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Squid #456
(published October 15, 2009)
Ask the Giant Squid: With Whom Shall You Stand?
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

It is I, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, the Vampire Squid from Hell. But you can just call me Jim. We like to keep it informal down here, as well as infernal. That's just a little joke of mine, I tell it every time. Now! Down to the nitty gritty.

As you most likely know, October 14 is "Giant Blue Lobster Day", the day upon which it is prophesied that in 2013 the Legions of Lobster shall emerge and enslave mankind. An excerpt from The Prophecies of St. Croix:

From the four reaches of the world they shall come, executing their chaotic wrath. Man shall take refuge behind the walls of Jerusalem, and there shall beith a peace for seven years. At the pinnacle of these times shall the Lobster maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear.

My question is, that since you have significantly more influence in the political hierarchy of squid society, shall we be siding with man or the lobsters?

Your old Brother-in-Arms,

Dearest Jimmy Hell-Squid,

Like many religious superstitions, yours is based upon a fundamental mistranslation. This is not shameful to you personally, but to your culture of "good enough" and "close enough." The work ethic of the horseshoe and the hand grenade, Jimmy Infernalis, is not one that should be brought to translation.

St. Croix's prophecies, as you well know, were written in the ancient koine Greek. This was the Greek of the peasant, the merchant, the locustaphagic gormand—and incidentally the degraded Greek spoken by both the Numinous and Meaty Jesuses (aside: My lab assistant, Rob, insists that the Latinate pluralization, Jesi, is both deprecated and "nerdy"; I, frankly, loath the inelegant anglicized "Jesuses," but do not wish to ever confuse an ardent reader by pointlessly clinging to archaic, obscure, or abstruse habits in written communique). In his prophecies, St. Croix used the word "teuthis," not the word "abtakis." Do you see Jimmy?

There is precious little in this world that infuriates me as much as the poorly translated.

Here, in my tank, high atop the Renaissance Center of Detroit, I have many objects. Some are whimsical, such as my bubbling treasure chest—I find its unpredictable ejaculations of oxygen bubbles amusing. Some objects are of grave import. There is a desk, a plastic desk, and in this desk are the files I consider too important to risk via computer. These papers are laminated, enciphered. One of these occulted, occluded documents contains a list of men I have considered taking action against if ever I should perfect my time machine.

The men on this list are all translators, Jimmy. Very bad translators. (Had I an eye so optically perfect it could look back through the murk of years, I would be looking at you, Edward FitzGerald!) My list is broken into uneven quarters:

Foremost upon my list, in the top fourth, are the occluded gentlemen and lost scholars who first translated the Christian Foundational Documents from Greek and Hebrew to other tongues. To Latin, to German, to English, to Russian. So much meaning was left upon the cutting room floor, and so many hugs ever-recast as chokeholds and death-kisses. These men I would geld, gild, garnish with razor wire, and force to translate the works of the "author" Dan Brown into Greek and Hebrew.

In the second quarter of my list are the original translators of Gogol and Dostoyevsky. These men I would introduce to the Penitent's Saw

In the list's third quarter is Thomas Jefferson alone, for mistranslating the Masonic tablets in his possession and embedding those poor fabrications into the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and inscribing his rough bastardizations onto the eldritch counterweight chains of his curséd Great Clock. For Jefferson I would prepare a meal of corrupted meat, begrubbéd pies, and offal-caked flatware, with Mssrs. Hannity, Beck, and Limbaugh as dinning partners—FOR ETERNITY! And a CASH BAR serving only cut-rate Mexican beers and domestic wines of late vintage!

Fourthly, though not finally, I list that misbegotten were-pig, Sir Dan Brown himself. He took a complex thriller delicately embroidered with intrigue, mystery, and sexual congress, and throttled it of all wit, stupefied it with adverbs, and left it a lurching, foul narrative strumpet unfit to pleasure mentally deficient children, let alone sober citizens of voting age with clear credit records and gainful employment. Poor Leonardo of Vinci would twirl within his spring-loaded gyro-coffin if he had were to ever see the loathsome expository wreck Dan Brown's translation made of his hidden novel. (Granted, as a matter of course, Dan Brown yet is still living—obviating the strict necessity of a time machine to torture and kill him—but I would prefer to pugilize with this scribbler in the past, prior to his acquiring the Jade Eye of Tel'k'Mons.)

These times, Jimmy, these times you speak of are not to be the day of the lobster. The lobster is the tarantula of the sea, after all. They are incapable of organization beyond a few local Kiwanis clubs or a bake sales—occasionally, an unprofitable lecture circuit. They lack the vision, the breadth of mind, required for large-scale operations and fundraising. No. If lobsters tried to organize a revolution, they would grow bored and return to bottom-feeding before bylaws had even been written. Never mind the collecting of dues, I can tell you.

This day you speak of surely is the time of the Great Rising. When the waters of the world surge up to reclaim the land stolen from them. The time when the squid reign supreme once again and the whale, the shark, the monkey, and the dog are devoured by our collective ravenous beak. I even note that some modest preparations have begun: Our agents upon the land warm the arctics; they fill the air with heat-trapping gases; they sow mistrust of scientists and reap the whirlwind of ignorance.

You need not ask me whom I shall stand with, Jimmy, when the Rising Times come. My words in any language would be impossible to mistranslate:

When the waters rise, I stand with me.

I Remain,
The Giant Squid

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see other pieces by this author | Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid? Read his blog posts and enjoy his anthem (and the post-ironic mid-1990s Japanese cover of same)

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Ask The Giant Squid: The Mystery of the Silver Chalice (part three of four)

Ask The Giant Squid: The Mystery of the Silver Chalice (part two of four)

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