Thursday, January 11, 2018

Who'd Be A Demon?

There are degrees of diabolism that Mallorca has to endure in January, but its main categories can be defined as: the dancing demon, generally speaking an amiable sort of demon (all things being relative in demonic terms), or the fire-wielding demon, an altogether less friendly character.

Regardless of category, being a demon - let's be honest - involves dressing up. There isn't a great deal more required, though there is some skill in being able to perform the appropriate dance or in prowling around in a menacing fashion while taking care not to set fire to oneself.

These somewhat simplistic characterisations do, however, underestimate the status of the demon in local village society. He (grand demons are not shes) is required to turn out on fiesta occasions and can be found in photos with all manner of village residents and town hall dignitaries. The demon has his place and it is often at the end of a mobile phone lens (selfie or otherwise). He may also be part of what is akin to a local demonic dynasty: like father, like son, spreading fear of the dark side.

You wouldn't, nevertheless, have thought that being a demon could be particularly problematic. But you would be wrong. For instance, dynastic demonography has collided with the smartphone in rather unfortunate circumstance in Arta. The Dimoni of the village, the foremost demon of Arta, had been the duty of one Xisco Sansó for a whole generation - twenty-five years. When it came to the time to hand over the "canya fel·la", the phallic cane, or whatever the Arta Dimoni possesses, the wise people of the Sant Antoni Obreria (in charge of such matters) decided that Xisco's son should succeed him.

Xesquet, Xisco Junior, the Obreria determined, knew the dances and he also had the right physical characteristics demanded of the Dimoni. It was this decision that has resulted in the problem that has since surfaced. There wasn't any concern about demonic nepotism. No, it wasn't anything like that; it was the physical characteristics. They became rather too obvious. An image of a naked Xesquet went onto Instagram.

There are a couple of explanations as to what happened. One is that the mirror selfie of he who would be the demon was posted by mistake. The other is that someone got hold of the photo by "illicit means" and put it up. Whatever the explanation, the photo was removed, but not before the good people of Arta and any others had become familiar with the new demon's physical characteristics in rather more intimate detail than he might have wished, albeit he had taken a mirror selfie of himself, kit off and in his prime. For what reason? Who can say.

While they should have been concentrating on matters of a Three Kings nature, the Arta citizenry was apparently otherwise examining and discussing the demonic meat and two veg. And naturally enough, the Obreria got to hear all about it, and had they not be in possession of smartphones or been on social networks, they would have become aware of the image of their unclad Dimoni having found its way into the media mainstream. Oh dear.

So what happens now? The family, it is being suggested, will be denouncing the matter to the Guardia, sure that the image was posted by someone else. This, however, isn't what really matters to the Obreria. They plan on talking it all over with the family, and could it be that another Dimoni needs to be selected? If so, then time is running short.

It could, one supposes, have been a lot worse. It might have been the mayor or a government minister who had emerged on social networks in a state of undress. But then, neither of these would have been affected by quite the same symbolism as the demon, which brings us back to the phallic cane. Social media has had a field day in this regard.

There is a normally understated or indeed unstated eroticism associated with demons. The problem can be, as Xisco Junior is discovering to his cost, when it is stated. He is, however, following in the footsteps of another demon - no less than Manacor's Dimoni Gros.

It wasn't that the Manacor grand demon had been a forerunner for Arta's demon in displaying his physical characteristics. It was instead a Russian model by the name of Aline. Three years ago, the local Manacor magazine, Perlas y Cuevas, celebrated Sant Antoni by showing topless Aline with the grand demon in what was described as a series of "erotic" poses. Feminists were outraged, gathered their pots and pans and staged "cacerolada" protests outside the office and home of the editor. The Manacor Sant Antoni Obreria wanted nothing to do with the images.

The moral of the story is that if you are a demon, stick to the dressing up and not the undressing.

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