We all remember the first time we saw someone online comparing a singer to a magical creature. We first beheld it, inset into a comments section like a verbal gemstone:
This song made me commune with the woodland spirits who live in the forest outside my town.
This album taught me the language of the foxes. I now live in a forest clearing and sing to the birds.
This musician is clearly part of a coven which summons storms and childhood memories and makes me rethink my relationship with my mother.
And sure, these experiences are valid and true. For instance, Lorde has definitely bought at least three crystals in some hokey magic shop and crushed them into homemade glitter for her hand-painted sign of a Jenny Holzer truism. However, we must recognise that if the supply of these gemstone comments keeps rising, their value will plummet. They will grow clunkier with every tweet, until these precious stones will take the aspect of a chunky turquoise necklace which noted fae queen Stevie Nicks would, nay, probably has, worn on a red carpet. Hozier is a horny Irish river god! Sufjan Stevens made a statue grow leaves just by glancing at it! We get it!
For the sake of this piece, think of me as a sleep-deprived suburban mother speaking to you, my readership, whom I picture as my toddler child. We are in the toy store of pop culture, and you may not have this fun and cool toy made of gemstones (phoned-in tweets about forest sprite pop stars), no, you must instead content yourself with this less fun and cool toy with a less intuitive interface (my extremely serious article about which other types of performers we could compare to outlandish creatures). And so, without further ado:
You’ve always thought there was an odd, shimmering aura surrounding John Mulaney? You’ve seen Ali Wong flicker like static on a TV? One time Cameron Esposito smiled and NASA reported an increase in solar storms? That last one might just be the potency of lesbianism, but alternatively, I suggest this theory; all comedians are events of galactic significance, perhaps even multiverse convergences. Yes, Chris Fleming has traveled through several wormholes of his own making. And it’s true, Hannah Gadsby exists in seventeen different universes, and every single one of them is better for it. That aura surrounding John Mulaney? Interstellar medium, border-stuff of solar systems, because, you guessed it, this English major is also a jumble of sun and planets of his very own!
Poets are Bigfoot. Have you ever seen one in action? No! Next! (Also, they’re shaggy with potential meanings and most of them dwell in the woods of their own brain and possibly only eat berries. Check up on them some time. Bring them some bread.)
Instagram influencers? Consciences arisen from the depths of the ocean. No one knows whether they’re embodied sea-creatures, like Charybdis, or just the mind created when the waves of the deep decided one day that, hey, they wanted a watery hand in this ‘sapience’ thing as well. Perhaps they’re even cosmic entities who have merely taken to residing in the depths of the sea, like Cthulhu. As with Cthulhu, looking upon them might drive you to lose your mind. Who else do you think would have popularised the wet hair look? It’s just a convenience to them!
Professional magicians are, you guessed it, lizards. No, not wizards. Lizards. No further questions.
Fashion designers might be Wolpertingers (German cryptids that look like jackalopes on steroids, if steroids gave you wings). Elusive and incredibly fast, these creatures are known for, as legends whisper, “doing the absolute most”. Wings? Beaks? Bunny torsos? Vampire teeth? These freaks have it all, and they’re not giving it up any time soon! Behold their blending of styles! Observe their opulent and probably useless adornments! Witness their odd struts!
Pop singers who keep making successful comebacks are Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman in Batman Returns. They can survive anything. They will not give up the lycra catsuits. They have breathy voices. They are blonde. They are Britney Spears. I hope she lives forever. Moving on.
All wrestlers are hekatoncheires, mythical Ancient Greek giants with one hundred hands and fifty heads. Yes, this includes John Cena, and Rock “The John” Dwayneson, and, of course, breakout star of the Princess Bride, André the Giant. I hear you protest, my querulous child in this Toys’R’Us which is mysteriously still open for business and also sells gemstone-encrusted toys, “none of these fine gentlemen possess a hundred hands, or fifty heads!” And to that I say, that’s the power of make-up! And whoever said any of these men were bad actors? You try controlling your facial expression when you’re also hiding 98% of your arms and heads!
And lastly, Viners-turned-YouTubers are hydras. No gaffe can stop them, as they only come back more powerful and horrific than ever. Also, they seem to possess an unnatural number of teeth.
Thus ends this tale of magick moste mysterious, though, of course, it doesn’t have to. Just think, the next time you retweet a story about Florence Welch wearing a flowy gown or Lana del Rey casting another actual spell charged by her actual twitter followers, you could additionally, or even instead, tweet a story about John Cena shaking a toddler’s hand with the comment “Why didn’t he shake another 99 other toddler’s hands simultaneously! Cheap!” This will not only bring you equal levels of mystical gratification, but also leave your followers confused, perhaps a little enchanted, and possibly slightly annoyed. And isn’t that what we all want from our experience online? To encounter the liminal, to find a new and shiny toy, and, above all, to benignly mock celebrities.