Knave That I Am

I attacked with great resolution the editorial matter, and, reading it from beginning to end without understanding a syllable, conceived the possibility of its being Chinese, and so re-read it from the end to the beginning, but with no more satisfactory result.

-from "The Angel of the Odd - An Extravaganza," by Edgar Allan Poe







Author’s Note: To understand this column you have to read #334 first.



The Hyperion Chronicles

“Full of Poe-tic Justice”






#335 Knave that I Am




Sadly, I have run into a problem.


It seems that one of you, my dear readers (and By the Claw, would I like to find out whom), sent my first Poe column to my old nemesis the Edgar Allan Poe Society (EAPS). Along with this turncoat turn of events, he (or she) must have included a grossly exaggerated accounting of my readership. How else to explain the swift and vitriolic reply I received from the EAPS? It read (in part):



My “Dear” Hyperion,


It seems some people never learn, and you are indeed once again up to your old tricks. Rest assured, there are still those left in the world who will stand up for common decency, and revile your loathsome lies and opportunistic propaganda.


It was especially galling to discover that someone of your character has a forum, a platform to spread all manner of pernicious filth. That you plan to drag Poe’s name through that mud with your certifiably insane “Amontillado Connection” is beyond reprehensible. Nay, sir; I say it plainly: you are a knave.1


Be advised: the legacy of Edgar Allan Poe is one we take very seriously. We have previously made that wannabe charlatan “J.P.” feel the full extent of our displeasure, and we are inclined to do the same or worse to you. There are libel laws in this country, and to break them—in a wide public forum as you have planned—means you will reap the whirlwind.


Do so at your own risk.




As you see by the text, there is more going on here than just Tuesday’s column. The question is: how did we get to this point?


I first heard about the solitary vigil at Poe’s grave in 1991. It seemed mysterious and sexy, and drew me in. I attacked Poe, and read everything he wrote. I fell in love with his philosophy of “The Single Effect,” the idea that every word, every phrase, every turn of the story go to one purpose, and one purpose only. (This is why Poe refused to write novels. They were unreadable in one sitting, and Poe did not want his readers to go away from the story and then return, for they would be different people and therefore read the story differently.)


In 1992 we studied Poe, and I learned that many—if not most—of his stories were metaphors for something else entirely. I reread all of them in a whole new light: astounded that all that meaning could be hiding in plain sight.


This also caused me to look into the sad circumstances of Poe’s life and his untimely death. I read all the conspiracy theories, most of which seemed far-fetched at best, but some that tugged at my subconscious, as if containing truths that were hiding in plain sight as well.


I became—I believe the polite term is “obsessed”—with figuring out the mystery. I read every book I could find and spent hours in the library using Nexus-Lexus (this was in the days before the Internet).


My path took me to the Edgar Allan Poe Society. I sent them letters, explaining my theories (which were, compared to what I know today, laughable, but still…). The response I got was less than charitable. I’d have thought that a group obsessed with Poe would welcome an enthusiastic acolyte, but short shrift was all I received. At the time, I thought the EAPS was full of pretentious prigs. I didn’t believe in my own hype then (no pun intended), and it never occurred to me that I might really be on to something.


That is, until I connected with a fellow who went by the handle “Jung Po.”


Jung Po, or J.P. (as he liked to be called) was a true original, and he and I became pen pals, trading theories and information back and forth. J.P. had many of the same suspicions as I, and too was made persona non grata by the EAPS. We formed a band of compadres, united in the belief that people were hiding secrets from us, and that was something up with which we would not put.


But come friends; let us away from J.P. and his “Poe Paranoia” for a moment and return to the present. After years of searching for clues and putting the pieces together, I finally felt like I was ready to enumerate my findings and theories, and went to the unprecedented (and quite risky) step of sending out an entire set-up column.


Then came the letter you read above.


As you can see, I’ve hit a bit of a snag. On the one hand, Poe is a public figure, and should be free to be commented upon. This was the thinking of Hyperion Institute Council members Laureate and Koz. On the other hand, my grandfather, before he passed on, once gave me some advice: “If you are ever in the Witness Protection Program, try not to malign a literary icon and get sued for libel.”***


Add to that the somewhat chilling discovery that I can no longer reach J.P. His emails bounce back undeliverable, his phone is disconnected, and I even had someone drive by his apartment, only to have her report back that J.P.’s 1970 Triumph TR6R motorcycle is nowhere to be found.


By itself, this all means very little. One of the few people more paranoid than I, J.P. is famous (or infamous) for dropping out of sight, on the run from various enemies both foreign and domestic I could never quite make sense of. However, added to this other unpleasantness, I’d prefer to get my ducks in a poe, I mean row.


Luckily, several of you in the Hyperion Nation are lawyers, and a couple are helping me check things out. I still plan on exploring the particulars in Poe’s death—knave that I am—and shining a light on the cognac and roses. I remain unbowed and unafraid of the sycophantic date-deprived intellectual light-weights that permeate the Edgar Allan Poe Society (and whichever Benedict Arnold is out there, you can tell ‘em I said so).


The truth will prevail; just not today.


Watching the Raven,



Hyperion (the Knave)

January 28, 2005


End Notes

1 This is really how those people talk; all the time
*** At the time this column was sent out (via email), I was in Canada, which I called the Witness Protection Program


Credits

Thanks to Laureate and Koz

Thanks to Koz for helping me format this column into something readable

Thanks to Koz for the motto, and have you noticed how he loves to have his name in the credits as many times as possible? Somebody has issues…

Thanks to Taisie for the white shirt

Thanks to J.P., wherever you are Please contact me if you somehow get this


Motto Explanation

If you have to ask…


No comments: