Today’s post comes from the thrilling (?) world of international football aka soccer [Ed. Are you sure this is right?] Although, to American eyes, soccer sometimes seems to lack critical elements of sport (excitement, skill, scoring, and so forth), it definitely has the most important thing: wacky mascots! In fact, soccer arguably has the wackiest mascots, as is very emphatically demonstrated by the new mascot of the Scottish football team Partick Thistle (er, that’s apparently the name of their soccer club, not the new spokesbeing). Apparently the old mascot, Jaggy MacBee, (pictured above) was not edgy enough for something as riot-inducing as Scottish football. Fortunately, the new mascot, pictured below in all of his (its?) stark raging horror is nothing but edges! Well, that isn’t entirely true, “Kingsley” the yellow thistle also has a mouth-breathing look of angry stupor and a unibrow to go with his (its?) sharpened head.
The internet has been abuzz with sarcastic quips about the ambulatory thistle and with wistful nostalgia for the unemployed bee (as indeed was almost certainly the intent of some sinister group of marketers behind the entire switch). Even despite the transparently manipulative nature of the upgrade, there really is something poignant about the substitution. Bees are fading from our pesticide-heavy world (as we will discuss in a real post tomorrow) while irritating characters specifically and solely designed to create an angry emotional response are proliferating.
Also, Kingsley is not unfunny. He has his own particular Alfred Jarry flavor, as was the intent of the responsible artist David Shrigley, who designs deliberately crude cartoons to mock the shirking anomie of contemporary mass culture (at least that’s how I am going to interpret them). How would you design a thistle mascot? It is not necessarily an easy challenge, although I know my submission would have been more purple and baroque—like everything I make. Stay tuned for the further adventures of Kingsley and Jaggy MacBee. I get the sense we haven’t heard the last of these guys—if for no other reason than the obtrusive attention-seeking of their makers.