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6 Degrees From The Clash to Clash of the Titans

The 6 Degrees of Seperation From England Calling to Zeus' Lightning Bolts

By Rob Worley & Bob Trate     March 31, 2010


6 Degrees From The Clash to Clash of the Titans
© Mania/Bob Trate

The Clash are the famed Brit Punk Rock pioneers founded by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Nicky "Topper" Headon. They dabbled in numerous musical genres before eventually disbanding in 1986 and reuniting at various points beyond that. They busted out hits like "London Calling", "Train in Vain", "Should I Stay or Should I Go" but their all-time chart-topper was 1982's Iranian censorship bop, Rock the Casbah.

Rock the Casbah recurs frequently in pop culture with references popping up in everything from the Sopranos to Crash Bandicoot. Leave it to TV's most dysfunctional (and never-aging) family to put a whole new inappropriate spin on the tune. The song played during the closing credits of the "Natural Born Kissers" episode of The Simpsons in 1998, where the phrase "Rock the Casbah" is used as a euphemism for sex.

Easily the most popular Simpsons character is Bart Simpson, who may have had his biggest year in 1990. According to Wikipedia, millions of T-shirts featuring El Barto were sold that year (some of them were even properly licensed). He was also named "Entertainer of the Year" by Entertainment Weekly and was a popular write-in candidate for numerous elections across the United States. 1990 was also the first year that the Bart balloon sailed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where it's appeared annually ever since.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons are amusing, sure, but they're also prone to going on unpredictable rampages. Balloon rage first struck in 1928 when a giant dog balloon escaped its handlers and roamed the sky ways over New York before deflating. Similar calamities struck balloon versions of Mighty Mouse in 1956, Donald Duck in 1962 and Sonic the Hedgehog in 1994. The greatest mishap was 1997, when a Cat in the Hat balloon put one onlooker in a coma that cost Macy's $395 million in a subsequent lawsuit. Not all cat parade balloons are evil though. The very first cartoon character balloon in the parade was Felix the Cat who started the tradition in 1923.

In the 1920s Felix the Cat was the most popular cartoon character in the world. The circumstances of his creation are hotly debated, with producer Pat Sullivan claiming credit. Others give credit to Otto Mesmer, who had no small part in the cartoon cat's early adventures. One thing is certain, the name is a play on the zoological nomenclature "Felis Catus" which is the scientific name coined for the domesticated house cat by the godfather of modern zoology, Carl Linnaeus in his groundbreaking text  Systema Naturae.

The Systema Naturae was first published in 1735 as an 11 page manual cataloging numerous species of creatures. The book became the foundation from which eventually grew the scientific community's current standard "International Code of Zoological Nomenclature". The first edition of the text includes mention of a giant cephalopod creature  (think squid or octopus) called "The Kraken" and that's the first recorded usage of that term. The giant tentacled creature was excluded from later editions of the scientific text but persisted in stories of myth and legend. While there was never specific mention of a Kraken in Greek Mythology, the creature became part of pop-culture zietgeist when Zeus unleashed it on humanity in the original version of the film Clash of the Titans. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 13
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wrrlykam 3/31/2010 1:03:12 AM

What no Kevin Bacon in this 6 degrees?

Boombatty 3/31/2010 6:28:54 AM

Dumb.

TheStormrider 3/31/2010 6:34:20 AM

meh

BobKM 3/31/2010 6:48:29 AM

No need to complain, wrrlykam.

Whenever Homer Simpson appears, Bacon must be nearby.

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 3/31/2010 7:01:02 AM

And Hurley will find it.

BobKM 3/31/2010 7:04:12 AM

Hmm.

  1. The Clash have appeared playing, well, their own song, "Rock the Casbah"
  2. "Rock the Casbah" appeared with Bart Simpson (in The Simpsons)
  3. Bart Simpson appeared, and so did Felix the Cat (in the Macy's Parade)
  4. Felix the Cat sort of appeared with the Kraken (in Systema Naturae)
  5. The Kraken appeared, period (in Clash of the Titans)

Only 5 degrees.  But I guess anything under 6 wins.

Kind of awkward, but I still like it.  Making strange connections like this actually appeals to me.

Rheul_home 3/31/2010 7:08:26 AM

Bacon? Where?

DarthDuck 3/31/2010 7:22:23 AM

mmmmm...bacon....

FerretJohn 3/31/2010 9:07:23 AM

Darth, you stole my line!  

Bob, 6 degrees:  1) The Band  2) The Simpsons  3) Macy's Parade (with Bart and Felix)  4) Felix' 'origins" in Systema Naturae  5) The Krakens origins in Systema Naturae  6) The Movie

BobKM 3/31/2010 10:38:13 AM

FerretJohn, at first I was going to argue the point with you, but I see what you're saying.   Felix connects to Systema, and then Systema connects to the Kraken.  I was looking at Systema as the place where they connected, like a movie connects Kevin Bacon to someone else.  So you can make the point for 6 degrees.

But I could have said "5 degrees at most," because I'm not sure you even need a degree to connect a band to its song or a creature to a movie it appears in.

You could go:

  1. Clash connects to Simpsons (via the song)
  2. Simpsons connects to Felix (via the parade)
  3. Felix connects to the movie with a Kraken, Clash of the Titans (via Systema Naturae)

But, as I said, I like it the connections made, even if I count them differently.

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