Sunday, 19 July 2009

Our Lady of the Cloaca



We humans have a propensity for face-seeing, do we not? In the woody knots and grain of wardrobe doors, in tree stumps, cloud formations and tea leaves, in smoke and water we see them; ladies in poke bonnets, leering devils, old men in periwigs, monocled toffs. The swirly anaglypta wallpaper in my parents’ sitting room is, for me, alive with sheikhs and sprites and mice. Some circuit in the brain configures these curves and nodes into human and animal simulacra. It’s entertaining, as in the case of a hill in my hometown known as the Fat Man’s Arse – not a face in this instance, obviously - and for kids sometimes a bit scary, but that’s about all there is to say about the phenomenon. 

I’ve just seen this over at Heresy Corner. The Pachuca family of Texas have received a Sign. A bird cacked on the windscreen of their pick up truck, and in the skid-mark they discern the figure of the Virgin Mary. ‘We just all feel protected’ Mrs P. told the press.
 Marian vision in a blob of cack. (It's the one on the left.)
 
Well, that’s nice; better than feeling, um, shat on. But really, now bloody dim can you bloody get?  Even at my most spiritualistically credulous, it would never have occurred to me to believe that the cast of characters I see in my mother’s wallpaper were souls trying to communicate with me. If I had, I hope someone would have had me sectioned. If the figure I perceive as a robed sheikh were taken by someone else to resemble the Virgin Mary, though, living rooms across the land could become local shrines. It’s no dafter than seeing the old girl in a bird turd. Or a tree stump. Another blogger who commented on the image saw in it not Our Lady of Guadalupe, but a cunt. To each his own simulacrum. 


I seem to remember hearing somewhere that some people consider getting crapped on by a pigeon to be a good omen. Once in a busy street in Athens I thought some nutcase passer-by had given my left hand a damn good slap. I looked and found it splattered with what looked like a generous tablespoonful of tartare sauce, warm from some columbiform bum. Since my immediate concern was to get rid of it somehow, I didn’t inspect the poultice for signs and portents. How blind I was! This explains why my luck did not improve after being so singled out and why Our Lady had to shit on the Pachuca family instead.       

*****

The photo at the top, looking like Akhenaten among the palm trees listening to his iPod, is in fact part of Canada seen from space.

3 comments:

Bo said...

Re: akhenaten. That is EXACTLY what it looks like! How wonderfully phrased.

Fionnchú said...

The profiled "Old Man of the Mountain" on a New Hampshire cliffside crumbled recently; this icon had newly graced the state's entry in the U.S. Quarter series. Rather embarassing for the "Granite State" to lose its "face" before the nation.

Daniel Dennett writes in "Breaking the Spell" about our instinct to "see" such patterns, and links this to our primitive storytelling and religious-making impulses.

vilges suola said...

Thank you for commenting, gentlemen. Being long-sighted I often 'see things' when I am not wearing my specs, and if I have the time, I speculate on what they might be before I put my specs on to confirm. Once I woke and thought; 'there's a blue tennis ball on the rug. I do not have any tennis balls, so that can't be right. Try again.' It was actually the plastic top of the mineral water bottle I had at the side of the bed. Reality's such a spoil-sport.

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