YOU CAN FIND ANYTHING…

It is a principle of all large collections of books that you can find anything as long as you are not looking for it. As example and sufficient proof of the principle, here is Shakespeare in Pennsylvania Dutch:

Gloster. — Now is der winter fun unser unru
Glorreich g’maucht by der sun fun Yorrick;
Un all de wulka os ivver unserm house waura.
Sin deef in de sæ ni fergrawa.…

Was anyone looking for that? No; but once it is found (in “Rauch’s Pennsylvania Dutch Hand-Book,” published in 1879), it becomes clear that it needed to be found.

In an alternate universe where the Articles of Confederation failed, and the English colonies became a string of independent republics along the Atlantic, Pennsylvania Dutch occupies almost exactly the same place in Pennsylvania that Afrikaans occupies in South Africa. We have just described the least successful alternate-history novel ever. Although, curiously enough, in an alternate universe where everyone is thoroughly sick of reading about alternate universes in which the Nazis won the Second World War, that book is a big seller.

CITATION NEEDED.

From the Wikipedia article on “Elf”:

From a scientific viewpoint, elves are not considered objectively real.[2]

2. Hall (2007), pp. 8–9, 168–69.

One likes to imagine this very careful wording and accompanying citation as the result of a three-month edit war which finally sent a Wikipedian looking for a reliable up-to-date reference that explicitly stated that elves are not real and explained exactly what was meant by “not real.”

A DELIGHTFUL FRENCH IDIOM.

It came up in a French news story: “Un quart d’heure de gloire warholien” (“A Warholian fifteen minutes of fame”). It seems perfect for dropping into casual conversation: “He will enjoy his quart d’heure de gloire warholien, and then we shall have done with him.” This will baffle your acquaintances and make them think of you as a pompous twit, which will spare you the necessity of any further conversation with them.

The phrase is also often translated “quart d’heure de célébrité,” as in “‘À l’avenir chacun connaîtra son quart d’heure de célébrité’ prévenait Andy Warhol en 1968” (from the France culture site).

NOW YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING.

A page from the Bible, translated into Latin from the original Irish.

What question do you have about history? No matter: there is one answer: the Irish.

Who founded civilization? The Irish.

Who wrote the Bible? The Irish.

Who discovered America? The Irish.

Who built the Pyramids in Egypt? The Irish.

Who built any random landmark of ancient architecture you can think of? The Irish.

What people were once the rulers and masters of the whole earth? The Irish.

We have all these answers because of a book that, unaccountably, has not reached the attention of mainstream academic historians, but appears to be enjoying a resurgence of popularity among alternative historians, by which Dr. Boli means historians who are wrong. The book is Irish Wisdom Preserved in Bible and Pyramids, by Conor MacDari, and the title already hints at the riches inside. For more hints, here are some of the chapter titles:

The Compact of Rome and England for the Conquest of Ireland

The Bible an Irish Book Altered and Adapted by British-Roman Transcribers

Hebrew a Sacerdotal Dialect Improvised from the Irish Language for the Secret Use of the Priests

The Irish the First Cultural Nation, the Earliest Missionary Teachers, and the Great Temple Builders of the Ancient World

The Four-Pyramid Group and Sphinx, Designed and Erected to Symbolize Man

Every Irish priest is in on the conspiracy to keep the Irish people in the dark about their true history. You want proof? The author has proof:

The writer, in discussing matters with a priest, happened to refer to Irish literature. He said, “The Irish have no literature.” When asked why, he answered, “I cannot speak. My lips are sealed.” We are satisfied that Irish Roman Catholic priests have always been aware of this fraud.

How can you argue with proof like that? We have a second-hand report of an Irish priest who flat-out didn’t say that there was a mighty conspiracy! If you demand more proof than that, you simply do not understand how mighty conspiracies work.

It was very annoying to Dr. Boli that, although many reprint publishers offer facsimiles of this book for sale, he could not find it in any of the usual on-line libraries—except in the form of a very ugly PDF created by some user from a text file and uploaded to the Internet Archive. And thank you to that user, by the way, because even an ugly PDF took a good bit of work, and an ugly PDF is much better than no copy at all.

It is an old cliché to say that following a certain doomed endeavor is like watching a train wreck. But following the reasoning in this book is like watching two trains collide on a high bridge that is simultaneously blown up by anarchists while being hit by a tornado. It is, in other words, a spectacle not to be missed.

This book has inspired Dr. Boli to begin a page in his Eclectic Library devoted to what is euphemistically described as “alternative history,” but which Dr. Boli prefers to call Wrong History.

THE PARADOX OF ROCOCO ART.

Composite photograph of the interior of Wilhering Abbey Church, Upper Austria, by Wikimedia user “Uoaei1,” licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The insoluble paradox of rococo art is well illustrated by this photograph, which was Picture of the Day today on Wikimedia Commons. One enters a space like this and immediately feels that it is about the most magnificent thing the human species is capable of producing. Simultaneously, one feels that the decorations could have been even better rendered on black velvet.