Putin talks about Cthulu

In the course of a recent press conference/webcast, Russian president Vladimir Putin talked about Lovecraftian octopus Cthulu.



Here’s the story from the St. Petersburg Times:

Putin took a few minutes to answer several of the most-popular questions sent in by Russian Internet users … The two journalists who hosted the 130-minute webcast had largely ignored the top-rated questions submitted online from around the world, focusing instead on foreign and domestic policy issues….

Asked about the possible awakening of the giant mythical octopus Cthulhu, the fourth-most popular question among the more than 150,000 sent to Putin, he said that he believed something more serious was behind the question. Cthulhu was invented by novelist H.P. Lovecraft and was said to be sleeping beneath the Pacific Ocean.

Putin said he viewed mysterious forces with suspicion and advised those who took them seriously to read the Bible, Koran or other religious books.

Note that it was the fourth most popular question submitted. I mean hey, you have a chance to ask Putin a question, what are you going to ask about but Cthulu?

Oh, and if you want to check whether you’re pronouncing “Cthulu” properly — now that the term is becoming newsy and all — Wikipedia can tell you. “Lovecraft suggested that Cthulhu is pronounced “Khlul’-hloo” (IPA: [ˈʀlʊlχlu]),” it notes. “Other possible pronunciations include /kəˈθuːluː/, /kəˈθʊːluː/, or /kəˈtʰʊːluː/.” That’s right, someone broke out the Greek character set just to nail down the pronunciation! But then, what else could we expect from Wikipedia, a site with a seven-part entry on Cthulu himself as well as an entry on “the Cthulu mythos” and separate entries on two of Lovecraft’s Cthulu-related short stories.

No, I’m not going to link to those entries. One Cthulu-related link is enough. In fact, I’m well aware that people who make Cthulu jokes are embarrassing. People like that are pretty much the reason this blog exists. But come on … Putin talked about Cthulu! If there were ever a special case, this is it.

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To Masque or Not to Masque: Comic-Con says Yea!

masqueradeComic-Con’s Saturday night Masquerade Ball/Costume Contest is a staggering affair. Some 4,000 people attend, and another couple thousand who can’t fit into the main ballroom hang out in two secondary ballrooms watching a simulcast of the judging. If you want to take pictures, you have to apply for a pass to the “photo stage” outside the ballroom. I think that’s like the area backstage at the Oscars where the celebs speak to the clamoring press.

Pretty spiffy, yeah? Well, it hasn’t kept the web site’s description of the event from taking a rather … defensive tone:

Costumes are a vital ingredient of nearly all of the popular arts. [bold type in original] Movies, plays, comic books, fantasy art, musical performances, and even toy collectibles owe at least part their popularity to the skill in which the human form is attired. Costumes take us to characters, places, and experiences in ways words and setting cannot do on their own. Whether it’s a knight in shining armor, a colorful super-hero, a regal elf, a villain from a galaxy far away, an exotic enchantress, a robot warrior, an Egyptian goddess, or a completely original design, costumes always inspire, awe, and entertain us.

A few things:

-That first sentence has a nice imposing ring. I especially like the phrase “the popular arts.” You know, I’ve been writing about pop culture for years, and I have never, ever heard that phrase. I guess it took a comic geek to come up with something so fancible.

-“Even toy collectibles” owe their popularity to cosplay? “Even”? I don’t think the connection surprises anyone but the author.

-How did “a regal elf” make it into the mix? I smell under-the-table pro-elf lobbying. Still, as special interests go, the elves don’t have half the influence of the Exotic Enchantress PAC.

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