Why Pancake Dominion?


Well, it’s because of one of fiction’s great paragraphs, one that appears in Donald Antrim’s The Verificationist—no, it doesn’t just “appear” there, Donald Antrim wrote it, that’s why it appears there. It appears below because it makes me laugh. The dust jacket on the left side of the image, by the way, is the superior cover for this book (though I do like the “head floating away” one), and if you read the book, as you should, you should read a copy that has the dust jacket with the Brueghel painting.

But back to the paragraph: It’s not just because he wrote it or because that paragraph makes me laugh. It’s because that paragraph does something like what I want to do here, at this blog, named after the dominion pancakes enjoy over us. It (the paragraph) alerts the reader to an absurd and compelling truth: the inescapeable human need for pancakes and how pancakes turn on us upon their arrival and become something else, something much, much less. That even so we cling to them, the pancakes; we build them back up while we’re away from them, imaging them perfect and far more satisfying. We learn that they disappoint, but we never really learn.

Now, fascinating things occur to me sometimes, media connections that fleetingly become my world. I hope to put them here, then walk away from them, and see what they become, whether much more or much less than what they momentarily were for me. You’ll see.

Maybe I’ll come up with a more concise and catchy name for all of this at some point. For now, let’s you and I replace this whole confused concept in our minds with a picture of what Pancake Dominion looks like to us. There, I have it—an image is locked in. Syrup drips to the plate from the top disc of the breakfasty metaphor in my head. Syruping, though, the inner reaches of the pancake stack is what I want, now and then on this blog, to do.

I also want it to contain that very silly, very important paragraph:

I was not, at this point, making a very good showing as a flying man. I might have done better if I had not eaten the pancakes. We eat pancakes to escape loneliness, yet within moments we want nothing more than our freedom from ever having so much as thought about pancakes. Nothing can prevent us, after eating pancakes, from feeling the most awful regret. After eating pancakes, our great mission in life becomes the repudiation of the pancakes and everything served along with them, the bacon and the syrup and the sausage and the coffee and jellies and jams. But these things are beneath mention, compared with the pancakes themselves. It is the pancake—Pancakes! Pancakes!—that we never learn to respect. We promise ourselves that we will know better, next time, than to order pancakes in any size or in any amount. Never again will we be tempted by buckwheat or buttermilk or blueberry flapjacks. However, we fail to learn; and the days go by, two or three weeks pass, then a month, and we forget about pancakes and their dominion over us. Eventually, we need them. We crawl back to pancakes again and again.


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