My sister asked if the events of “The Labyrinth” are meant to be Sarah dreaming, or are they real? Although my primary reaction was that she shouldn’t put that much thought into any children’s movie (or any instance of David Bowie in tight pants), I’d like to take this opportunity to put so much thought into this children’s movie, that it’ll blow your mind.
So why is David Bowie kidnapping a child from an underage Jennifer Connelley?
In a time long long ago a sorcerer named Jareth fell in love with a girl named Sarah. Sarah’s father and step-mother would not let her marry Jareth because they wanted her to keep her, as a servant, to care for their other child. In a fit of rage Jareth kidnapped this other child and spirited it away to the fairy world. In this new world Jareth built a palace for his Sarah. He turned the spoiled child into a goblin, and kept it to be a servant.
Many stories of the fairy world tell us that time moves differently there than in our world (Rip Van Winkle for one). In the time it took for Jareth to build his kingdom, which he may have thought was little more than a few years, Sarah grew old and died.
Overcome by grief and addled by a lifetime spent in a strange world filled with monsters, Jareth goes mad. He refuses to believe that he has lost his love. He searches the mortal world from his castle, looking for her.
Sarah is Hebrew name. So, it is common, and has been in use for thousands and thousands of years. It does not take long (for him) to find a dark haired girl named Sarah, who has a younger sibling, and who feels that she is treated unfairly by her step mother. In a fit of rage he kidnaps this other child and spirits it away to the fairy world. Perhaps this new Sarah dies in the quest to find the child, perhaps she wins her sibling back and flees.
Jareth searches the mortal world from his from his castle, looking for her. It does not take long to find a dark haired girl named Sarah…
This is how Jareth becomes the goblin king. Every goblin in the goblin city is a child Jareth has stolen, who was not recovered by a Sarah. (he told the current Sarah that Toby would become a goblin if she did not find him in time)
This is why he builds the maze. The magic bog, the junk yard of useless treasures, all tricks to slow Sarah down. Because if he can only have his Sarah for the time it takes for her to regain the stolen child, he will make it take as long as possible, keep her as long as possible.
This is why there exists in our world a book containing the story. Because it has happened before. So many times. At some point some lucky Sarah must have returned to our world to tell the story.
This is why when the most recent Sarah first meets Hoggle at the start of the labyrinth, and introduces herself; “I’m Sarah”, Hoggle responds “That’s what I figured.”
Because of course she’s Sarah.
They were all Sarah.
This proves that evolution is wrong.
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, North America, Australia, western Asia and most of the Pacific Ocean will be treated to a full lunar eclipse in which the moon takes on a reddish hue as it passes through the Earth’s shadow.
We borrowed this moon image from The moon hoax, or a discovery that the moon has a vast population of human beings, an 1859 book that compiled the original six articles published in The Sun in 1835. A century before H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds induced panic about a Martian invasion of New Jersey, these six articles helped grow The Sun’s readership dramatically and establish it as a major New York newspaper. Read more about the fascinating history of The Great Moon Hoax on our blog. Rather listen to a podcast? The memory palace has an episode that might be of interest.
You can talk all you want about violence, as long as you don’t mention social change… Similarly, you can talk all you want about social change, so long as you never mention violence. But you must never put them together.
…[It’s] why it’s okay for the military to teach so many people how to make and use explosives, and why it’s okay for the military to blow people up all over the world. That’s sending violence down the hierarchy. That’s why it’s okay for corporations to teach people how to make and use explosives to put in a mine and destroy a mountain. That’s sending violence down the hierarchy. But if you mention explosives and the possibility of using them to go not down but up the hierarchy, you must be punished.
Derrick Jensen | Endgame Vol II: Resistance
"Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims."
Birds 1 - Linocuts — Rachel Newling
Meryl Steep, in The Devil Wears Prada, makes the most chilling case for a social institution you’ve ever heard.
By Lisa Wade, PhD
One of the more difficult sociological concepts to explain is the social institution. When sociologists talk about institutions they don’t mean hospitals or churches or any of the concrete organizations that easily come to mind, they mean something much bigger and more difficult to pin down. They mean institutionalized ways of doing things or, as I’ve defined them elsewhere:
Persistent patterns of social interaction aimed at meeting the needs of a society that can’t easily be met by individuals alone.
Education, then, is an institution, as is medicine and transportation. In my textbook, I discuss the examples of sanitation and sport. One can’t play on a team all by oneself and it’d be pretty gross to take a personal potty with you everywhere you went. Instead, we have organized sport and the provision of toilet facilities. Eventually, institutionalized ways of solving social needs get taken-for-granted as the way we do things, often to the point that we forget that they were invented in the first place.
I was inspired to write about this by a post at Sociological Cinema by sociologist Tristan Bridges. He uses a clip from The Devil Wears Prada to illustrate just this phenomenon. Meryl Streep plays the editor of a fashion magazine. Fashion is an institution because we can no longer feasibly make our own clothes. Even the most industrious and clever among us, those who make their own clothes, will buy the fabric with which to do so. Almost no one in a Western country has the faintest idea of how to make fabric, let alone the resources.
In the clip, Streep’s character responds icily when a holier-than-thou fashion outsider scoffs at her as she goes about her work.
You think this has nothing to do with you.
You go to your closet and you select, I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back.
But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean.
And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that, in 2002 Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns and then I think it was Yves St. Laurent – wasn’t it? – who showed cerulean military jackets…
And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled down into some Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin.
However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical that you think you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room.
An institution has emerged to put clothes on our back. The scoffer who inspires Streep character’s rant would like to think that she is outside of the fashion industry, that it has nothing to do with her. Likewise, many of us would like to think that we’re outside of the institutions that we don’t like. But we’re not. That’s the rub. No matter how enlightened or inspired we are to fight social convention, we can’t get outside the institutions that organize our societies. We’re in them whether we know it or not.
God I miss studying sociology.