Popeye vs Paul The Octopus

Popeye insulk by E.C. Segar
drawn by E. C. Segar

Graham Harman is one of my favorite living philosophers. I read his blog daily. So, it is with a very heavy heart that I must denounce this recent post: one of the most ridiculous polls ever conducted. I agree that the question polled, “Should a permanent shrine be erected in memory of Paul the Octopus?”, is ridiculous. It’s the off handed remark that mr. Harman makes after bringing attention to the poll that really chafes:

Should a “permanent shrine” be erected in honor of Popeye?

Why bring Popeye into it? Or, why not be more precise? Surely he doesn’t mean Popeye, star of Elzie Crisler Segar’s Thimble Theater, one of the finest American newspaper adventure comic-strips? Is it Popeye, the protagonist of the Fleisher Studio’s animated cartoons? Or, does he mean Popeye the character played by Robin William’s in Robert Altman’s film Popeye? It Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits, the chain of fast food restaurants? Perhaps he means Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle the fictional detective from The French Connection?

Maybe he objects (no pun intended) to “permanent shrine” and not Popeye? Should it be a temporary shrine? Or maybe not a shrine at all but a monument? An obelisk? A pyramid? Which is it? I for one would endorse a “permanent shrine” to Popeye… especially if it were designed by Richard McGuire:

Popeye and Olive by Richard McGuire
'Popeye and Olive' by Richard McGuire