Puppet Mouth: “The blog lives on like Wesley in Princess Bride”

Puppet Mouth is one my favorite blogs ever. In fact, I love it so much I’m tempted to create an award to give it. “CALEB LOVES THIS” shall be the name of the award, and I hereby award this to Puppet Mouth!!!

The goal of puppet mouth is both simple and profound -- let the liars of the world, who refuse to tell the truth, speak with their faces. Below is an exclusive interview with Puppet Mouth creator Matt Evans.

Q: Did you coin the phrase "puppet mouth"?
A: No and no (and yes). Let me explain. Google "puppet mouth" and you'll see that the primary meaning refers to a derogatory way of characterizing an older man or woman's lower face that, yes, with age, takes on the aspect of a ventriloquist's puppet's mouth. Which is valid as a characterization, I suppose. But what I'm going for, in my use of the phrase, is a facial expression (as opposed to a 'facial feature') that seems to embody a range of emotions running from abashment to frustration to exasperation to exhaustion. Also, it seems to include some ineffable something else in addition to the range of emotions just listed, something like a battle between various levels of self-consciousness or awareness. I hope that makes sense. Another way of looking --

I'm going to interrupt myself to finish the "no (and yes)" part of my two-and-one-parenthetical-part answer to your question. No, I did not in fact coin the phrase "puppet mouth" as I use it; my wife did. Brooklyn did. She doesn't remember having coined the phrase, however (which, of course, doesn't matter; I don't recall the circumstances of my conception or emergence at birth but I'm still here), but I'm a stickler for credit. The "(and yes)" part refers to my part in remembering Brooklyn's coined term and applying pictures and descriptions to various attempts to lexically fix the term, each attempt a blog post.

I could go on to redefine what I just wrote. For some reason I'm never happy with my responses. I'd be a lot happier, though, if you'd just stop me or maybe just --

Q: Stop.
A: ...

Q: Tell us the concept behind the blog.
A: When I visited the "Bodies" exhibit at some lower-tier casino in Vegas back in 2008, I saw for the first time that the human body is simply a marionette puppet that controls its own strings. Expanding the metaphor: the body's muscles and tendons are the strings and the brain is the hand. The body doesn't just move on its own; the brain (a vat, essentially, of electrified fats) sends impulses to the muscles and tendons, and these move the body. This fact may be totally obvious to everyone but me; regardless, though, it's at that exhibit where I made the connection. And that view of myself and others has never quite left me. I keep looking at people, peering into their eyes and saying, "Who are you really? Because you aren't who you or I think you appear to be." That's essentially the ethos of Puppet Mouth. The "puppet mouth" facial expression as I've conceived of it seems like yet one more aspect of the "auto-controlled" marionette thing. Feel free to cut any of this.

Q: No.
A: ...

Q: Puppet mouth is all about public shame and hypocrisy. Does shame matter in 2011? Does hypocrisy matter?
A: If the internet has taught us anything at all, it's that public (and private) figures today can expect to have their secret misdeeds (metaphorically) shouted from the housetops. E.g., Wikileaks. The stepping down of various public figures from office for reasons that have everything to do with shame or exposed hypocrisy. Picking at total random, the Scott Adams thing where he was exposed as having created his own cyberspace "puppet" defenders for murky reasons that I suspect have to do with the shame or discomfort he felt at having been exposed as a sexist cretin. How's that for subject interpretation of an empirical phenomenon?

Q: How do you pick the photos you feature?
A: Random happenstance, and reader email.

Q: The puppet mouth concept seems like an idea whose time has come. What is the future of the blog?
A: Thank you. The blog lives on in the same way that Wesley in Princess Bride lived on in captivity to the Dread Pirate Roberts: "Good night, Wesley! I'll most likely kill you in the morning." Like all or any of us, "www.puppetmouth.blogspot.com" escapes death by the skin of its teeth until that one day when it won't. Escape, that is. Then it will go black.

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