All Flibertysquibs Are Treacleandjam: Or, Just a Different Batch of Nonsense
by David Kennedy Bird
Abstract: In which the Blogger is confronted with a taste of his own linguistic medicine, and the Good Reader teams up with a mysterious “Anti-Blogger” and two anonymous young ladies you may recall from days of yore, to dismantle a long-established literary tradition.
The Anti-Blogger is an archetypal sort of fella. He’s sort of like, “The Blogger,” only different. He’s like, you know, the opposite. When The Blogger says “left,” the Anti-Blogger says “right.” When The Blogger says “plain,” the Anti-Blogger says, “peanut.” When The Blogger says “capitalism,” the Anti-Blogger says “the dictatorship of the proletariat.” When The Blogger says “Which way to the Men’s room?” the Anti-Blogger says, “Dang, that was one very excellent burrito.” When The Blogger says, “Girl / I want / To be with you / All of the time / All day / And all of the night,” the Anti-Blogger says, “My little China girl / You shouldn’t mess with me / I’ll ruin everything you are.”
You get the idea.
In this post, we get a rare glimpse into the thinking of this extraordinary fellow, as he suddenly appears from nowhere and takes on The Blogger at a fundamentally philosophical level. And as dessert? We get to revisit the razor’s-edge thinking of Females #1 and #2, and as the cherry on top, even The Good Reader shows up! It’s a party, man.
The Blogger: All flockbinkers are treadknicious.
The Anti-Blogger: All flibertysquibs are treacleandjam.
The Blogger: Wait. What?
The Anti-Blogger: I said, “All flibertysquibs are treacl….”
The Blogger: Right, right. But that doesn’t mean anything!
The Anti-Blogger: It means as much as “all flockbinkers are treadknicious,” or whatever it is that you’ve been saying.
The Blogger: It most certainly does not! “Flockbinker” is a real word, and “liberty-squabs” absolutely isn’t!
The Anti-Blogger: Flibertysquibs is as real a word as flockbinkers. They’re both nonsense.
The Blogger: Are not!
The Anti-Blogger: Are so.
The Blogger: Are not!
The Anti-Blogger: Are so!
The Blogger: Look, there’s a solid literary tradition undergirding my use of the term “flockbinkers.” And you just now made up the word “flaherty-drabs.”
The Anti-Blogger: Flibertysquibs. And a few random blog posts by a single eccentric sitting in front of the computer in his jammies does not constitute an established literary tradition.
The Blogger: It does! Oh, wait.
The Anti-Blogger: [smiling] See here, you’ve got a real problem. You just can’t make claims for one set of nonsensical words, and then try to block those very same claims from being made of other nonsensical words. It’s as if you’re tying to establish a hierarchy of nonsense.
The Blogger: If there’s never been a record album with that name, someone better snatch it up soon.
The Anti-Blogger: Hmmm?
The Blogger: “A Hierarchy of Nonsense.” Shoot man, i’d buy it. I don’t care what the music sounds like.
The Anti-Blogger: Very cool. But now, back to our topic. What is it about the word “wamwam” that makes you want to treat it seriously as a philosophical term, while at the same time rejecting “treacleandjam”?
The Blogger: Why, because it IS a legitimate philosophical term! And the other one’s just a succession of sounds that you made up to make my position look ridiculous.
The Anti-Blogger: I don’t think your position needs much help to look ridiculous, but i’m delighted to do what i can.
The Blogger: Mmmmmm.
The Anti-Blogger: Tell ya what. Why don’t you explain, right now, what it is about the term “wamwam”–which, if i’m not mistaken, can’t be found in the dictionary–that makes it a legitimate philosophical term.
The Blogger: Delighted to! Well, first off– [pauses, deeply immersed in thought]
The Anti-Blogger: Mmmmm?
The Blogger: Sorry. Just assembling my case.
The Anti-Blogger: Fine. Carry on, my good man.
The Blogger: Okay. So, the question is, how is the word ‘wamwam’ a real term, whereas the stupid nonsense you’ve been saying isn’t?
The Anti-Blogger: Something like that.
The Blogger: Why, it’s simple. It’s because you just now made those terms up in order to make me look like a buffoon.
The Anti-Blogger: Well, once again, i’m glad to help nature take its course, if any help is necessary. But my having made those terms up just now is no different from your having made your terms up a few years ago.
[The Good Reader walks up, interested in the discussion.]
The Blogger: [To the Anti-Blogger] Look. Flockbinkers are not the same thing as flibertysquibs, and the state of being ‘treadknicious’ is not the same as being ‘treacleandjam’.
The Good Reader: Why not? None of it means anything.
The Blogger: [infinitely patient sigh] Saying that these are ‘undefined terms’ is not the same thing as saying that they don’t mean anything.
The Good Reader: Sure it is. It’s all a bunch of nonsense. You just like making funny sounds — and building a blog around it. If 2-year-olds had a blog, they would be doing the same thing.
The Blogger: They would not!
The Good Reader: Would so.
The Blogger: Would not!
The Good Reader: Would so.
The Blogger: [sigh] Look here. It seems to me that we’re dancing around the main issue, which is….
[It is at this point that the little gathering is joined by two young ladies who were, um, anonymously featured in an earlier post to this blog a couple of years back]
Female #2: Howdy!
Female #1: How’s it going.
The Blogger: Um, howdy there. I haven’t seen you two in a long while!
Female #2: No indeed! We have been otherwise occupied.
Female #1: Developing categories by which to better understand horses.
Female #2: So. Okay. I have a question. Is it possible to misspell “frockdrinkers”? After all, it’s not in the dictionary.
Female #1: And does it matter how you pronounce it? I’d kind of like to pronounce it “flockber,” which is shorter and easier to say.
The Blogger: But that’s not how it’s pronounced….
Female #1: Ah ah ah, but it’s not in the dictionary, so how is it that i can’t pronounce it however i want to?
Female #2: And i’d like to spell it “fwump,” which is considerably shorter and much less trouble than “frodpickers.”
The Good Reader: Oooohh. Such good points they seem to be making!
The Blogger: Oh, stop. Look guys, you can’t just randomly make up spellings and pronunciations for words! The universe would descend into utter chaos!
Female #2: Chaos and abaddon, with darkness upon the face of the deep, and spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places!
Female #1: And all kinds of terrible stuff going on.
The Blogger: Um, uh, yes, precisely. So no. No: you can’t just randomly make up spellings and pronunciations for words, just sorta out of your noggin.
Female #2: Words… that you’ve randomly made up.
Female #1: Right out of your noggin.
The Blogger: Well, no, um. I mean…um. Oh, poo.
The Anti-Blogger: I’m afraid they’ve scored one on you.
The Good Reader: As in: Ga-ZING. Pow. Whack.
Female #1: I feel like we’ve maybe gotten him back for that “horse people” thing a couple of years back?
Female #2: Hey! I thought he made some very good points in the horse people discussion.
Female #1: What? He just kept including random stuff and confusing the issue. But what am i saying? You were just as bad!
Female #2: Hrmmff. You only think that because you’re a horse people yourself. I thought he performed brilliantly.
[Females #1 and #2 withdraw, still arguing the merits of the various horse-people models. The Anti-Blogger has, meanwhile, somehow dissolved into the aether, leaving The Good Reader standing alone with The Blogger.]
The Good Reader: Ahh! This sort of conflict is good sometimes, y’know? It sort of clears the nasal passages and whatnot.
The Blogger: If you say so.