known is that flockbinkers, also, can be found pictured in Medieval tapestries. Have you ever seen a picture of the Bayeux Tapestry? It’s not technically a tapestry, it’s more like a really long visual newspaper article reporting how the fateful Battle of Hastings went. Anyway, about 2/3 of the way toward the right of the picture, you can see a strange creature taking a spear right in the face. Ouch. Well, many informed experts feel that this was a flockbinker who innocently wandered onto the field of battle at precisely the wrong moment. That is to say, the wrong moment if your preference is not to die horribly, but the right moment if you’d like to be immortalized in one of the world’s most iconic works of art. It’s really a matter of perspective, isn’t it.
8. They are both of interest to people who self-identify as ‘horse-people.’
It has been the personal experience of This Blogger that those who tend to view themselves as ‘horse-people’ tend to be drawn both to unicorns and to flockbinkers. To unicorns, obviously, because they’re basically the same thing as a horse but with extra stuff. But why are such people also drawn to flockbinkers? Perhaps because flockbinkers, like horses, tend to be a preferred mode of transportation among those who (as represented in Western films) poke cows for a living? But here we have wandered into the territory of pure conjecture.