I was in a room with a lot of people -- Europeans, I thought, some speaking English and others French. Someone mentioned the name Jay Leno, and everyone suddenly turned and stared at him aghast, as if he had committed some unthinkable breach of decorum in uttering that name.
I was confused by this, and I said, "What? What did Jay Leno do? Did he rape somebody? Did he say nigger?"
Now everyone turned and stared aghast at me, partly because I hadn't used the more genteel terms sexual assault and the n-word, but mostly because I had somehow missed the memo about Jay Leno being unpersoned. An elderly woman hissed at me, "Le n-mot, s'il vous plaît!" -- which I don't think is even proper French, but which struck me as funny because it punned simultaneously on the name Leno and the slang expression "nigga, please!" Under the circumstances, I didn't dare crack a smile. Everyone else was silent, but I could "hear" their thoughts: "He doesn't know! Everyone knows. Everyone knows!" I woke up.
Several hours later, Jay Leno reappeared in another mini-dream. It wasn't even a proper dream, just a static image: a paperback book with a pulp-style illustration of two or three distraught-looking people imprisoned in what looked like a glass diving bell. At the top of the cover it said, "Who Can Say Who's Abducting You?" At the bottom, it said, "Jay Leno." I thought in the dream that this was a quadruple-entendre: (1) a book by Jay Leno called Who Can Say Who's Abducting You? (I imagined in the dream that "Who can say?" must be a Leno catchphrase), (2) Jay Leno can say who's abducting you, (3) Jay Leno is abducting you, (4) a question addressed to Leno: "Who can say who's abducting you, Jay Leno?" As soon as I had processed these four readings, I woke up.
I know nothing about Jay Leno. I know what he looks like, and that he is or was a comedian on American TV, and that's about all I've got. After the two dreams, I looked him up to find out if "Who can say?" was a catchphrase of his (apparently not) and whether he had ever been the subject of a two minutes' hate. All I could find on Wikipedia was some hooha in 2010 over whether he or Conan O'Brien was going to host a particular talk show. Apparently the public overwhelmingly sided with O'Brien:
Artist Mike Mitchell designed a poster similar of the Obama "Hope" poster, showing O'Brien superimposed with an American flag in the background and the caption "I'm With Coco". The poster was widely circulated and displayed online and at various rallies. The color orange also became the choice of color for O'Brien fans, referencing his light orange hair.
Haha, orange hair had a different meaning back then! And is Conan O'Brien called Coco? I'd never heard of that before, but then I'm pretty much a rube when it comes to all things teevee.
In the evening, I went out to buy a few things. My wife had recommended that I get some kumquat tea, for my sore throat, from a particular shop I've never been to, so I was on a road I don't take very often. On the way to the tea shop, I passed another tea shop with a very interesting name and logo:
There's the name Coco, almost precisely the same shade of orange, and a white face with no features other than a pair of eyes and two ear-like projections. This face meant nothing when I saw it, but then on my way home I stopped at a red light behind a motorcyclist with this on her backpack:
A white face with eyes, ears, and no other features. Unlike the Coco mascot, this one is pretty clearly a white rabbit. Ever since Alice in Wonderland (would Alizio be the Italian masculine form of Alice?), white rabbits and rabbit holes have been a metonym for pursuing crazy ideas. The text reads, "I don't mind who u are" -- but the font makes the penultimate letter ambiguous, so it could also read, "I don't mind who u ate."
This ties in with my "Narrative Reasoning" dream, which referenced a scene in the Aeneid where Turnus says to what turns out to be a malevolent heavenly messenger, "I'll obey . . . no matter who you are who call me." That are could also be read as ate makes this look an awful lot like a warning. One is also reminded of "The Statue Got Me High": "And now it is your turn / Your turn to hear the stone / And then your turn to burn."
Who warned Arthur and his knights of a dangerous white rabbit? None other than Tim the Enchanter:
"Narrative Reasoning" also possibly ties in with the "Who's Abducting You?" dream. Though in modern use it primarily refers to kidnapping (particularly by aliens like Tim and Patrick), abduction literally means "leading away." It also refers to a particular type of reasoning -- a sense which featured prominently in a book I read a few months ago, The Methods of Contemporary Thought by Józef Maria Bocheński.
After coming home, I checked my email and found that I had a new message in my Proton account. I haven't read it yet, but the subject line is: "Entering the ultimate rabbit hole."