Sunday, December 2, 2012

All Roads Lead to Book Dirt: Bell Jar Clip Art Edition

Even while working on bigger projects keeps me from regularly blogging, I still check my blog stats like a madwoman. And yes, they’re still plenty weird. In fact, so many visitors have found Book Dirt by searching for “naked contortionist” that I barely bat an eyelash when I see it on the list. Still other search terms make me wonder if I should fear for my -- or anyone else’s -- safety. I’ll keep those to myself for now, but they occasionally involve such things as dismembered corpses and pieces of luggage. I suppose that’s less of a worry for a book blogger than it is for TSA.

It’s practically a cause for celebration when someone finds Book Dirt when searching for something related to actual books. I get an even bigger thrill when my blog is found by people searching for the answer to Who wrote Dante’s Inferno? I feel like I’ve performed an important public service.

Here are some of the more oddball search terms of late that have led readers to me, whether they wanted to get here or not.

Vintage clip art of a literal bell jar. Print and save for the church bulletin.

1. Bell jar clip art

I’m thrilled that this search phrase is at least book related, but mystified by someone’s idea that there might actually be clip art illustrations for The Bell Jar. I can only imagine what the scenes might be:

  • Esther on the bus with her new diaphragm
  • The food poisoning incident
  • Visiting Buddy in the TB sanitarium
  • Basement crawlspace + gobs of pills
  • Electric shock therapy hijinks
  • Thwarting Joan’s lesbian advances (Caption: “You make me want to puke, if you want to know.")

Actually, if someone wants to put these illustrations together, they’d make one hell of a coloring book.

2. Disturbing book pig

While I’m not sure which disturbing book pig this user was looking for, most people’s guess would probably go to Napoleon, the porcine dictator in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. My vote, though, goes to the disturbingly gargantuan Empress of Blandings, the prize Berkshire sow of Lord Emsworth in P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle novels. It’s hard to say which is larger, the Empress herself, or her propensity for being kidnapped. 

Napoleon vs. the Empress of Blandings in a super disturbing book pig smackdown battle.

3. Chauvinistic fortune cookie sayings

I can’t recall ever seeing a truly sexist fortune cookie message, as they’re usually so vague as to be almost meaningless. If the person who searched for this phrase wants a saying that’s about as misogynistic as they come, the book lover in me suggests something from Keith Talent, of Martin Amis’ London Fields. A typical Keithism: “If you’re going to be violent, stick to women.” Imagine cracking open a cookie and finding: You can’t be doing with all these birds. Saps a man’s darts.

4. A limerick about 50 Cent

It’s easy to see how this Googler was led to Book Dirt. I’ve written about both my penchant for limerick construction as well as the legal brouhaha between 50 Cent and writer Chinua Achebe. If you don’t know about the latter, then I hardly see how I could keep from telling you about it in limerick form.

50 Cent made a film (that’s the start),
And the title was Things Fall Apart,
Then Achebe got riled,
And a lawsuit was filed.
I can’t say that the outcome was smart.

5. Old school classics contortion

Now this is a web researcher I can understand. I feel you, man. These newfangled contortionists just don’t understand. It’s like they’re crapping on the graves of the contortionists who created the craft. You’ve got to know the rules before you break them. These crazy kids with their fancy bending and flashy costumes. Give me a break, right? 

Ah, the classics never die.

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  1. I was looking for a picture of zebra kicking a baboon's butt, but I don't regret not finding it because the contortionist picture is much better than that. Could you tell me what Edgar Allen Poe's comment was before you deleted it?

  2. It was pretty much just what you would expect from Edgar Allen Troll.