I have an ancient fallen apart copy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. It no longer qualifies as a book because the binding has gone to bits, its more like a collection of pages now. The paper is this amazing old ivory color and it is getting fragile. I wanted to save them, so I pulled out all the illustrations and scanned them one by one, rereading the marvelous story again as I worked with the book.
Lewis Carroll had a seriously droll sense of humor and one piece especially struck me as perfect today. In Chapter III everyone is wet from swimming about in Alice’s pool of tears and their attempts to dry off make up the chapter. The mouse gives it a shot by reciting dry history, which doesn’t work very well so the Dodo comes up with the brilliant idea of a Caucus-race. Given that here and now we are headed into our own ridiculous Caucus Race season I give you Alice in Wonderland’s Caucus-race.
“In that case,” said the Dodo solemnly, rising to its feet, “I move that the meeting adjourn, for the immediate adoption of more energetic remedies-“
“Speak English!” said the Eaglet. “I don’t know the meaning of half those long words, and what’s more, I don’t believe you do either!” And the Eaglet bent down its head to hide a smile, while some of the other birds tittered audibly.
“What I was going to say,” said the Dodo in an offended tone, “was that the best thing to get us dry would be a Caucus-race.” “What is a Caucus-race?” said Alice; not that she wanted much to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that somebody ought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined to say anything.
“Why,” said the Dodo, “the best way to explain it is to do it.” (And as you might like to try the thing yourself, some winter day, I will tell you how the Dodo managed it.) First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (“the exact shape doesn’t matter”, it said,”) and the all the party were placed along the course here and there. There was no “One, two, three, and away,” but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out, “The race is over!” and they all crowded round it, panting and asking, “But who has won?”
This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead, (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him,) while the rest waited in silence. At the last the Dodo said, “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes”
So, here is my question, how did Lewis Carroll foresee the American primary system? I mean really….