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Edge of the Land

About Mostly Inadvertent Offences

Previous Entry Edge of the Land Sep. 5th, 2009 @ 06:15 pm Next Entry
Twitter Sonnet #57

I'm recycling now broken snack boxes.
My wine bottle's left me a room of bread.
Watching from my closet are three foxes.
I need a little caffeine before bed.
French fry effects sometimes precede the meal.
I find vegetables almost everywhere.
With endless organisms some can't deal.
There are always Smurfs floating in the air.
The rabbits are getting bold around here.
Good bourbon is the final spice of life.
The big lizards seem to be in good cheer.
Christopher Lee would make quite a good wife.
Truth is in the apples worth killing for.
And Satan's best girl was an omnivore.


I was in the mood for an atmospheric horror movie with gratuitous nudity last night. I was thinking about Hostel, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and possibly Re-Animator, though that's not very atmospheric. I ended up going for The Wicker Man, which I hadn't watched in a couple years.

Since last night I'd been thinking that this dinghy that appears at the beginning of the movie



was a reference to this ship's hull from the beginning of the 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad;



I'd been thinking about what the connexion could possibly mean--the opening of Bagdad is meant to show the strange majesty of the Bagdad harbour, and establishes the film's mild running theme of voyeurism, connecting the ship's eye with the villain's eyes with a dissolve. Is it a meant to reflect just the villagers of Summerisle seeing more about Howie, Edward Woodward's police sergeant protagonist, than he knows, manipulating him without his knowledge as Jaffar's magic manipulated Ahmed and Abu? Maybe.

But then I read on The Wicker Man's imdb entry to-day that the "'evil eye' rowing boat, which takes Howie to and from his plane, was not constructed for the film. It belonged to a resident of Plockton. Upon seeing it, the producers decided it would suit the film."

So much for that theory. Maybe that resident was a big fan of The Thief of Bagdad.

I got to thinking about The Wicker Man as a reflection of the culture war between left wing and right wing, with the villagers being left wing and Howie being right wing. It's interesting to see that neither one comes off as wholly "correct". We come to think of Howie as unhealthily uptight and the villagers as having weak morals. Which I guess reflects the absolute worst ends of the spectrum. But the very end of the movie crystallises the story into something a little more fundamental than an ideological clash--it's about the value of roles people having chosen to adopt when it comes to life and death. The horror is in the realisation of the precariousness of both, and therefore any, belief systems.

I watched the freshly subbed ninth episode of Zan Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei to-day with breakfast. Very nice episode with two gratuitous Evangelion references. I can't believe we're already past the halfway point on this season.
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" - Ella Fitzgerald
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From:stsisyphus
Date:September 6th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
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I believe the eye is really just a traditional good luck charm, or more accurately a general superstition intended to ward off bad luck & the evil eye (in this case probably from competing fishermen).
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From:robyn_ma
Date:September 6th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
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Beat me by two minutes. Daaaaamn youuuuu!
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From:setsuled
Date:September 6th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
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I'd heard about that sort of thing but the colours seemed so similar to the Thief of Bagdad eye I thought they might be related. But I haven't seen many pictures of the things, maybe the bright blue and red is common.
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From:stsisyphus
Date:September 6th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
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Wow. I had never made the connection to the Enterprise.

But yes, dark blue and white and light blue are the common colors used in evil eye charms
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From:setsuled
Date:September 6th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
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Doing a couple image searches, it seems like yellow is the most common colour for the area of hull where the eye's placed (Eye of Horus/Osiris/Evil Eye). It also seems to be something more associated with eastern and south eastern Europe, the Mediterranean Sea for where it's used on ships, which would seem to make it slightly more plausible in The Thief of Bagdad. But it isn't just the presence of the eye that strikes me as a resemblance between the two films, it's the way the camera focuses on both eyes.
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From:bri_himself
Date:September 7th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
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Apotropaic charms are blue because, in non-white countries (especially Greece), blue eyes are strange enough to be considered especially Evil. (Also people with very asymmetrical eyes, or eyebrows that join in the centre. Oh, human race.)
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From:setsuled
Date:September 7th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
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Ah. So it really would be an odd thing to find in Scotland.

What gives with everyone chiming in with their own bits of evil eye trivia? Not that I mind, but it's weird what actually gets people to comment on my journal anymore. Were evil eyes big a few years back? My knowledge didn't extend further than knowing that they existed. I feel like I missed a class everyone else took.
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From:bri_himself
Date:September 7th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)
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What gives with everyone chiming in with their own bits of evil eye trivia?

LiveJournal is surprisingly full of folklorists!

Were evil eyes big a few years back? My knowledge didn't extend further than knowing that they existed. I feel like I missed a class everyone else took.

Like many sullen teenagers in the early 2000s, I had a tongue-in-cheek-but-still-woefully-embarrassing teen Wiccan phase. (Never quite got around to making a wax doll of anyone, though; I sort of want to, just for closure.) I've retained a sort of mild academic interest.

There's some good stuff in the e-text of Lady Wilde's Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland (1887) about the Evil Eye. Also, lots of interestingly creepy stories about elves and fairies.
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From:setsuled
Date:September 7th, 2009 10:32 am (UTC)
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There's some good stuff in the e-text of Lady Wilde's Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland (1887) about the Evil Eye. Also, lots of interestingly creepy stories about elves and fairies.

That sounds like something I'd enjoy, but I have a massive stack of books to read that goes back years. I do jump right into things that sound like they could be useful research for my comic, though the time to research faeries and elves has already past.
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From:robyn_ma
Date:September 6th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
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It's a tradition, I think, to paint eyes on boats to ward off curses. Usually it's the Eye of Horus.
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