Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Big Hands


 I once saw a blurred black and white photograph of an Amerindian tribal dance, I believe of the Northwest—the dancers, depicting spirits, were dressed in masks and wore big hands, hands that reduced the dancers to puppet size. The big hands represent the enormous reach required to contact the spirits—or was it the great power of those spirits? I can’t say. It’s possible the caption writer made it all up. Maybe for that dance someone came by and said, “Try it with big hands.” “Why? Last week you wanted us to wear false eyelashes.” “I don’t know. Just try.”  It should be obvious—I have big hands on my mind. They have a nightmare aspect. An apocalyptic element. Like the Oscar Mayer weiner mobile, say.
Keep away from this truck, they're up to no good, believe me.

(Why am I always disturbed and disgusted by the Bread and Puppet Theater and their solemn promenades?  Is it their frozen display of virtue? Those puppets definitely have big hands.) Then consider, if you will, the guys on corners holding up foam hands, orange or green, to encourage us, usually, to look at real estate—a whole new subdivision or small crop of townhouses.  Are these guys, perhaps, agents of a hearth goddess? If I went into street advertising and had a choice, I’d prefer waving big hands to that other attention-getter, the gigantic foam sombrero. Imagine, if you will, this scenario: you are a young pop singer in search of a media moment – why not use a foam hand to make lewd gestures in a micro-outfit while singing on an awards show? That’ll grab ‘em. Said pop singer would be on to something. Thanks to their presence in the media’s illusion apparatus, celebrities are granted big hands, but they usually don’t have a clue how to use them.

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