On the 4th day of Christmas: Meet Celebi, the modernist


Celebi in his favorite shades of chartreuse and sunshine yellow - ever the modern lover

Yesterday, we met Khadijah, and today, we meet the puppet man to whom she is betrothed – Celebi (the c sounds like a j, so it is “jeh-leh-bee”). Celebi is a modern man. He likes modern clothes, modern thoughts – and modern love. He used to be known for being a womanizer – but his heart has settled on Khadijah – a non-traditional choice about which he receives a significant amount of flack from family, friends and community members alike. He doesn’t care a whit. Now, that’s in my own puppet world, the puppet world in my head.

According to my main source Ermin Senyer, the traditional Celebi “is presented in a sympathetic light. He is not caricatured and ridiculed as are so many of the other characters. Usually he is a dandified young man whose love for a courtesan or a girl of good family motivates the action, and provides the plays with plots. We notice he has the ability to charm the opposite sex. Firstly, a zampara, a gallant and a elegant dandy, he is also young, rich and a spend-thrift, who assumes a careful and rather self-conscious elegance of dress and, in the type of stock-role he plays, runs after women, being a well-versed but flighty youth. He speaks with an educated Istanbul accent, pouring out his Arabic and other learned phrases. He is dressed in European style. He wears a pince-nez, he carries a cane and sports patent leather shoes. He wears a clerical style frock-coat, which in cut, hue and the shape of the collar, resembles precisely the -stambouline- , so named from its origin in Istanbul.”

And here is Celebi in his second favorite outfit, the stripey one

Celebi is the puppet who leads my eye to the modern design of the Bauhaus movement, the Eames chairs, and the simple, elegant lines of the Gropius House, in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Celebi likes Mahler symphonies (he kind of drives me nuts with that – I can’t take it) and reads Foucault as if it is going out of style. He is constantly “deconstructing” his surroundings, his thoughts, his neighbor’s thoughts – it goes on and on. He gets rather perserverative at times. He is the puppet who eggs me on when I am in hyper-analytical-academic mode, having a discussion with my ivory tower townies or writing a paper. He pushes me to be smarter, to read more and to write more.

He also, however, pushes me to remember the important things in life – that none of the thinking, reading or writing is good unless you have found true love. He is always reminding me to spend MORE time with M. and to be a better partner. He thinks, M. is also a modern man, and while some might call him a kılıbık when he does “women’s work” (such as laundry or cleaning or some such), Celebi is cheering him on the loudest of all the puppets.

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This entry was posted in Introducing the Karagöz puppets, On writing about my life with the Karagöz puppets and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to On the 4th day of Christmas: Meet Celebi, the modernist

  1. Jack Scott says:

    Love the whole twelve days of christmas theme!

  2. Liz Cameron says:

    Thank you, I am having crazy fun with it. This is such a nice, creative counterpoint to my other wise *very* *serious* (she says, poking fun at herself as Karagoz himself might) academic writing that is dry as a bone. 🙂 Now the challenge is what to come up with for NEXT year’s days of Xmas. 🙂

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