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Liberté – Egalité – Mustelidité

So, about Phrygian caps. Phrygia was an ancient kingdom in what is modern Turkey. It was conquered repeatedly by its neighbors, the ancients tell us, “for wearing those dumbass hats.” In Greek art, the Phrygian cap was used to indicate the wearer was some kind of foreigner, and Roman poets referred to Trojans as Phrygians. I claim extra credit for not making a cheap Trojan/hat joke.

Anyhoo, the Phrygian cap was like a red nightcap with the point pulled forward. The next time it turns up in history, it’s being worn by freemen of Rome — former slaves whose freedom was so thorough, it would be passed to their children. And that’s where the hat became associated with freedom and liberty.

Like this lady, the tart with the titties (hoo boy! Googleanch, here I come!). The spirit of France is called Marianne, and she’s usually drawn wearing a Phrygian cap (or Bonnet Phrygien, eef you pleez). Here she is, flashin’ ’em for the troops.

Woohoo, Marianne! And Ginger, too!

Phrygian caps were an essential symbol of the American Revolution, usually waved about on a stick, called a Liberty Pole. The Sons of Liberty in New York, before the Revolution, were professional Liberty Pole putter-uppers. They’d put ’em up, the Brits would tear ’em down. It was zany, madcap revolutionary fun. With occasional violence!

Hence, several early American coins pictured Liberty wearing the cap or waving it about on a stick. Unfortunately, our available pool of Revolutionary-era artists was not so hot, and the caps look hilariously like panties. Panties! On her head! Waved about on a stick! Allegorical Girls Gone Wild!

The cap still appears in the official seals of the US Army and the US Senate (which also features a bonus pair of crossed fasces). Plus the state flags of New York, New Jersey and West Virginia.

The panty craze swept Southward, with Phrygian caps appearing on the coins of Mexico and the flags or coats of arms of Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Colombia, Haiti, Argentina and Paraguay. ¡Caramba!

And then there’s the Smurfs. Really, I have no smurfing idea what that’s all about.


Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: March 28, 2007, 11:57 am

Fascinating. Live smurfy or die! Speaking of Smurfs – there’s a movie trilogy in the works apparently.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 28, 2007, 12:25 pm

I always hated the Smurfs. Gargamel. What a hump. His woods were infested with tiny magical blue people, and the only thing he could think of to do with them was eat them? Eating things that talk: not cool.

Boiling them down into an ointment, though. That might be pretty cool.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: March 28, 2007, 12:42 pm

I liked the Smurfs okay. They got to be a little too smurfy though near the end though. I’d forgotten about the whole “smurf-soup” thing – I think it was supposed to give Gargamel extra magical powers or sumpthin.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 28, 2007, 1:07 pm

I wanted to start slapping Brainy Smurf and never, ever stop. He was the only one whose smurf name was sarcastic, you’ll notice. I suppose Smartass Smurf wouldn’t fly.

Considering I was in my twenties when the Smurfs came out, I probably shouldn’t have invested so much of myself in it. I didn’t even have the excuse of recreational drugs.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: March 28, 2007, 2:04 pm

Ha! Brainy Smurf usually got his come-uppance. Jokey Smurf irritated me – he only had one gag and everyone kept falling for it.

Anyway, something must be in the blog-water ’cause Lileks is coin-blogging too.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 28, 2007, 2:14 pm

Wow. Spooky.

I went back and read Lileks from the very beginning once. And then…I dunno…I got Lileksed out somehow. It was like day after Hallowe’en and your stomach hurts. He’s a great writer, I just got too big a dose and had to lay off for a while.

I guess blog entries aren’t like novels; in huge quantity, they don’t sit well.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: March 28, 2007, 3:19 pm

Yeah they ran around wearing “no pants” too sans culottes. Zany French. Their “tree of liberty” was usually made of metal too and not particularly attractive. Especially when it represented the terror.

Pingback from More Coinblogging « The Center of the Anomaly
Time: March 28, 2007, 4:03 pm

[…] March 28, 2007 Posted by Enas Yorl in Home. trackback I can’t let Mr. Weasel and Lileks have all the funtoday.  […]

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: March 28, 2007, 5:38 pm

Mr. Taylor, I believe we were discussing smurfs here. Now, Smurfette – hot or not?
One of the things that bugged me about the Smurfs was that they kept changing sizes. In the show’s intro you found out that your standard issue smurf was “three apples tall”. A regular sized apple is about three inches, so a total of nine inches. Clearly at times during the show they were all maybe only one apple tall, and they would vary between these sizes all the time. It was annoying. Hm. I really shouldn’t remember things like this.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: March 28, 2007, 5:43 pm

French chicks. Gotta love ’em.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 28, 2007, 7:01 pm

You’re ignoring the 800 pound gorilla, Enas. Smurfette. One little blue chick. Ninety nine little blue dudes. One baby smurf.

It just doesn’t add up.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: March 28, 2007, 7:54 pm

Other than the dress and the blonde hair, was smurfette a girl? I mean… she looked and sounded pretty much like the others. One girl in all those? Or one transvestite with a blonde wig? Maybe there’s just a rotating duty, each month a different smurf has to put on the dress and wig?

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