On Dec. 20, I opened Firefox and my start page appears: Google. On this day the "Google doodle" was an interactive story board featuring the tale of Little Red Riding Hood to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Grimm's Fairy Tales.
I went to my Facebook page and on my newsfeed there was a blurb about the photobomb of Vicki Soto; behind her a man makes the "devil's horns" hand sign. This led to a post (The Devil you say), but not before recalling that I had previously linked a "martyred" young woman to the tale of Riding Hood in a previous post entitled The dog is a domesticated form of the Gray Wolf.
In both Little Red Riding Hood and the Beauty and the Beast, there is an explicit danger in the forest. Folklorists tell us that this is a trope dating back to the Middle Ages where the forest--place of darkness and danger--is juxtaposed against the village as a place of safety. Put in other words, between the wild and the domesticated, the savage and the tame. In French we can speak of the dusk, or at times the dawn, as "entre chien et loup," literally "between dog and wolf." The night and all its attendant dangers versus the safety of the light of day. These liminal periods put in stark contrast the nature of the wild and the domesticated; they are transitions between states of being.
I Googled "origin of the name Soto" and found: The Soto family originally lived in one of the numerous towns or villages named Soto. The place-name Soto is derived from the Spanish word "soto," which refers to a "thicket" or "grove." This word is itself derived from the Latin word "saltus," which refers to a pasture land containing a forest or wood. (http://www.houseofnames.com/soto-family-crest)
So now, the link in my head between one "virgin martyr" and another has a kind of "objective" fact.
Flash forward nine days to Dec. 29. At this point, the preceding text is a dusty draft, headed for the bin. However, as I'm organizing some stray folders, I come across the preceding three images. I apparently scanned these images from a French magazine in April, 2012, probably struck by the fact they used the Little Red Riding Hood story in the sense I discussed in my own post on the tale (The dog is a domesticated form of the Gray Wolf, October, 2009); that is to say, the metaphor for sexual predation.
These images resonated so well with the themes in this draft that I resurrected this post.
Continuing with Victoria Soto: She is the only one of the Sandy Hook victims with her own Wikipedia page, the one victim for some reason CNN decided to focus upon (remember The Devil you say, December 29). Soto is the only name I know from the massacre; I'm certainly not alone.
She has been widely hailed as a hero: Shots and screaming were heard over the intercom system and Soto hid several children in a closet. When Lanza entered her classroom, Soto told him that the children were in the auditorium. However, several of the children then came out of their hiding places and ran. As they ran, Lanza shot them dead. Soto, fearing for the lives of her other students put herself between her students and the shooter who then fatally shot her.
There were, however, several other acts of this sort which could just as easily be labelled "heroic." So why focus on Vicki Soto? First of all, by most accounts she appears to have been a genuinely nice person. Her actions that day were undoubtedly admirable. It doesn't hurt that she was also young, full of promise and rather pretty.
I think the scope of this tragedy makes it difficult to focus on any one child....it would seem unfair in some way. It's hard to remember so many names, there are no details of their short lives to stab our hearts with. No individual face stands out. So this young woman became a focus of attention. The martyred young woman is a powerful archetype; in this case her youth links her to the children in a way an older, greyer teacher might not. She serves as bridge between the children and the world. By focusing on Soto, a fair choice is made to symbolize all the victims, all the horror distilled into one individual, bringing it all to a more digestible bit of news. I don't see this as an engineered meme, but a kind of organic response, a feedback loop between popular emotional response, the recognition of her appeal and then, imitation, repetition, re-circulation.
Victoria Soto, facing down the wolf. In Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf is disguised as Grandma. I read the name Adam Lanza somewhere interpreted as "Man Lance" (as one other famous Lance is in the news again for doping, or "leg strong"). Adam Lanza also wore a mask. "Adam (Hebrew: אָדָֿם) comes from the triliteral root אָדַֿם ( 'ADM ), meaning "red", "fair", "handsome". (!!) And it appears that Lanza comes from Lancia, a name derived from a soldier or lancer. There is an obvious metaphor here of sexual aggression, a "man lance", but the woman's name suggests victory over the forest, as with Riding Hood.
In some roundabout evocation, this goes back to the very real feeling of a kind of moral victory over Lanza/the Wolf; her humanity in the face of the horror is a kind of victory in death that goes down well in our Christian culture, what with Christ's example followed by numerous Saints among the Catholic martyrs.
(Follow the virgin martyr tag for an extensive selection of posts on the theme).
Loren Coleman has been writing about the symbolism of a "lady in red" (Holmes' Harlots, July 30, 2012). He links several appearances of the red woman to the Aurora shootings in Colorado, itself one in a series of shootings with patterns pointing to what Coleman calls "Red Dawn" scenarios. This follows a post of July 22, Blood Red Movie Massacres. Back on May 3, The Sink Hole's Will Morgan devoted a post to the topic, unrelated to shootings, entitled....Lady in Red. Morgan links the red lady to the Sacred Whore of Babylon. Coleman links her to prostitution. Old acquaintace Tate Bunker, who I haven't actually spoken to in 20 years or so, premiered his first feature film, Little Red at the Milwaukee Film Festival (September 30). It's a modern re-telling of the tale with the Wolf as a sexual predator named Lou. Meanwhile, I have discussed Little Red Riding Hood as a cautionary tale against prostitution and a metaphor for sexual predation.
Soto is not Little Red Riding Hood, but there are definitely enough "syncs" around which to construct a synchromystic narrative. The images I've posted are linked to sexual predation on the internet, not mass murder (though I'm sure a lot more could be said about the sexual aspects of murder and/or violence). Fact is, though, I re-discovered 'em on the day I saw another Little Red link, a Satanic photobomb, and discovered that the photobombee's name meant forest. By riffing a bit around that, a lot more connections come up. Which sounds like a way of saying it's all in your head. The facts are out there, but the nexus is the mind.
So, most of you will be saying, ok, so? So nothing. Synchromystics just keep piling this shit on and think they've discovered the entrails of God. I'm just bored and detailing the tracks of my tears, and that rhymes with bears not beers, as in the the discrete rips at the edges of reality which allow us to think we've discovered something we in fact have built ourselves....and merely forgotten....