Wednesday 24 August 2022

The Sooty Show and the metaphysics of Being

I recently posted a link to an episode of Pipkins in which the anti-hero Hartley Hare uses a Mr Punch-like glove-puppet called Mike in order to 'be naughty' with impunity - hoping, thereby, to 'get away with' the consequences of his actions by blaming them on the puppet. 

WmJas Tychonievich has since exposed the deep, indeed metaphysical, implications of this drama; when it is considered that a glove puppet called Michael, controlled by a glove puppet called Hartley, is controlled by an actor called Nigel, who is controlled by a director called Michael (after whom the Punch puppet has been named!) - so that one Michael is actually responsible for the other - and in conclusion Hartley is innocent (as he always claimed)! 

Even deeper metaphysical waters are explored by an episode of The Sooty Show. 

This explores what it is that makes an entity alive and 'real'; and does this by means of subtext beneath subtext. There is the primary narrative, and beneath that the awareness of a fictive distinction (the story itself having been written by the puppeteer and participating-actor 'Matthew') between glove puppets accepted as 'real' versus battery-powered automata regarded as 'toys'...

And beneath that already-dizzying multi-layering; lurks a (mostly subliminal and implicit) awareness of the unsatisfactory and inadequate nature of the empirical distinctions that are supposed (in the narrative) to differentiate 'real' from 'toy' (i.e. in the song "This little friend is real" which concludes this episode). 

In the end, the viewer is driven to an almost-opposite conclusion than the explicit 'moral of the story'; which conclusion is that 'everything is alive' (and there are no toys) - because, in regarding existence in every aspect, there is always a being somewhere - always at least one consciousness that lies behind all knowledge, purpose, and even the most mechanical-seeming entity and action. 


ben said...

And I thought this stuff wasn't useful...

Yes, Mary Poppins is surely real. How could she not be?

Joseph A. said...

This demands a link to your post about Calvin and Hobbes ( -- a memorable complement to your observation here.

And Ben, what a delightful movie. Julie Andrews is beautiful, and the whole story is so charming. It pains me to consider the transformation of Disney. I know, I know, there was always some American sickness in Disney's retelling of tales -- altering endings and perverting the deeper moral points of the folk tales. Still, how we have fallen even from 1960s Americana.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Matthew: "He thinks the dog is real because it's barking? Then he's barking, too -- barking mad!"

Also Matthew: "Listen to him purr as you stroke his soft fur. Yes, this little kitten is real."

And the most disturbing line: "He didn't want to eat sausages because he thought the cute little pig was real!" Imagine thinking that!