Oh My Guardian #3

“A theatre director and therapist, she had been volunteering in Calais since August 2015, initially distributing donations and then running workshops.” — Borderline: the play finding the funny side of the Calais migrant camp, The Guardian, 21/vi/2017.


Previously pre-posted…

Oh My Guardian #1
Oh My Guardian #2
Reds under the Thread

Performativizing Papyrocentricity #54

Papyrocentric Performativity Presents:

Protean ProseThe Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby, Charles Kingsley (1863)

SchmetterlingsschmuckButterfly, Thomas Marent (Dorling Kindersley 2013)

Criblia – ბიბლია / Biblia (Georgian Bible) (2013)

Micro MacroSuper Bugs: The Biggest, Fastest, Deadliest Creepy Crawlies on the Planet, John Woodward with Dr George McGavin (Dorling Kindersley 2016)

Chute: The LotThe Fallen: Life In and Out of Britain’s Most Insane Group, Dave Simpson (Canongate paperback 2009)

Twice Has Thrice the VicePisces, Peter Sotos, with an introduction by Dr Miriam B. Stimbers (TransVisceral Books 2017)


• Or Read a Review at Random: RaRaR

Hair Today

“We had a roadie guarding his dressing room, to stop him [Graham Bonnet] getting out, because he was threatening to have his hair cut. It was very petty, but it had become an obsession with me. But he got out of the back window and went and got his hair cut. I didn’t see him until we went on stage, and, sure enough, he’d had his hair cut really short. He was doing it just to annoy me.” — Ritchie Blackmore: “[…] Music is very serious”, The Guardian, 25/v/2017.

Pedal to the Medal

“Once, in a contest with a rival, he painted a blue curve on a huge sheet of paper. Then he dipped the feet of a chicken in red paint and persuaded the bird to walk all over the paper. The resulting image, he said, represented the Tatsuta river with red maple leaves floating in it. The judge gave him the prize.” — The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (c. 1760-1849) described in Thomas W. Hodgkinson’s and Hubert van den Bergh’s How to Sound Cultured (2015).

He Say, He Sigh, He Sow #44

H. Rider Haggard describes fractals:

Out of the vast main aisle there opened here and there smaller caves, exactly, Sir Henry said, as chapels open out of great cathedrals. Some were large, but one or two — and this is a wonderful instance of how nature carries out her handiwork by the same unvarying laws, utterly irrespective of size — were tiny. One little nook, for instance, was no larger than an unusually big doll’s house, and yet it might have been a model for the whole place, for the water dropped, tiny icicles hung, and spar columns were forming in just the same way. — King Solomon’s Mines, 1885, ch. XVI, “The Place of Death”.

Gold ’Lusk

Flat periwinkle, Littorina obtusa (Linnaeus, 1758)*


*Possibly.


Previously pre-posted:

Walking Winkle

Phrallic Frolics

It’s a classic of low literature:

There was a young man of Devizes
Whose balls were of different sizes:
     The one was so small
     ’Twas no use at all;
But t’other won several prizes.

But what if he had been a young man with balls of different colours? This is a core question I want to interrogate issues around in terms of the narrative trajectory of this blog-post. Siriusly. But it’s not the keyliest core question. More corely keyly still, I want to ask what a fractal phallus might look like. Or a phrallus, for short. The narrative trajectory initializes with this fractal, which is known as a pentaflake (so-named from its resemblance to a snowflake):

Pentaflake — a pentagon-based fractal


It’s created by repeatedly replacing pentagons with six smaller pentagons, like this:

Pentaflake stage 0


Pentaflake stage 1


Pentaflake stage 2


Pentaflake stage 3


Pentaflake stage 3


Pentaflake stage 4


Pentaflake (animated)


Pentaflake (static)


This is another version of the pentaflake, missing the central pentagon of the six used in the standard pentaflake:

No-Center Pentaflake stage 0


No-Center Pentaflake stage 1


Stage 2


Stage 3


Stage 4


No-Center Pentaflake (animated)


No-Center Pentaflake (static #1)


No-Center Pentaflake (static #2)


The phrallus, or fractal phallus, begins with an incomplete version of the first stage of the pentaflake (note balls of different colours):

Phrallus stage 1


Phrallus stage 1 (monochrome)


Phrallus stage 2


Phrallus stage 3


Stage 4


Stage 5


Stage 6


Stage 7


Stage 8


And there you have it: a fractal phallus, or phrallus. Here is an animated version:

Phrallus (animated)


Phrallus (static)


But the narrative trajectory is not over. The center of the phrallus can be rotated to yield mutant phralloi. Stage #1 of the mutants looks like this:

Phrallus (mutation #1)


Phrallus (mutation #2)


Phrallus (mutation #3)


Phrallus (mutation #4)


Phrallus (mutation #5)


Mutant phralloi (rotating)


Here are some animations of the mutant phralloi:

Phrallus (mutation #3) (animated)


Phrallus (mutation #5) (animated)


This mutation doesn’t position the pentagons in the usual way:

Phrallus (another upright version) (animated)


The static mutant phralloi look like this:

Phrallus (mutation #2)


Phrallus (mutation #3)


Phrallus (upright #2)


And if the mutant phralloi are combined in a single image, they rotate like this:

Mutant phralloi (rotating)


Coloured mutant rotating phralloi #1


Coloured mutant rotating phralloi #2


Square Routes Revisited

Take a square, divide it into four smaller squares, and discard the smaller square on the top right. Do the same to each of the subsquares, dividing it into four sub-subsquares, then discarding the one on the top right. And repeat with the sub-subsquares. And the sub-sub-squares. And the sub-sub-sub-squares. And so on. The result is a fractal like this:

sq2x2_123_1

Stage 1


sq2x2_123_2

Stage 2


sq2x2_123_3

Stage 3


sq2x2_123_4

Stage 4


sq2x2_123

Animated fractal


sq2x2_123_static

Final fractal (static)


It looks as though this procedure isn’t very fertile. But you can enrich it by rotating each of the subsquares in a different way, so that the discarded sub-subsquare is different. Here’s an example:

Stage 1


Stage 2


Stage 3


Stage 4


Stage 5


Stage 6


Stage 7


Animated fractal


Final fractal (static)


Here are more examples of how rotating the subsquares in different ways produces different fractals:

Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Animated fractal

Static fractal


Previously pre-posted:

Square Routes — first look at this kind of fractal

Zo with the Flo

I had high hopes when I engaged issues recently around a Zoe Williams article in the Guardian interrogating issues around notions of rape in popular culture. And Zoe — what a thinker! — nearly fulfilled those hopes. I nearly had another scintillating sample for my award-winning “Oh My Guardian” series. This is nearly a perfect opening for a sentence of echt Guardianese:

In terms of narrative tropes…

But it should of course have been:

In terms of core narrative tropes…

So near — and yet so far. Still, “In terms of narrative tropes” is pretty darn good, worthy of the Great Gary himself. And it prompted me to interrogate issues around one of the core linguistic enigmas of our day. Here are two graphs from Google nGrams:

In terms of (UK English)

In terms of (US English)


What on earth is going on? Why have ITO usage metrics continued to rise in British English while peaking and falling in American English? This hasn’t happened with other core items of progressive English, like “issues around”:

Issues around (UK English)

Issues around (US English)


And “notions of authenticity”:

Notions of authenticity (UK English)

Notions of authenticity (US English)


And “engagement with” (in its progressive sense):

Engagement with (UK English)

Engagement with (US English)


If those keyly core items of Progressivese are “spiking” so healthily on both sides of the Atlantic, why is the even keylier corer “in terms of” not doing so? At least, I would say ITO is keylier corer, but does the ITO fall in America suggest that it isn’t?

Maybe not. One possibility is that “in terms of” has been depreciated in an influential (and anti-progressive) American manual of style that hasn’t been influential in the UK. However, American speakers have failed to see that the same grounds for rejection apply to “issues around” and so on.

But it’s hard to see why American progressive would take any notice of sensible advice about rejecting ITO. It’s also hard to see why the American drop in “in terms of” shouldn’t have influenced the UK even if this hypothetical style-manual (or arbiter) isn’t influential in the UK.

Something mysterious is going on and more research is plainly needed.


Previously pre-posted:

Septics vs Dirties
Get Your Tox Off
Guardianistas — all posts referencizing this core progressive demographic and their glossocentric performativity