Friday, August 10, 2012

The Soft and the Scary: Olympic Mascots through Time

The nightmarish mascots of Summer 2012
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Slate.com

Link to article:
A Grand Unified Theory of Olympic Mascots

Along with the jagged, controversial 2012 logo and the dark historical pageant of the opening ceremony, London 2012 Olympic organizers have avoided the cute and cuddly mascots of the past in favor of a futuristic, creepy pair of molten metal cyclops known as Wenlock and Mandeville. Are they seriously trying to warp us and our children permanently?

Excerpt: " Sadly, Wenlock and Mandeville, the new London mascots, mark a regression to the terrifying mascot designs of yore. Those dark days when children’s dreams were haunted by creations like Schuss (the “skiing sperm” of Grenoble) and Schneemann (Innsbruck’s lumbering snowman, who sported two soulless, coal eyes).

According to their backstory, Wenlock and Mandeville are drops of molten steel. They flecked off a structural beam during the building of London’s Olympic Stadium. Perhaps you feel differently, but in my experience there is nothing soft or furry about molten metal. Which makes me wonder whether children will be eager to cuddle with this pair of congealed steel pellets.

As for smiley-ness: These creatures have no mouths! Sweet lord, what happened to their mouths?? Instead, in the area where their faces should be, Wenlock and Mandeville each present us with a cold, steel panel punctuated only by an assessing, Cyclopean eye. This annotated explanation of the design specifically refers to the eye as a “camera” that allows Wenlock and Mandeville to “record everything.” This is an unfortunate reminder of London’s surveillance fetish—its panopticonic creepiness. Remember, kids, Big Wenlock is watching you."

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