Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Political Voodoo Dolls

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened to sue a company that manufactures a voodoo doll bearing his likeness. The doll includes "instructions for use" and pins that can be stuck into the doll in places representing various Sarkozy quotes. The French President contends that he owns his likeness and as a result the company cannot legally make use of it.

Voodoo dolls actually have little to do with real voodoo practices. The idea that you can fashion a doll into the likeness of a person in order to create a magical link to them is found in a number of different traditions, but as far as I know the movie idea of sticking pins into the doll was concocted because it looked menacing on screen. Sticking a pin through a magical link to a person doesn't do anything to the person, it just damages the link. You have to cast an actual spell in order to affect a target through the use of a doll or poppet, though I suppose the pins could be specially charged so that they unleash a curse on the target when they make contact with the doll.

Legal questions aside, political voodoo dolls are a great idea - so long as they actually work. If nothing else, it would keep politicians more honest to have an army of magicians out there ready to poke them at a moment's notice. Of course, this thing probably doesn't fit the bill because I'm guessing that it's made from cheap plastic and polyester, neither of which hold enough of a magical charge to create a link, and that the pins are just ordinary pins. Nonetheless, at least the thought is present.

Somebody should try this here in the States. Or maybe they have, and I just have never heard about it. There couldn't be a legal challenge over here because in the United States public figures don't have any sort of veto power over the use of their likenesses.

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2 comments:

chaos-magick said...

Wow, great idea! Why do you think that the material used is so important?

Ananael Qaa said...

In my experience plastics don't hold a magical charge very effectively so they don't make good magical links. I'm not really sure why that is, since plastic is a hydrocarbon just like the majority of living molecules so you might expect it to behave similarly.

Awhile back Rob wrote a longer article about his experiences working magick with different materials, and my experiences for the most part line up with his.