Shadow Court

Episode Two Hundred Seventeen: Shadow Court.
In which we retread.

1 comment:

  1. This is a reworking of a comic I first drew back in the late 1990s, based on a dream I had some years before that. The first panel is copied from the original, but the following three are entirely new (although the text is unchanged).

    The third panel here is less impressive than I hoped, but I am particularly proud of the diligence it took to pull off: it is a portrait of Pearl that was rendered in halftone and then copied to match the various position and sizing of each patterened dot.

    The second panel is a shot from backstage at the Grand Old Opry, and although I like the stage board effect, I'm not sure it quite makes the impression I wanted - 'watching from the wings'.

    The final panel is a disappointment (inadvertently matching the caption). I can't even tell if it's clear that I've depicted a night scene in a crowded city, conveying a sense that my love for Pearl was lost among the bustling multitudes; urban and in darkness.

    Shadow Court a play on 'court.' I am courting my Jungian shadow, but I am also in a court of law having a judgement passed down from the shadow - definitive and cruel.

    The dream at the time kind of inexplicable, if I remember. I grew up watching Hee Haw, but it was in the periphery of my consciousness. Southern or Country culture was not part of my identity, and I wasn't particularly connected with the show, or this character. Later, as a young adult, I used to get high with a friend in the evening and watch the show, and become terribly confused about it all. I remember trying to parse out a Roy Clarke effeminate poet character (inspired, no doubt, by Ernie Kovacs' Percy Dovetonsils) - how the character fit in with the 'taget' audience (my friend equally mystified to think that I would imagine the target audience to be anything other than ourselves). Why Minnie Pearl would worm her way into my Unconscious, as a target of affection, remains a mystery to me.

    Of course, on the periphery, as she is, I realize that my awareness of her is tied to simple identifying elements, the tag on the hat being the most glaring example. As a child, I believe I took it to be an example of lovable stupidity, making the character vulnerable. Now, I'm less sure. But it certainly touches class and class awareness - as did the entire show, no doubt.

    Interesting, too, to find all these years later, more info on the comedian behind the character, Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon. To see that she was in fact part of Nashville high society, and a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. To watch clips of her performing - after years of my watching UK comedians, and listening to them talk about building their careers - and to realize how practiced and deliberate and polished her stand-up actually was. To understand that she really was a powerful person who made her way, and her mark, playing the character of a clown, and one of the most exceptional examples of that character of her time to boot. I have no idea how much of this I was aware of when I dreamt of her, or when I drew the cartoon. I suspect I felt it was just a weird and silly thing to have happened.

    The third panel halftone rendering, today, intentionally accentuates my awareness that the image that I covet, this person who is at once an image (a tag on a hat) while she is in fact a real person *rendered abstract* by the limitation of the image in my mind. That our experience of the world is a projection of our own preconceived abstract limitations of others. *That* awareness turns out to be what the dream was about: I am held at a distance from the outside world by the limits of my own perception. The original dream sentiment itself - this bereft feeling of loss - increasingly right on as I get older.



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