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Pompatus of Love

OK, so as you may possibly know Steve Miller, when he wrote the ear-assaulting, insipid 1973 song "The Joker," invented the neologism "Pompatus":

"Some people call me the space cowboy.
Yeah! Some call me the gangster of love.
Some people call me Maurice,
'Cause I speak of the pompatus of love."

There were other songs in which he coined strange terms, and apparently there is a tradition within the rhythm and blues genre of inventing new words to work into lyrics. Which brings me to the marvelously creepy bit: a 1954 song called "The Letter" by the Medallions had the lines:

'Oh my darling, let me whisper
sweet words of pizmotality
and discuss the puppetutes of love.'

The song was composed by Vernon Green as a description of his dream woman. "Pizmotality described words of such secrecy that they could only be spoken to the one you loved", Green explained. He coined the term puppetutes "to mean a secret paper-doll fantasy figure who would be my everything and bear my children". (emphasis mine)

So to recap, a "puppetute" is apparently some kind of ideal paper doll woman capable of carrying on relationships, and also bearing children. Now if that is not some kind of Arthur Machen-inspired messed up shit right there, I don't know what.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 10th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
Here's a happy thought... maybe it's actually Theophile Gautier-inspired, and the 'paper doll' is a succubus-like animating force that will suck the life out of and destroy the guy unable or unwilling to relate to real women and seeking this sort of substitute...
Jul. 10th, 2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I like! I've never read any Gautier I must confess. Maybe I need to.

As an aside, doesn't the name Theophile translate similarly to Amadeus?
Jul. 10th, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
OK, wow, just read some descriptions of Mademoiselle de Maupin, and I CANNOT believe I haven't read it yet! It's like the ultimate bisexual, gender fluid romantic romp... and written before the Civil War!

Edited at 2012-07-10 10:11 pm (UTC)
Jul. 10th, 2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
i had to email you ;-) but no childbearing paperdolls! eek
Jul. 10th, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
I know, right? Nightmare fuel!
Jul. 10th, 2012 09:59 pm (UTC)
Also, I lovelovelove your icon! That was such a lovely piece. Did you sell it?
Jul. 10th, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you so much! No, that one (SAD CLOWN DO NOT EAT) is back at the Aerie...
Jul. 10th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC)
I blame Theodore Geisel.

Oh, and I found that Foetus song you wanted. Or rather, the whole album.
Jul. 10th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, yay! I am sorry to put you on the spot like that.
Jul. 10th, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
Don't worry about it. In spite of having everything recorded by everyone ever, there's still stuff I don't have ;)

Plus it gave me an excuse to get the rest of the Foetus I didn't have.
Jul. 10th, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
Seuss & Foetus in the same comment -- that ought to win something.
Jul. 10th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
I'll take my winnings in milkyway midnights and cash.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )



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