A critical analysis of David Bowie’s crotch bulge in Labyrinth

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Besides the subject mentioned in the headline, today’s “Postal Apocalypse” includes a historical look at butt-wiping technologies, how Cobra gets its funding in G.I. Joe, the worst Star Wars prequel quote, and more. It is possibly my favorite “PA” ever. Please, please keep those awesome questions comin’ to postman@io9.com.

The Straight Poop

Chris P.:

Sometimes when I watch shows set in apocalyptic worlds like The Walking Dead or Falling Skies I wonder how the characters handle pooping. Sure, there's probably SOME toilet paper to be scavenged, but not every time. But then, humanity survived for a long time before the invention of toilet paper. What did civilized society do to keep their bum clean before indoor plumbing? Is that what we'd go back to?

As long as we're stuck on this gross topic, who on The Walking Dead makes the biggest stink? I'm guessing Hershel. I bet that guy eats whatever's in front of him like a food monster.


Let’s say first of all that pooping in the post-apocalypse is probably a much easier task than pooping in the pre-industrial age. Even if you don’t find toilet paper, you can go into a Filene’s Basement, take a huge stack of blouses, cut them into shreds, and have several months’ supply of toilet paper right there. Fashion isn’t going to be on anyone’s mind when the dead rise, so there should be plenty of tissue equivalents just waiting for you wherever you go. And remember, wherever humans are, there will be clothes there; Rick and crew have probably been wiping their butts with prison jumpsuits all season.

As for what people did before toilet paper was invented in the 1800s, the answer is all sorts of things. They used leaves like many modern campers, I’m sure. A lot of people probably used their hands and then just washed them. The ancient Romans used a sponge on the end of a stick, which sounds like a great idea until you learn that this stick was communal, even in public bathrooms, and was probably the grossest thing ever.


For the record, people in India still use the ol’ hand-and-wash-thoroughly method today, which a lot of people argue is cleaner than just using toilet paper. Honestly, I think this is probably true. Think about this: if your dog shit on the carpet, would you ever in a million years simply wipe it up with a dry paper towel? Of course not. You’d use water, if not an actual liquid cleanser. Well, why people don’t do the same thing for their own asses is bizarre to me. I eagerly await the day when Japanese bidet toilets make their way into the Western world — our lives would be much cleaner, if not actually better, if we had access to hands-free anal power-washing.

As for the member of the Prison crew who clears the stalls the quickest, it's Carl. Don't ask why, but it's Carl.


Of Dollars and Dinosaurs

Dan S.:

I'm talking the animated series here, not the new movies. How the heck did Cobra get all of its funding? All of those jets, bases and vehicles they lost each week have got to cost billions. It is not like Destro's family could be that rich.

Secondly, when they created their own Jurassic Park island, what happened to the dinosaurs after the episode ended?


Have you ever lost your job and needed to buy health insurance? Do you remember how insanely expensive it is, even if you were young and healthy (and if you’re old and/or have any kind of ailment, the cost can be almost prohibitive). Remember what that insurance was called? COBRA. They didn’t even bother to change the goddamn name.

As for the dinosaurs created in the classic episode “Primordial Plot,” Cobra ended up putting them in charge of their H.R. department. Hey, it's not the stupidest hiring decision they've ever made.


Mocking Us All

Mark S.:

So I take it that Mockingbird Lane did not do well enough to get a full on series. But is there any chance at all that there could be at least another movie in the making? I thought the characters were delightfully rebooted!


Probably not. The cast members have moved on, and creator/producer Bryan Fuller seems a lot more interested in making a Kickstarter movie of his previous series, Pushing Daisies, than returning to Mockingbird Lane. Since Pushing Daisies was awesome, this is fine, but I am personally sad that Mockingbird never had a chance, all because NBC is run by imbeciles whose network programming gets trounced by basic cable on a regular basis.


The Nose Knows

Michele B.:

Who would win in a fight between Lord Voldemort and Skeletor*?

They are both evil magic users who seek great power and have no nose...

*2000s Remake competent Skeletor, not 80's incompetent Skeletor

I’m probably biased, but I say Skeletor. Both noseless ne’er-do-wells managed to do a bit of conquering before getting defeated by their respective heroes, but Voldemort’s conquests were due almost entirely to his minions, while Skeletor’s victories were achieved in spite of his minions, who were dumber than fucking rocks (even in the 2000 cartoon). And remember, while Skeletor was usually beaten by the strongest man in the universe, Voldemort had his ass handed to him by a baby and a high school student. I say Skeletor has the edge.


The real question is what Skeletor's henchman Stinkor would think about a Skeletor/Voldemort fight. Would he be sad at being so useless, or would he be happy to have the day off? Probably the latter.

Bombad Dialogue

Jonah B.:

Re watching the original SW trilogy (non-special edition) and I started thinking about how awful the scripts were for the prequels in comparison. What would you pin down as the single worst line in the entire prequel trilogy? My money's on "begun, the clone war has," but I would also put "you have done that yourself" into consideration. What do you think?


My god… we could be here all day. I, personally, loathe Mace Windu’s “This party’s over!” in Attack of the Clones, although I’m not 100% sure why (possibly because it’s a line written for Sam Jackson, not Star Wars). Anything Jar-Jar says is, of course, horrible. But I’d say, without question, the absolute worst line in the prequels is Anakin’s ““I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere,” which is just completely counter to how a human being talks, thinks and feels. The fact that it’s somehow supposed to be romantic makes it even more nightmarishly awful.

But that’s hardly all. Thought Catalog has a list of 60 awful, awful lines from the Prequels, and I wouldn’t say any of them don’t belong on there.

Battle of the Bulge

A curious movie watcher:

I realize that you may not be answer this question in the same way that ladies and gay men would be, but in your professional opinion as a nerd and movie watcher, which had the greater visual impact in their respective films: David Bowie's pants in Labyrinth, or Sting's eagle (?) shaped codpiece in the Dune movie? In both cases, I felt strongly that their respective directors filmed them in such as way as to convince me that they were completely independent, possibly sentient entities. If so, do you think they should have also received separate acknowledgement during the end credits in their films?


Well, you’re right in that I might have a different answer than some, so consider this my opinion, and nothing more: I say the Bowie Bulge in Labyrinth had more visual impact than Sting’s Stinger in Dune, and here’s why:


First of all, Sting’s underwear in Dune — while winged and containing a massive bulge — doesn’t really show off a lot of detail. Obviously, Sting’s packing something down there, but the underpants themselves cover a volume of space, which Sting’s junk could be contained with room to spare, or fill to the brim. The underpants are solid and opaque, so there's no way to know for sure.

Meanwhile, Bowie is wearing tights in Labyrinth that show off his Diamond Dog in stunning detail, so we know it’s enormous. It might — might be smaller than Sting’s package if it truly maxes out its container, but I say the visual proof of Bowie’s gargantuan batch beats Sting’s potential.


But that’s not all; Sting is only in his skivvies for one scene in Dune, while Bowie is strutting around in his Pants Magic Pants for almost the entirety of Labyrinth. More importantly, the way Lynch made Dune, the film — well, Sting’s near-naked duel makes sense, visually and conceptually, within the film’s style. It has a visual impact, but it’s an impact on par with things like the Sandworms and Baron Harkonnen and all that.

Meanwhile, Bowie’s package is the sexual tyrannosaurus hiding in plain sight in what is supposedly a fun kids’ fantasy-adventure movie. While technically more subtle, this half-hearted attempt to hide it is like trying to hide an elephant in your closet — it just makes the elephant a lot more obvious. And most importantly, remember, Labyrinth is about a teenage girl trying to rescue her baby brother from goblins — and the fact that the Goblin King has a massive, massive dick adds this weird, omnipresent sexuality to the entire movie, which I’m not 100% sure wasn’t included on purpose. I say Bowie’s bulge definitely had the bigger impact (so to speak). Also, I am 99% sure Bowie’s penis has its own SAG card.


Should I mention that “Postal Apocalypse” is my favorite thing I do at io9, or does the fact that I got to write 300 words about David Bowie’s crotch in Labyrinth make it go without saying?

Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!