Saturday, February 25, 2006

DAGON -- plus crabitat tips!

CLIFFIE’S NOTES ON AGENT UXIA: You girls need to stop thinking of Uxia, the mermaid from the movie Dagon, as a role model. This movie is new and compelling, the talk of every propaganda meeting, but let’s calm down a minute and look at what the filmmaker is really saying. The director, Stuart Gordon, makes a great point of staying true to Lovecraft’s intent in all his film adaptations, and this is no exception. Whoever this Gordon fella is, I like him. But this movie scares me. Probably not for the reasons Gordon intended, unless he is one of our operatives – which I doubt.

Now, at first glance, Uxia is sitting pretty: she’s bilingual, she has the favor of the Elder Gods as a priestess in the briny faith, she’s a goodlooking specimen by either human or calamari standards, AND she’s in complete charge of her territory, the village of Imboca, with only a single wretched human being left. But look how she misuses her gifts.

Her entire congregation is apparently male, which limits her powers severely, and she clearly isn’t taking the steps needed to remedy that situation. Is she going to do all the spawning herself? Way to expand the gene pool, hon.

The village itself is an apalling hellhole. It’s about the last place on dry land anyone would willingly visit, and how are they going to get new converts that way? Uxia and her villagers clearly aren’t even trying. I’ve heard any number of you reading the appearance of the village to mean that land society will rot away horribly as it deserves to. Come on, you have eyes: LOOK. The Fish People are living there, not humans! Would you live like that? Could you live in those wretched conditions and still consider yourself to be favored by the Elder Gods? The Great Scribe Lovecraft was always rhapsodizing over decrepitude and entropy, but here he gives us a hideous vision of entropy among the Fish People, which is almost a contradiction in terms. Lovecraft was one special guy in the horror department, but here he presents something so mind-bendingly weird that it turns even my stomach a little, and I had haggis for breakfast.

I knew something was wrong in Imboca right away when I saw all the converts in raincoats. Yes, raincoats. Notably, they put them on WHEN IT STARTED RAINING, not before, so it can’t be an attempt at disguise. What strange world is this where the landfish try to come in out of the rain?

Uxia herself is clearly the source of the spreading rot in this village, even if she appears to be the only healthy specimen living there in, I might add, the only presentable household. What kind of Fish Person is this, living not with her pod or school, but in isolation, and dramatically more posh than everyone else, like royalty? If everyone is looking to her for guidance, I think we have to take a gander at where she is guiding them, and sheesh, this place is a mess.

The only convert she brings in during the course of this movie – intact, I should say -- is yet another male, and her own brother at that. Hardly a smart choice as life-mates go. She makes another critical error in kidnapping, violating and alienating the all-important female tourists, rather than winning them over properly.

And what -- pray tell -- is the deal with the converts slicing the faces off their human captives and wearing them as ceremonial masks? Who let Leatherface in here?

Uxia is a dire example of how power can corrupt even one of our own if separated from the College of Benthic Wisdom. She makes the mistake of wanting to be a big fish in a small pond – or maybe I should say the only ‘Ladyfish’ on the spawning grounds -- with the usual result. Her life is a cautionary tale, not intended as a role model for anyone.
CLIFFIE’S NOTES ON AGENT ELINOR: Same thing again, girls. Over and over I hear you misinterpreting the actions of the amphibious revolutionary role model Elinor Caskey in the Sacred Writings of the Scribe McDowell. Now, I know the Blackwater books add up to a long and fairly complex saga, but if you read through you’ll see that everything Elinor does is to create a safe haven and power platform for her descendants. Up on dry land there is no stouter fortress than unlimited cash. But please note that rather than simply amassing a fortune and spreading her progeny on the earth, she ALSO does all she can to keep her daughters in the water. With mixed results, of course. You know how kids are.

CLIFFIE’S NOTES ON THE INNSMOUTH EFFECT: In his sacred writings "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and "Dagon," the Scribe Lovecraft wrote only what he was privy to as a male, and a largely human male at that. Come on, do you think the town fathers of Innsmouth just took the money from the King Of The Fish People and announced to all the unmarried women that they were going to have to marry the Benthics whether they liked it or not? Don’t you think if it had gone down that way, the denizens of the deep would have arrived onshore to encounter a cordon of armed women and a load of buckshot in the face rather than a wet welcome? Come on, think about it. The Elder Gods saw the situation and approached the women years before the town fathers knew anything was going on. Half of these women or more would have been willing converts already, easily identified by certain insignia WHICH WE ARE STILL KEEPING SECRET, LADIES. They advised the Rulers of the Deep about the effective methods of bringing the men into it, and they were quickly freed to act on many plans they’d been working on for years.

I happen to know that my own great-great-great grandmother had been waiting half her life to finally pair off with the Benthic she’d been in love with since she was a teenager. I wish I could have known her thoughts as she cringed before her own naked-ape father and husband, doing her best to convince them that she was only a naïve landlubber girl and apalled at the whole setup – making this sacrifice only to help the family finances. Ha!

Well, that’s enough brain strain for one newsletter. Now let me pass on the answer to a question I get asked everywhere I go: What is killing off the giant land crabs? Well, I don’t need to tell any of you how many of our plans for world domination hinge on the protection of our unique strain of 15-foot-long, sentient, telepathic land crabs.

The good news from the research center is that there is no special virus going around or anything special we’ll have to do to correct the situation.

The bad news is that a lot of you are just not up to scratch on basic giant-land-crab care, in essence killing off our finest secret weapon through laziness or misinformation. Think about it: by far the most serious losses have been in the Antarctic Zone cabal. Look around your giant-crab habitat and ask yourself whether you’re providing the proper heat, humidity, natural daylight, furniture and flooring, crab chow, and the proper ratio of saline and fresh water. If the crabs are immobile from the cold in their corral, TURN UP THE HEAT. WE HAVE THE MONEY.

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