October 15, 2017

"Real octopi are sea creatures, of course. But the Cartographic Land Octopus - CLO for short - need not worry about being in the right ecosphere."

"Being fictional, it is not restricted to the sea. It can (and need) do only one thing: instil map-readers with fear and revulsion.... The Cartographic Land Octopus was born two-thirds into the 19th century, when the intra-European tensions were slowly gearing up towards the First World War; it flourished until the end of the Second World War. But it still maintains its grip on the cartographic imagination today, as will be shown towards the end of this concise timeline of CLO cartoons...."

From "Cartography’s Favourite Map Monster: the Land Octopus," which has lots of great illustrations. My favorite is this — "Recognize the Danger":



(I ran into that article after encountering a misplaced octopus in a Maureen Dowd column, which I wrote about here.)

43 comments:

tcrosse said...

It's the evolutionary cousin of the dreaded one-eyed trouser snake.

rhhardin said...

The devil makes work for idle arms.

rhhardin said...

Ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch.

Octopus pleasuring himself.

Bob Ellison said...

The salt-water squirrel is more dangerous.

Oso Negro said...

I note that a young Austrian candidate against immigration is on the verge of electoral success this very day. Same old, same old.

fxB1zNk3hJ8r11DRSmyQh1dLGkIF said...

(Knock-knock) "(Mumble)land?....(Mumble)ia?....Candygram."

rehajm said...

I've never noticed the CLO. The dragon has been the creature associated with maps for me, as there are countless references to dragons printed on maps in uncharted territory. Interestingly the whole map dragon, HBD (here be dragons) theme is a bit of a giant myth itself.

Fernandinande said...

The fascist octopus has sung its swan song.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I always associated the land octopus with anti-Semitic propaganda.

Quaestor said...

Never mind the octopus, at least it looks healthy. What about those Scandinavian dachshunds? The Norwegian one looks seriously deflated like it was run over by a truck.

Quaestor said...

That graphic from the Batman! television series looks less like a CLO than one of these.

Bay Area Guy said...

" I'd like to be.. under the sea ... in an octopuses' garden .. with you"

William said...

The arms are easy to avoid. The ink that covers his actitivites is the real problem.

chuck said...

Isn't that octopus backwards?

Quaestor said...

BIG THINK has gone off the zoological track — or the mythological track — whatever — by this, "a Canadian newspaper, updated the earliest octopus maps to show Putin again as a Russian hydra". A hydra is not a mollusk. It's either a freshwater cnidarian or a mythical many-headed snake.

tcrosse said...

In Spain, you eat the octopus. In cartography the octopus eats you.

Quaestor said...

The BIG THINK article limits itself to the CLO, apparently extinct since 2009, but the non-cartographic Cephalopoda wiggle on. For example: The crude. The humorous. And the jaw-droppingly stupid.

Quaestor said...

In Russia, culture warps Yakov Smirnoff. In America, Yakov Smirnoff warps culture.

Whadda country!

MaxedOutMama said...

Were you aware when you published this that today Austria is voting out their government and substituting a conservative, anti-immigration coalition?

Kurz has won the chancellorship, although the results are as yet unofficial. Kurz's party is called the Austria People's Party (Oesterreichische Volkspartei).

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Isn't that octopus backwards?

Reverse octopus. Don't knock it till you try it.

MaxedOutMama said...

The other big winner in today's Austrian elections appears to be the FPO (Free Party of Austria). Strache is their leader. Strache campaigned, like Kurz, for sharp immigration restrictions, but also advocated the viewpoint that Austria should be (and really was) in a coalition with Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and The Czech Republic, the "Visegrad" states, in their focus on restricting immigration and a focus on national interests.

jimbino said...

The plural of octopus is octopodes, not octopi.

robother said...

Whatever you do, don't look the octopus in the eyes. There is something disarming about its wide-eyed innocent look in both of Ann's illustrations that make it easy to understand how a fisherman's wife or the European continent could fall for the octopus.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Kurz should be an example for the GOPe. He took the euroskeptic and tough on immigration rhetoric from the Freedom Party. He coopted their message and brought his party back from disaster to be the new Chancellor of Austria.

He also didn't shun the Freedom Party. So it is expected that 58-60% of the votes will be for center-right and hard right.

The far left has collapsed. The Greens are expected to lose so many votes they aren't expected to in Parliament. The center-left
Is expected to lose a few seats.

traditionalguy said...

It's also the essence of unfairness. You see 8 long arms for the evil octopuss and only 2 short arms for mere people on the map. Freud called that Arm Envy.

whswhs said...

The correct classical plural is "octopodes." It's not octop-us, octop-i but octo-pous, octo-podes, "eight-foot/feet". (Yes, it's an irregular plural in Greek too!) Or for a more assimilated form, "octopods." What do they teach in the schools these days?

Thank you, jimbino, for getting there first.

Static Ping said...

My favorite was a cartoon for the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The artist put some real work into it. Alas, it is less cartographic and more movie monster in vibe.

Behold! The Trust Octopus!

Earnest Prole said...

I linked this one in your Russian tentacles post a few days ago.

Josephbleau said...

None less than the Great Cthulhu had the head and torso of an octopus.

Quaestor said...

None less than the Great Cthulhu had the head and torso of an octopus.

The torso of an octopus? That's pushing the definition of torso a bit, is it not? (Who am I kidding? That's like tying an anvil to its neck and throwing it from a cliff.)

Lovecraft's description of Cthulu: "A monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind."

Lovecraft's sketch of the alien "god". If anything Cthulu's torso is humanoid.

Quaestor said...

Bob Ellison wrote: The salt-water squirrel is more dangerous.

Only if you're nuts.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

jimbino beat me to it, because "octopus" is Greek and should we choose to be pedantic, then "octopodes" it is. At least in fora such as this.

Bad Lieutenant said...

At least in fora such as this.

But are you sure that all the data are in?

jimbino said...

While we're at it, pedophile should be spelled paedophile and pronounced "pee-do-phile" so as not to confuse such a person with a lover (abuser) of feet, who would be a "ped-o-phile." The Brits tend to get it right.

whswhs said...

Bart: If we don't choose to be pedantic, then why even pretend to use a classical plural? There's a perfectly good English plural, "octopuses." Personally, I don't mind English plurals, and I love classical ones, but it gets up my nose when people try to use classical plurals and get them wrong.

Though "octopods" seems like a perfectly good highfalutin English plural.

Bad Lieutenant: You may laugh, but when I copy edit academic papers, nearly all journals require me to treat "data" as a plural. Except computer science journals. It's ironic, when you think about it, that computer scientists all treat "data" as a singular, when the natural operation of the computer is to break information up into discrete bits that can be counted. Information, mass noun; datum, data, count noun. What's so hard?

Or "datum, datums" if we want an English plural. Instead a lot of academics want to call a datum a "datapoint."

It all goes to show that the strongest forces in the evolution of languages are laziness, ignorance, and false analogy, and today's correct usage is the offspring of yesterday's error.

Fernandinande said...

whswhs said...
The correct classical plural is "octopodes."


If you're speaking English, the preferred and most correct plural is "octopuses", just like a commoner would say.

jimbino said...

@Fernandinande

If you're speaking English, the preferred and most correct plural is "octopuses"

Actually, if you're trying to speak English, you should avoid "most correct," "more perfect," and the like.

whswhs said...

Fernandinande: I think that's a reverse snobbery that's just as tedious as the usual forms. English includes a lot of classical plurals: genus/genera, opus/opera, medium/media, matrix/matrices, index/indices (when the word "index" is used in the mathematical sense; when you're talking about a section of a book it's index/indexes), ovum/ova . . . If you tried substituting genuses, opuses, mediums, matrixes, or ovums you would sound (to varying degrees) silly.

But, in any case, even if you personally choose to speak English with no classical vocabulary at all, the question of which of two putatively classical forms is correct is still meaningful.

The Godfather said...

Am I the only one who remembers "Octopussy", co-starring Maud Adams in the eponymous role? Not to be forgotten (safe for work but barely): http://www.anotherindian.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Maud-Adams.jpg

Quaestor said...

Am I the only one who remembers "Octopussy"

No, but many of us are trying to forget. Grazie molto, il padrino.

Dr Weevil said...

If you want to be pedantic - and who doesn't? - octopus is not Classical Latin or Greek (see http://logeion.uchicago.edu) though oktápous (ὀκτάπους) is Greek. That would naturally Latinize as octapus with an A, plural octapodes. I always tell curious Latin students that I prefer 'one octopus, two octopus', like 'one fish, two fish' and 'one deer, two deer', because it sounds better than any of the alternatives to me, though dictionaries tell me I'm wrong.

'Octopus' is one of those words that's probably best avoided in the plural. Another such word was in a cartoon I once saw that doesn't seem to be anywhere on the web: African outdoors scene, two scientists, two furry beasts running by, one of the scientists says to the other "Look, there goes a mongoose, and there goes another one!" 'Mongeese' is wrong, 'mongooses' sounds wrong, so just avoid the plural if you can.

Jeremy said...

They should have included the mission patch from the NROL-39 project - that's National Reconnaissance Organization. The patch is notable because it uses the octopus imagery to mean the exact same thing as all that other propaganda, but presents it as a good thing.
https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nrol-39.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

BJM said...

@robother

*chuckle*

I'm surprised that Althouse didn't consider this angle, especially given Kurt Eichenwald's recent self beclowning on Twitter.