The Karagöz puppets boycott “Inside Out”

Joy from “Inside Out”

Pixar’s new film, “Inside Out” is all the rage these days.

“Inside Out,” while ostensibly a story about a little girl experiencing the trials and travails of a move across country, is really a story about how the personifications of sadness, joy, anger (and so on) work in her brain.

In other words, it is a story of puppet-like creatures living in someone’s brain, and that, it turns out, is too close for comfort for my Karagöz puppets.

You can read some reviews of “Inside Out” here and here.  So, little tiny puppet-like characters living inside a female head? Sound familiar?  I thought so.

Well, as you might imagine, 0f course, the Karagöz puppets picked up on the presence of this BLASPHEMOUS (to them) movie lickety-split – and you know what?

Disgust, from “Inside Out”

They don’t like it, not one bit.

“Heaven forbid,” Kenne (the Queen of Manners and Maintenance of Ladylike Behavior) said, “oh yes heaven forbid that WE the Karagöz puppets are TRUMPED by a bunch of colored animations.”

“Why,” I asked Kenne gently, “do you worry about being trumped?  After all – this movie’s inner brain characters are raw, simple emotions as opposed to developed characters such as yourself!”

“Harumpphhh!” is all we hear from Kenne in response.

Hacivad Bey, the learned Sufi elder jumps in now.  “I must agree with Kenne, WE are the ORIGINAL embodiment of emotions – and we do it through a cultural lens, at that!  We are COMPLEX and we provide a LENS for understanding and MANAGING M’lady’s cross-cultural world.”

“And,” Karagöz said, in a rare somber mood, “we have been inhabiting people’s brains for centuries in order to do so!”

(Did Karagöz and Hacivad Bey just agree? Shiver me timbers!)

In a rare attempt to sit with ALL of the puppets at once, I call a family meeting. “Now look, puppets, I think there is one important difference here.  The embodiments of joy, sadness, anger and the like drive the little girl’s responses and actions – what is different about you is that you do that AND you explain complicated cultural phenomena along the way.  You shouldn’t feel threatened!”

After my passionate speech, I ask for a show of hands to see who will attend the movie with me, and it is a sorry state of affairs.  Esma, the hippie puppet, is the sole holdout on the topic of whether or not to see “Inside Out,” or rather, whether to hitch a ride in M’lady’s purse when SHE goes to see the film.  Esma purses her lips and sighs, reminding the puppets that they are not the only puppet ethnicity out there – and that they should be open and accepting of all forms of embodied emotions et alia in people’s heads.  Ever the peacemaker, that Esma!  They don’t know what they are missing out on!

Sadness, from “Inside Out”

Posted in A Karagöz puppet battle, Introducing the Karagöz puppets | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Karagöz knits a sock on the head of the Turkish military

Can you knit a sock on your head?

These days, Karagöz sits with me as a make my way through the English-language Turkish press.  I like to keep up to speed on Turkish goings-on as much as I can so that I can deepen my knowledge of the country as I slowly wend my way towards that citizenship examination.

The other day, Karagöz came across an article before I did – an article to which he had QUITE a response.  All I heard were whoops and hollers and the word “çorap” which means “sock.”

I soon saw that he was reading about one proposed plan for the Turkish military to go into northern Syria to create a buffer zone from ISIL in response to all that has been going down on that border.  The article struck me as a typically nationalistic and short-sighted approach to local conflict that has a familiar ring to it.  What that all had to do with socks, however, I wasn’t sure, but you know how Karagöz is, he doesn’t often make sense right away.

Stuck, I had to go to M. for advice on Karagöz’ commentary about Syria and socks.  As it turns out, when someone causes a complex problem for themselves or others, Turks use the idiom “başına çorap örmek.

It literally translates as “to knit a sock for one’s head.”

Here is an example: “Bekle gör, senin başına ne çoraplar öreceğim!” or, in English “Wait and see, what troubles I will get you into!”  This is usually used to talk about the future in a situation in which trouble will be coming to someone or something.

Well, now I understand.  The Turkish military would indeed be knitting a sock on their collective head if they went into Syria in such a manner – that’s just begging for trouble, isn’t it?

Yet another twist in the road towards understanding Turkish!


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Enjoying a cuppa at the Çinaraltı cafe on Bozcaada


The remains of a mastic-laced Turkish coffee – any bets on what my fortune was? (Image by Liz Cameron)

Nothing is more evocative of Turkey for me than the sound of tiny spoons clinking into glasses at a Çay bahçesi (i.e. tea garden or cafe).

The puppets sigh with hiraeth at this thought.  They do pine for home now that they are home from their sabbatical!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c31/25541592/files/2015/01/img_0424.jpgNothing feels more like coming home then finding a spot under the Çinar ağaç (chinar tree) in the central square of the village on Bozcaada.

Actually, it is more like a trapezoid, but whatever.  This is my favorite café in the world, there is no doubt in my mind about this.

While most people sip their tulip shaped glasses full of Çaykur brand tea, I favor two of the other drinks on the menu.


Island tea a.k.a. Ada çayı on Bozcaada (Image by Liz Cameron)

First, there is island tea – Ada çayı – which is an herbal tea that tastes somewhat like sage but has a lemony flowery essence.

I drink it with two sugars and a squeeze of lemon in a large glass fındık.

Second, there is mastic-laced Turkish coffee, served with a tiny mastic almond cookie.

Late at night, the café’s proprietor serves this with a cigarette and a shot of alcohol.


A bride chills out before (or after?) her nuptuals at the Çınaraltı cafe on Bozcaada (Image by Liz Cameron)

Open year-round, this café serves up locally – baked goods such as eggplant börek – my favorite.


Mastic-flavored Turkish coffee at the Çınaraltı cafe on Bozcaada/Tenedos (Image by Liz Cameron)

Enjoy a cuppa with the folks at Çınaraltı cafe any time of year!

Posted in Turkish destinations, Turkish Food!, Visits from the Karagöz puppets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments