The Secret and Cryptic Story of Joe the Herring is a tale of the everyherring Joe, a Mongolian shepherd. His quiet life is disturbed by a bird "unlike any Joe has ever seen". It taunts him in both latin and english, before refocusing on the sheep. Joe mutters something incomprehensible and leaves. The story comes to an abrupt mid-sentence ending when Joe awakes at night, and concludes with the words: "TEH CLIFFHANGER PAY $5 TO CONTINUE ".
Loss of innocenceEdit
The first and most obvious theme in the story is the disruption of man's paradise. Joe's idyllic life as a shepherd in the bountiful gobi desert is disrupted by the appearance of the bird, interpreted by Dire Wolf as the personification of Satan. Joe loses his childlike blind trust in the world over the bird's seemingly blind aggression, and is forced to be aware. This distorts his view of the world, leaving him easily startled and sleepless.
There is little in the way of communication in the story. The sheep, Joe's only associates in the story, remain absent as characters; there is not the slightest insight into their souls. The exchange with the mysterious bird suggests that perhaps, the only communication one can truly have is with our enemies.
The abrupt end of the story is a parable on the inevitability of the woes of modern capitalism. Art ends where the demand for payment begins; Joe's story is left to limbo but for the endearment of a capitalist. It has been suggested that this in itself is the true art project: a display of the unnoticability of art, even by the greatest artists, if left to a beggar's position; and a display of the greed of man, unwilling to support the arts over their own base desires.
Modern literary analysts claim that Joe must, given the setting of the story, have been a trout farmer rather than a shepherd. However, the author has denied any comment without upfront payment.