Meet the motley crew of Ottoman Turkish puppets


For those of you just tuning in – or dipping in – to this blog, you might be interested to learn about the little puppets that have moved into my head as I navigate a cross-cultural marriage, but let me back up a bit…

Flannery O’Connor is credited with saying “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say,” and this is true for me when it comes to figuring out my cross-cultural relationship…

So, this blog documents the ongoing road trip through the cross-cultural marriage of one American woman married to one Turkish man. Just one half of one Turkish-American couple, making sense of what goes on in day-to-day life.

Part of acculturating to my own cross-cultural relationship included getting in touch with the Karagöz shadow puppets that took residence in the back seat of my head (and the car) both Stateside – and in Türkiye.

Karagöz Oyunları, or the particularly Turkish art form of shadow puppetry, is famous for heightening stereotypes and truths about the nature of people, places and things in the way that only puppets can.

Depending on the situation, my Karagöz puppets take on the roles of the yea-sayer, the naysayer, the devil, the angel, the manners expert, the feminist, the religious person, the sloppy drunk and many more…let’s see how they do as relationship coaches!

What better country to use as the foil for a discussion on cross-cultural relationships than Turkey, famous for connecting east and west despite the at-times trite-ness of the metaphor. The Karagöz tradition of heightening stereotypes first noted during Ottoman times is, I hope, an interesting conceit for writing about one couple’s own road trips through Turkey on their quest for the marriage model that fits them – their own merger of east and west, similarities and differences abounding.

This blog is offered in semi-chronological order starting in 2004 and continuing in 2012 and beyond. Although this blog is written by me, it is important to me that readers know that the decision to “go public” with our stories about our cross-cultural relationship was mutual. I try to post weekly.

The major characters (so far) are listed below.  I am forever indebted to them for helping me through my Turkish-American life…

Bebe Ruhi, the Goof with Dwarfism and an Ample Heart

Chorus of Little Dancing Lady Puppets

Celebi, the Modernist Puppet

Dobra and Saf, the Siamese Twin Puppets who Love-Hate Turkey

Esma, the Hippie Puppet

Hacivad, the Inimitable Learned Sufi Elder Puppet

Hacıyatmaz the Roly-Poly Puppet who Always Bounces Back

Karagoz, the Oppositional Trickster Puppet

Kenne, Queen Puppet of Manners and the Maintenance of Honor and Ladylike Behavior

Khadijah, the Handmaiden Puppet Stolen from North Africa by Ottoman Slavers

Mercan Bey, the Spice Trader Puppet from the Arabian Peninsula

Perihan, the Fairy Godmother Goddess Puppet

Safiye Rakkase, the Vainglorious Dancing Girl Puppet

Tiryaki, the Narcoleptic Opium Addict Puppet

Write-a-matrix, the Academic, Whip-Cracking Dominatrix Puppet

Yehuda Rebbe, the Globalized Rabbi Wise Man Puppet

Zenne, the Nervous Nellie Like a Bowl of Rosehip Jelly Puppet

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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.

2 Responses to Meet the motley crew of Ottoman Turkish puppets

  1. Pingback: Meet the motley crew of Ottoman Turkish puppets | Slowly-by-Slowlymojohorne.com | mojohorne.com

  2. Pingback: Meet the motley crew of Ottoman Turkish puppets | Slowly-by-Slowly « nanafafyd

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