ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #971,876 [9/11/2011] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of Language. It was a happy language that was perfectly content to rollick about in the deliciously crisp, dry pages of old textbooks. It would observe the odd citation or two, scurry between parentheses, then leapfrog colons with gay abandon. But one fateful day, it stopped all of this.

On that one fateful day it stumbled across a newspaper clipping. This clipping was a detailed list of statistics, and the statistics were not good. Not good at all! Language saw that it was the least used language in all of grammardom. It was genuinely horrified at how little people were speaking, reading, or writing it. This was unacceptable! Language would have to find a way to rectify this shameful situation!

Later that evening, Language was sitting sullenly on the couch with an untouched beer and lukewarm pizza, watching the last episode of ‘Onomatopoeia Maker Gangs’ on DisFlix. A solution came to mind while the end credits crawled their way up the screen. What if Language became more ‘hip’ and ‘with it’, and tried keeping up with the modern social networking trend? The teens were all on TwitFace and TinderTok, weren’t they? If so, that’s where Language would have to be too.

So, the next morning Language got up early, fixed itself a coffee, and created an account. It tried to read a popular thread on TwitFace regarding a recently released video game sequel. Apparently, the majority of hardcore gamers were up in arms because a fan favourite character had been unceremoniously clubbed to death with a giant, frozen tuna fish by a trans bodybuilding fisherman. The vitriol was so incendiary that flames were coming off the screen and flicking Language’s face. How was Language meant to figure in all of this?

In three minutes flat, Language had gotten a headache so bad that its left eye started to twitch. Language hadn’t expected it would be so hard to get attention, let alone gain a semblance of popularity. But no one was taking notice of Language’s inherent availability. No one cared. They refused to use their words wisely, choosing instead the pointed noxiousness of stabby-face emojis, and terms such as ‘SJW’ and ‘incel’. Even one person seemed to have slammed their keyboard in a fit of fist-punchy rage as their comment read: ‘mITjof;maieu#ruqQ@450y!!))q5yv!!!’ Not the most articulate of responses.

Still, Language wasn’t going to give up.

It would have to change its focus. Pimply teenagers and other such infantile persons who suck up to the cult of video games were never going to rule the world after all. Language decided to jump into a different thread where people were discussing world politics. That would prove to be a more intellectual, polite and respectable discussion, wouldn’t it?

Holy crap, no.

In three minutes flat, ‘enriched’ with a dozen quirky insults, a motherlode of obscene declamations and a twitching right eye, Language shut down its laptop and resolved to switch to real life interactions from that point on. It would simply walk out onto the street and strike up a conversation with the first person it saw. Should be as easy as one, two, three, right?


The first person Language met on the street was a boy in a black hoodie who was diligently spray painting a huge, luminous, yellow ‘F’ on a nearby wall. The wall was as white as the boy was black. Was this a racial thing? Was the boy protesting something important? Language pondered this a little bit and then slunk away without talking to said boy. Language felt a little ashamed about this but it simply didn’t know what to say. Much better to interact with someone else.

Language came across a bald man next. This bald man was the whitest white that Language had ever seen—well, the whitest white that could be seen within the total graffiti wall of tattoos covering the bald man’s body. Said bald man was drunk, naked, and spoiling for a fight. He would be sorely disappointed on that front because in order to have a fight people would need to lay down next to the bald man in the gutter, grab one of his arms, and flail themselves with it. That’s how drunk he was. Language couldn’t quite comprehend the bald man’s slurred ramblings, but it did wonder if they were invocations of Hitler’s divine power and how all lives mattered—except for the black slaves. Language moved delicately on.

A bit further down the street, Language was glad to see an old lady, strolling about all neat and tidy and… friendly looking. Language could almost see the pleasantness of their potential interaction in its mind’s eye, how it would take her gently by the elbow and lead her across the street, and how grateful she would be. And later in the park they would discuss Oscar Wilde’s witticisms and Tchaikovsky’s compelling compositions over a cup of tea. But when Language approached the lady, she started to jab her stick at it, yelling her head off, calling Language a pervert and a paedophile. She was in the process of calling 911 when Language wisely took leave of the scene.

That night Language slept bad, really bad. Language tossed and turned in a cold sweat like it was an Olympic event, then finally gave up and jumped out of the pool… er, bed. Where had everything gone so wrong? Mopping its saturated brow with a corner of the doona, Language vowed to change the trajectory of its life. No more trying to get people to speak in its tongue, to write in its vernacular. That would prove to be an utterly fruitless endeavour in the long term.

The next morning, Language went to the Committee Of Linguistics Over Normal Society and submitted a resignation letter. Nowadays, you can see Language at the Governance Of National Arts Dupont Square where it performs as a street mime under the stage name ‘Nil Of Tongue’.

© All rights reserved 2020

ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #1,048 [11/9/2093] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of an Act of Parliament. Yes, the one entitled ‘Acts of Parliament Numbering and Citation Act 2020 (665 & 666 Mork IV c 69)’. It was passed in January of 2020 to universal acclaim that was then quickly superseded by universal condemnation. Poor Act of Parliament. It never stood a chance, but that’s political opinion for you. It can be rather like the changing moods of a fickle lover.

The Act was intended to provide a clear, strict, and definitive system for the numeration and marshalling of the endless streams of papers that were funneled through the halls of Parliament every day. Over the course of history, the archive from which it all originated had devolved into a heavy, stodgy mess. If someone wanted to find a paper for evening question time, they needed to begin searching within its bloated confines the morning before. Not terribly efficient.

So, all the politicos and their toadying lackeys got together for the forty-fifth sitting of Parliament where they indeed sat and talked a lot. They orated with chests so puffed out that you could stick them with a pin and watch the bodies fly about the chamber with untoward farting noises. But no one dared as this sitting business was mortally serious business. And so they were able to debate at length, make forceful points, to bluster, carp, badger and bully until a consensus was reached—a complicated one to be sure, but a consensus nonetheless.

And you know what? They did it. Sometimes democracy actually works. Nuts, but true! They managed to invent a precise and thorough system of numeration that could be used to categorise any case. From ordering a new marble night stool with luxury seat heating for the Queen to the scrappage of rotten surmullet in remote, artisanal fishing communities—everything that could be thought of would be accounted for. A mere glance at the number atop any paper would make things abundantly clear, and not only explain who issued it, but also where and when, and what question or problem it touched upon. The system of numbering was so very plain and easy to follow that it needed to be described in agonising detail in a two hundred page appendix to the Act—you know, so there wasn’t any ambiguity.

But therein laid the rub. In order to understand this new Act of Parliament that was alleged to be as clear as the woodpecker on Pinocchio’s nose, one needed the two hundred page appendix to the Act. But if one was not already in possession of this then one might as well give up and pursue a career in dog grooming instead. You see, the old categorisation system had already been defunded in order to fund the new categorisation system, but the new categorisation system could not yet be fully utilised as no one could fully understand it, and it was far too easy to get lost in two hundred pages of tortuously confusing instructions. Of course, the confused party could have asked the committee that drafted the new Act for clarification, but—as ill luck would have it—they had already left for a three month vacation in Honolulu. After all, such an important and prominent occasion like the adoption of a new Act required some serious partying.

Anyway, the new Act gave ten business days for the auditing, ordering and proper renumbering of all legal papers that had ever been issued in the history of anything ever. So, in two weeks’ time, any remaining papers with incorrect identification numbers would become null and void. And they would need to be transferred to one of the aforementioned remote fishing communities to be used as tinder to power the furnaces that ran the machines that ensured the continual scrappage of rotten surmullet. So… can you predict what happened in that two weeks? That’s right. The contents of that great Archive took a remote journey into the warm embrace of the furnaces. And, of course, no new papers could come into effect without proper numbering because the two hundred page appendix to the new Act of Parliament could not be correctly interpreted. The system of legislation ground to a halt. Parliament was paralysed. Anarchy reigned supreme.

When the politicos and their toadying lackeys realised what had happened, they tried to scrap the Act. But it was not to be. Why? Because for this they had to issue a new Act that… yes, needed to be properly numbered—which it couldn’t be. Oh, my giddy aunt! And then a month passed before a janitor found the abandoned and half-chewed Act in the ministerial games room. It had been used to prop up one corner of the mahogany snooker table, its tatty pages even less scrutable than before. The politicos had long vacated Parliament by this point. They’d already joined the committee that had drafted the Act in Honolulu, and all had drunk themselves to death. And, strangely, despite there no longer being a rule of law, the world was better off.

© All rights reserved 2020