Saturday, November 18, 2023

Jay Leno, Coco, and the killer rabbit

My other potentially significant fever dreams (I don't actually have a fever, but "head-cold dreams" just doesn't have the same ring!):

I was in a room with a lot of people -- Europeans, I thought, some speaking English and others French. Someone mentioned the name Jay Leno, and everyone suddenly turned and stared at him aghast, as if he had committed some unthinkable breach of decorum in uttering that name.

I was confused by this, and I said, "What? What did Jay Leno do? Did he rape somebody? Did he say nigger?"

Now everyone turned and stared aghast at me, partly because I hadn't used the more genteel terms sexual assault and the n-word, but mostly because I had somehow missed the memo about Jay Leno being unpersoned. An elderly woman hissed at me, "Le n-mot, s'il vous plaît!" -- which I don't think is even proper French, but which struck me as funny because it punned simultaneously on the name Leno and the slang expression "nigga, please!" Under the circumstances, I didn't dare crack a smile. Everyone else was silent, but I could "hear" their thoughts: "He doesn't know! Everyone knows. Everyone knows!" I woke up.

Several hours later, Jay Leno reappeared in another mini-dream. It wasn't even a proper dream, just a static image: a paperback book with a pulp-style illustration of two or three distraught-looking people imprisoned in what looked like a glass diving bell. At the top of the cover it said, "Who Can Say Who's Abducting You?" At the bottom, it said, "Jay Leno." I thought in the dream that this was a quadruple-entendre: (1) a book by Jay Leno called Who Can Say Who's Abducting You? (I imagined in the dream that "Who can say?" must be a Leno catchphrase), (2) Jay Leno can say who's abducting you, (3) Jay Leno is abducting you, (4) a question addressed to Leno: "Who can say who's abducting you, Jay Leno?" As soon as I had processed these four readings, I woke up.

I know nothing about Jay Leno. I know what he looks like, and that he is or was a comedian on American TV, and that's about all I've got. After the two dreams, I looked him up to find out if "Who can say?" was a catchphrase of his (apparently not) and whether he had ever been the subject of a two minutes' hate. All I could find on Wikipedia was some hooha in 2010 over whether he or Conan O'Brien was going to host a particular talk show. Apparently the public overwhelmingly sided with O'Brien:

Artist Mike Mitchell designed a poster similar of the Obama "Hope" poster, showing O'Brien superimposed with an American flag in the background and the caption "I'm With Coco". The poster was widely circulated and displayed online and at various rallies. The color orange also became the choice of color for O'Brien fans, referencing his light orange hair.

Haha, orange hair had a different meaning back then! And is Conan O'Brien called Coco? I'd never heard of that before, but then I'm pretty much a rube when it comes to all things teevee.

In the evening, I went out to buy a few things. My wife had recommended that I get some kumquat tea, for my sore throat, from a particular shop I've never been to, so I was on a road I don't take very often. On the way to the tea shop, I passed another tea shop with a very interesting name and logo:

There's the name Coco, almost precisely the same shade of orange, and a white face with no features other than a pair of eyes and two ear-like projections. This face meant nothing when I saw it, but then on my way home I stopped at a red light behind a motorcyclist with this on her backpack:

A white face with eyes, ears, and no other features. Unlike the Coco mascot, this one is pretty clearly a white rabbit. Ever since Alice in Wonderland (would Alizio be the Italian masculine form of Alice?), white rabbits and rabbit holes have been a metonym for pursuing crazy ideas. The text reads, "I don't mind who u are" -- but the font makes the penultimate letter ambiguous, so it could also read, "I don't mind who u ate."

This ties in with my "Narrative Reasoning" dream, which referenced a scene in the Aeneid where Turnus says to what turns out to be a malevolent heavenly messenger, "I'll obey . . . no matter who you are who call me." That are could also be read as ate makes this look an awful lot like a warning. One is also reminded of "The Statue Got Me High": "And now it is your turn / Your turn to hear the stone / And then your turn to burn."

Who warned Arthur and his knights of a dangerous white rabbit? None other than Tim the Enchanter:

"Narrative Reasoning" also possibly ties in with the "Who's Abducting You?" dream. Though in modern use it primarily refers to kidnapping (particularly by aliens like Tim and Patrick), abduction literally means "leading away." It also refers to a particular type of reasoning -- a sense which featured prominently in a book I read a few months ago, The Methods of Contemporary Thought by Józef Maria Bocheński.

After coming home, I checked my email and found that I had a new message in my Proton account. I haven't read it yet, but the subject line is: "Entering the ultimate rabbit hole."


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I just watched that Holy Grail clip. The Holy Hand Grenade is a golden orb and cross, and the reading from the Book of Armaments includes a reference to “breakfast cereals.”

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Leno did “write” a book (with a ghost), called Leading with My Chin — cf. the etymology of abducting.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

To lead with one’s chin is to behave without caution, making oneself vulnerable — like Turnus, or the knights who took on the rabbit.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Two years ago, I compared an orb and cross to a bomb:

Henri said...

The most recent Leno controversy I could find:!

March 24, 2021 11:34am

"...Throughout his career, Leno has told jokes that perpetuate stereotypes about Asian communities consuming cat and dog meat, jokes which have been criticized for over a decade by activist group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA)...

...The most recent incident occurred in 2019 when Leno served as a guest judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent and made a racist joke regarding Koreans eating dog meat...."

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Koreans do eat dog meat, though. I’ve lived in Korea. I guess Leno was racist the same way Dr. Seuss was racist for showing a Chinese man eating with chopsticks.

Racist jokes are meta. The real joke is the concept of racism itself.

WanderingGondola said...

Leno happened to have been a witness for the defence in Michael Jackson's 2005 court trial.

The humour of the rabbit and Grenade scene tends to cast its purpose into the background -- written inside the cave is the location of the Holy Grail, which God had told Arthur to find. (I watched the movie today as a refresher. In an early scene, the knights attempt to trick some rude French soldiers with a Trojan rabbit. Later, after leaving the cave and crossing the Bridge of Death, Arthur and another knight take a boat to reach the Grail's location, the Castle Aaargh, somehow occupied by those same Frenchmen.)

William Wright (WW) said...

Jay Leno severely burned his face about a year ago while working on his cars (he is famous for his collection of high end cars, didn't you know?).

Given the connection between cars and stones (well, at least in my dreams, anyway), and the fact that you have a phrase in this very same post from A Statue Got Me High indicating someone's turn to hear the stone and then get to burn, this seems like it could be relevant.

In fact, in that Statue Got Me High phrase you can almost hear an echo of Abinadi who once told Noah and his priests that they would at some point get their own chance to burn.

Anyway, the Coco connection was interesting, also. There is a Disney movie named Coco, about a trip to the Land of the Dead to restore identities, reclaim stolen songs, and reunite and redeem a family comprising both the living and the Dead. Some things there, perhaps.

WanderingGondola said...

Pixar's work used to captivate me, especially as a formerly-aspiring artist/animator/storyteller; Coco was beautifully done, the third-last I've seen of their movies. The last, Toy Story 4, felt unnecessary, and I've had little inclination to see anything newer. A kind of decline is noticeable since that time, with big names retiring or moving to other studios.

Going by Wiki, one of those studios, Skydance Animation, has only released one major and two short films so far. The first short, Blush, struck me for its little man, gardening on a small planet, and the rosy alien.

William Wright (WW) said...

"Jay" (potentially also from Latin) is a reference to a 'jaybird'. Jaybirds can be thought of as blue, or having blue on them (i.e., bluejay), and the term itself is slang for one who talks incessantly, gossips, etc.

Also interestingly, in African American folklore, the Blue Jay was called the "Devil's Messenger".

Seems to match up well with Tim-Saruman.

Even the "who can SAY" phrase points to both talking and voice (a Saruman feature), but also opens up a thought as to why the people in your dream reacted to the Jay Leno name the way they did. To 'say' is also to 'inform', as in an informant.

We are dealing with secret combinations here, and so an informant would prove problematic. Why could Jay say who had been abducting others? Because he knows all the names, and would have no problem selling them all down the river if it thought it would help his case, perhaps.

Any why would he turn informant? Might map to my dream of the fish (Saruman) being caught. Jaybird is also J-Bird, or a jailbird. Someone who has been caught and is going to prison.

One possible story or interpretation, at least.

William Wright (WW) said...


Given your interest in 'Michael' based on some of your other comments here on WJT's blog, you may have also noticed that the main character in Coco is a boy named Michael (Miguel, actually, the Spanish version of Michael).

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Leno is apparently known for dressing in blue denim, so yes, a “blue Jay.”

There may also be a link to Jay-Z, a.k.a. Jackie Rob-‘b’-sin.

Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh as one

I was listening to an audio recording of the Book of Mormon, and when it got to the part where Nephi says they "did live upon raw meat ...