[Ads-l] OT: Sheelanagige was Re: It was not permitted to pass.

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 30 04:36:08 EDT 2017

On Mon, May 29, 2017 at 2:48 PM, Amy West <medievalist at w-sts.com> wrote:

> I don't get it: the Starbucks logo is a mermaid (or as later identified a
> siren). A sheelanagig is a very different thing: a grotesque squatting
> female form with a toothed vulva.

I agree. It's hard to see the Starbucks logo as having been derived from
any of the versions of the sheelanagige.

Uh, I've been holding back some of the info contained in the article in Via
Domitia, a learned journal formerly published by the University of Toulouse
1954-1983, dealing with the history of the South of France. The design that
the logo is derived from, is, in fact, according to the journal, neither a
mermaid nor a siren, but a locker-room-level - from the contemporary point
of view - visual pun representing the female genitalia. Nowadays, nobody
has any idea why this design et sim. were used primarily as a decoration
for the finials of the pews in churches. And the "mermaid" was only one of
such now-obscene decorations used in churches. No one knows what there
might have been in the churches de-Catholicized during the Reformation. In
Amsterdam, not even the stained-glass windows of the formerly-Catholic
churches, the Old Cathedral and the  New Cathedral, remain.

IAC, the pre-sterilization version of the logo gave me a good laugh.
Indeed, even the Legion of Decency version is good for a chuckle, when you
know its origin.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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