Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The icon of the World Cup Football games was not the ball, not a particular player or two, nor even a referee, or, the ubiquitous vuvuzela. It was the correctly forecasting Paul the Octopus, who lived out his days in a German Zoo.

The Octopus, correctly foretold, it would seem, not just quarter-finalist and semi-finalist winners, Paul the Octopus correctly indicated which team would win The World Cup.  I did not see any these feats of 'crystal ball gazing', metaphorically speaking, but there was sufficient interest in whatever method was used, for the world's media to take an interest in, and witness the 'fortune-telling' ceremony.

Paul the Octopus' death was announced today. I am sure the zoo staff will miss him and his crowd-drawing ability. Very few people seem to recall the World Cup Football matches, apart from the winners. Even they concur that the real icon of the 2010 tournament was an octopus named Paul.


Anonymous said...

i can't imagine any other octopus being quite so widely mourned as poor Paul, the true star of this summer.

taxidermy for posterity springs to mind but can one stuff an octopus?

ZACL said...

In the nicest possible way, I should think it is possible to stuff anything, even an octopus.

Do you think the zoo would want to preserve Paul? He wasn't, to my knowledge, an exceptional specimen as far as octopi go, though, of course, he was exceptional in his forecasting prowess.

I do think that before any wildlife centre produces anymore apparently magical life, we should nurture them ourselves. The question is, when would you know that a creature has such interesting properties? Perhaps time and place are paramount considerations.

TG said...

The media gave him a name, an identity, a psychic ability, but he was just an octopus in a fish tank, had no idea what's going on outside his reality bubble.

What if humankind is the Paul for some extraterrestrial higher form of life? What if they laugh at us, when they see how many silly and stupid things we have invented?

What if they laugh at us for believing that a cephalopod mollusc can foretell the winner of a game, where 22 men try to kick an ovoid object (that traps air inside a leather surface) into a metal frame consisting of two vertical posts and a horizontal crossbar with a net placed behind the ball, in order to (in case the ovoid leather object lands inside the frame) stop it from motion and to prove the fact, that it did land within the frame, which results in two types of reactions from the spectators: Half of them are overly joyous, half of them are saddened, angered and bitter. We laureate those, who are able to kick the ovoid item into the metal frame, we put them on a high pedestal, we give them attention and resource. We pay attention to every little detail in their life inside and outside the field, where the the ovoid object is being regularly kicked. We follow every decision they make in their private life, we muse about the appearance and odor enhancing substances their life partners of the opposite sex use on their body as well as debate the materials they use to cover their body and protect it from the elements from the atmosphere.

Oh yeah, humankind is the highest form of intelligence and Darwin was wrong.

ZACL said...

Thank you MKL for your fulsome comment. I agree with you about ovoid balls stuffed with hot air, kicked around by equally as unprepossessing individuals at the behest of a created audience. Perhaps, the activity is to an extent a safety valve for humankind's lesser abilities and crude emotions, channelled into more acceptable, contained areas of society. I am sure a social anthropologist would be able to label the whole activity pretty clearly, much as you have.

The rest of the prurient hype is quite a mark of how low interests can sink. That is not the same as IQ, it is some of a range.

As for poor Paul the Octopus, I never saw the ceremony of the selections. It may have added something to his day. The interest in the cephalopod was useful for educational purposes and the visitor numbers must have greatly boosted the funds of the wildlife park in Germany, where the octopus lived.

I enjoyed your comment.

keiko amano said...


Last wednesday, I ate some octopus. I hope it wasn't Paul.


ZACL said...

You ate octopus the other day Keiko....I too, hope it wasn't Paul!! The questions now, are, did your repast taste alright and, are you still feeling healthy?