An Explication of the Didactic Duality of the Demon Sheep

I have seen the Demon Sheep and it is us.


Crawling in muck.

Casting covetous eyes on the plenty of our fellow ovis aries, ready to pounce on less powerful.

Eating and regurgitating.

Before his fatal automobile accident, Albert Camus had begun outlining what would have been his greatest work, The Sheep.

It is rare for such a potent zeitgeist as the Demon Sheep to emerge from the usually banal realm of political discourse.

And yet it has. That could be another reason for the resonance of the Demon Sheep – it’s unexpected source.

But regardless of its origin it is undeniable that in its sll too brief 3:21 minutes it  encapsulates our time.

And like so much great art, it is scorned and ridiculed by the unseeing and unenlightened. Only a handful recognizes the majesty and reach of the Demon Sheep contemporaneously. But they will be vindicated by future generations looking back, stunned by the myopia of the throngs treated to such compelling genius without recognizing it for what it truly represents.

Is the Demon Sheep derivative?  Of course, “plagiarism is basic to all cultures,” as Pete Seeger’s musicologist father said. But through its borrowings, the Demon Sheep has become something much more.

Assuming there is an afterlife, Stanley Kubrick is smiling at the homage to The Shining and that Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman flick with the topless women and the Venetian masks.

Indeed, the rich irony and dark undercurrents of the Demon Sheep recalls the macabre 1926 morality tale, Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler upon which Eyes Wide Shut is based.

The eyes of the Demon Sheep can be traced directly back to Molasar, the imprisoned evil in 1983’s Michael Mann directed The Keep.

Structurally, the debt to Sophocles and Aeschylus is obvious.  The bucolic opening scenes juxtaposed against the moral pillars of society – piety, wholesome, honorable – a theme reinforced by the rising, hubris-fueled pedestal that, inevitably, just as it did to Oedipus and Orestes, leads to tragic fall.

A fall of biblical imagery. Clashing lightening, black clouds above Calvary. Down tumbles the stricken sheep. And how better to depict the evil of Mammon than godless machinery printing false riches.

Then the brief, elegiac Orwellian cutaway of the two pigs, reminding the viewer that some pigs are more equal than others.

To denounce the Demon Sheep is to denounce creativity and artistry in its richest, purest form.

But where the hell is Bo Peep?



Filed under: Venting


  1. Wow. I guess I am not deep enough to appreciate it. Glad I have smart and sardonic friends like you

    Comment by barbara o'connor — 2.10.2010 @ 5:24 pm

  2. I don\’t know which I enjoyed more, the Demon Sheep or this explication!

    Comment by Susie — 2.10.2010 @ 5:52 pm

  3. This harkens me back to the days of double shots of hemlock to cure questioning minds.

    Comment by Management Slug — 2.10.2010 @ 6:53 pm

  4. The explanation is so much better than the original!!

    BTW — (sheep campaign) what has happened to Reagan’s 11th Commandment –?

    Comment by Joyce Cordi — 2.11.2010 @ 12:14 pm

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