We are often asked, “Why Apropopolis? What does it mean?” And, “How do you spell it?”
We formally published from a surreptitiously occupied study carrel hidden deep within the basement level stacks of a Liberal Arts College Library of Some Renown. We know they are of Some Renown because it is on all of their literature.
Those of you born before Amazon Prime might recall with a misty eye and an allergic sneeze that thrill of discovery, wandering through stacks of hardcover books, many of their authors long dead and forgotten. Let’s face it, many of them were never remembered in the first place (I’m looking at you, Gladys Hipwiddle). Thousands of volumes patiently, silently waiting for future generations who were actually waiting for a Smartphone Named Desire.
This arrangement suited us just fine. More legroom in coach. We enjoyed our solitude among the lonely leaves. Like all good things, it couldn’t last. It began with a malevolent draft whistling down the stairwells. The vending machines, always a Wonkaville of sugary treats, dwindled to a few bottles of Dasani and two or three bags of something that resembled the bastard offspring of a Cheeto and a stryofoam packing peanut. Brawny men in grey work shirts rumbled by with the odd desk or study carrel, disappearing into the gloom. Failing, flickering lights were not replaced. Entire stacks of books were suddenly relocated. Calls from the engine room to the bridge were routed to a customer service center in Hyderabad.
Word was, in fact, finally passed down to the hold that indeed there were plans to raze the entire building to make way for some sort of cozy atrium, with massage chairs and coffee bars, charging stations and safe spaces. Safe spaces with charging stations. Parking spaces with pay stations. The editorial staff of Apropopolis did not question the necessity of such a facility. A Modern Campus of Some Renown must keep pace with the rapidly changing demands of the 21st Century, no matter how insipid, banal, or shortsighted.
And the books? We have been informed that they were relocated to a book depository. As any student of 20th Century American history will surely tell you, nothing good ever came from a book depository. This had all the earmarks of a purge. We have seen this thing before. Have you so soon forgotten about the mass disappearances of Travel Agents, Telephone Sex Operators, and Encyclopedia Salesman? No doubt rounded up in the dark of night, they were among us one day — then — poof (we use poof as a metaphor. We are not suggesting any of these people made that sound when they disappeared, but if any readers have evidence to the contrary, please contact us.) There were no calls for a Congressional investigation. The Hague was criminally silent. Books cannot speak for themselves. Who will speak for the books?
Sorry. What was the question? Oh — right. Apropopolis.
As it so happens, the business of coining a word as difficult to pronounce as it is to write is real dogsbody work. For now, we shall leave you with a quote from the 17th c. French poet Jean de Santeul (or was it Mahatma Ghandi?):
“Castigat ridendo mores“