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A taxonomy of surreal taxonomists

Tom Van Vleck notes that the numerous writers who refer to Jorge Luis Borges' story "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins" and its paradoxical classification scheme have "the same heterogeneous character as the list itself." He's right but he fails to spell out the similarities in full detail, so I thought I'd fill in the gaps.

Animals are divided into: Citers of John Wilkins are divided into:
(a) those belonging to the Emperor,  (a) government employees,
(b) embalmed ones,  (b) tenured faculty,
(c) those that are trained,  (c) LIS graduates,
(d) sucklings,  (d) freshmen,
(e) mermaids,  (e) the transgendered,
(f) fabulous ones,  (f) Mac users,
(g) stray dogs,  (g) laid-off dotcommers,
(h) those included in this classification,  (h) programmers who write recursive code,
(i) those who tremble as if mad,  (i) those on their fourth espresso of the day,
(j) innumerable ones,  (j) webloggers,
(k) those drawn with a very fine camel-hair brush,  (k) those using XML with a valid DTD,
(l) etcetera,  (l) et cetera, and so on, und so weiter,
(m) those who have just broken the water jar,  (m) Microsoft users,
(n) those who appear from a distance like flies.  (n) geeks.
books 2002.08.01 link

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