Sunday, May 23, 2010

What the Sam Hill...?

The mascots for the London Olympics of 2012 have just been revealed, and for once in my life I was speechless:

Never fear, though, the comments following this article more than made up for my incoherence:
"Is Matt Groening on our Olympics committee? First the 2012 logo looks like Lisa Simpson giving head to Bart, and now we have Kodos & Kang as our mascots?"

"They look like something you would expect to find chasing Doctor Who."

"Its a fair bet that the contestants on Junior Apprentice will have to design something this series, and if they come up with anything half as bad as those silver dildos they'll get a kick up the arse from Sir Alan on their way out the boardroom"

"was the brief to design japanese manga penises?
100% successful then."

"I suggest jazzing them up with a variety of amusing sounding visible farts. The kids will love em."

"They look like what I imagine humans will look like in 10 years, once Apple buys the species and merges it with the iPod to make the iHuman."

The designers claim that they are appealing primarily to kiddies, and the kiddies like the mascots. But that's just another example of how the people in charge have no clue of what's important. It's nice that kids are entertained, but the Olympics isn't primarily about children. Kids don't participate, and they're not the audience. Adults are. So why this infantilization of what is a serious business for a few talented grownups? Sure, kids today will be the Olympians of tomorrow, but today's 7-year old practising scales on the trumpet will be tomorrow's symphony orchestra musician; we don't try to market season's tickets to the opera with cutesy appeals to children.

One comment, however, seems to get to the heart of the matter:
I think they are GOOD.

The fact that they are non-gender specific will prevent negative gender stereotypes forming.

The colours are OK but I would have preferred a burnished one which could have represented alternative skin colour which would assist in communicating the diversity of populace in the UK.

We have to take these things into consideration and not pander to the cynicism of uneducated mass.

I suspect that that's a pretty close reading of what was going on in the designers' minds when they hatched these abominations: Can't be identifiably male or female, because it's an article of faith that gender is both optional and infinitely malleable. If you come down on one side or the other, someone will be upset. Can't make it look like a human because you'd have to choose a color for it, and too many "alternative skin colours" would be clamouring for representation.

And most of all, it can't look like anything identifiably British because that would be to "pander to the cynicism of the uneducated mass". The ignorant booboisie has a stock of mental images that say "British", based on centuries of history and common culture: the lion, the bulldog, the Beefeater, Sherlock Holmes, London bobby, teapots, Big Ben. It is the job of the superior, deracinated cosmopolitan uber-class to stamp on those homely images and make a point of offensively replacing them with...this. Shapeless blobs that mean nothing.

3 Comments:

Blogger TLF+ said...

Shapeless blobs that mean nothing.

Hmmm, gives me hope that I can still be an Olympian.

1:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read that last comment over several times... still can't figure out if the guy was serious or not.

4:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scary mutant teletubbies? I thought mascots were supposed to be cuddly??

- Ellie M.

1:00 pm  

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