There are so many bad, and so many good, things about the Internet, that it would take a long time to tell them all. But one of the things which is both good and bad, as tens of millions of searchers have discovered, is that once you put a word into Google's search box, among the many links thrown up, one inevitably will consist merely of a computer-generated string of unrelated words, with one of those words, highlighted, being the one you sought. Often the particular patch of words, or the if you prefer the one-dimensional, the snipped-off length of word-string, bores or dismays. But sometimes it possesses a poetry of its own. Not the hideous stuff that comes from word-chains generated by some human interested in Experimental Verse, but the honest nonsense that only a computer, in good non-conscience, can offer.
The other day I used the word “diplography.” I then worried that perhaps readers would not know what the word meant, or not know the particular meaning that I meant them to understand when I used the word. So I decided to see what definitions of the word would turn up first for someone seeking that word's meaning, and found, to my dismay, that the first to come up was from the first -- 1913 -- edition of Webster's Unabridged, and only gave one meaning, and that one a technical one, not the one I had in mind. But in the course of that search, one of the links on the top of the first page caught my eye. It was a computer-generated string of words, and on that particular snippet could be found the sought-for "diplography":
"paroli beastily katabanian diplography superluxurious websterian unpeeled birdcall "
After "diplography" it was pre-fabricated poetry. All that was required was a change, not in sound, but in one letter, so that the "websterian unpeeled birdcall" could be made into a "websterian unpealed birdcall," the birdcall never uttered by some mute inglorious Milton's Warbler, a fabled bird of bards that possed the words -- hence "websterian" from the celebrated dictionary -- but lacked, as birds will, the ability to utter those websterian words, and had to content itself with birdsong. Or, alternatively, with the mind insisting on retaining the spelling "peeled," one might consider a "websterian unpelled birdcall" one that reveals, piercingly, the skull-beneath-the-skin view that is identified not with Noah, but with John, Webster. The grammatical needs were adequately met by the last three, or even four, words, and all that was necessary was for the imagination to squeeze out some plausible meaning, and the fun was in the squeezing.
So there is that bird, unpealed or unpeeled its birdcall. And if we go with the latter, we have allusiion to dutchess-of-malfi undertones of that birdcall. If we go by the former, we hear the lament for the lack, in that bird's call, of both langue and parole, presumably needed to fully express its overabundant emotions, its superluxurious feelings, and even, it suddenly occured to me, its possibly katabanian longings.
What, you ask, is "katabanian"?
I wondered too. Wondered, and intermittently, internettingly wandered. Here's the string that came up:
“peromyscus retainer peltately hydrocores satyrine katabanian anantherous fusarium.”
Not as fructifying for the imagination as what “diplography” had yielded. But the slim pickings prompted me, by way of consolation , to go back to the old google drawing-board, and find out something about "katabanian." On-line, from the Eleventh Edition of you-know-what, I read about Glaser’s expeditions to South Arabia, and the squeezes he brought back of Katabanian inscriptions, and the names of eighteen Katabanian kings, and… what’s that?
You don’t understand what the word “squeezes” means in that phrase, the one about the “squeezes he brought back”? Possibly something like brass rubbings, of Sir Hugh De Person, made elegiacally in some country churchyard?
Yes, you're right. I thought right away of the phrase "my main squeeze." Your main squeeze could be a girl. Or it could be something else. It could be your own imagination.
Go ahead. Lift up your bed, and walk. That is, stay right here, and once you've read to the end, gto go google and find the meaning of “squeeze” as used in the description of Glaser's activities in South Arabia. Take a good look, in your imagination, at those goodly kingdoms he visited, before Islam arrived, full of myrrh and frankincense and gold, katabanian gold. Now, if your mind has been well-prepared, take that katabanian gold, and pocket it. There's plenty more where that came from.
As I started out by saying, there are so many good, and so many bad, things about the Internet, that it would take a long time to tell them all.