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The Pose of the Siren

Every time I look at the Starbucks sign these days something strikes me as... odd.

The logo has, as you can see, a depiction of a siren, which is like a mermaid but with two tails. In Homer's Odyssey, sirens sang a beautiful song and attempted to lure sailors close to their island so they would get shipwrecked. Odysseus plugged up his men's ears with wax and they made it past safely. The meaning of the logo is obvious: Starbucks coffee exerts a powerful draw on people, so they accidentally crash their galleons into Starbucks storefronts. No problem there.

But has anyone else noticed the pose of the siren in the logo? How she sits, smiling serenely, with her two tails spread wide apart and flung up over her shoulders? It's almost pornographic. I think the logo designer may have been a closet sirenophiliac.

Now I find the logo disturbing, yet I cannot plug my tastebuds with wax and avoid the delicious temptation. That is all.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC)
Yes, but do sirens keep their genitalia between their tails? If they're plumbed like fish, I'm not sure they would.

The sad part is, somewhere on the Net someone has probably already answered this question - with illustrations.
Feb. 18th, 2005 03:26 pm (UTC)
It's actually a melusine, not a siren; a mermaid with two tails. They're almost almost always shown with their tails up by their sides and held by their hands.

This says more about the subconscious lusts of medieval scholars than of Starbuck's.
Feb. 18th, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC)
Sirens, for what it's worth, generally are shown either as looking like normal women, or as birds with women's heads (and sometimes torsos).
Feb. 18th, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
Ah. Now I am enlightened.
Feb. 18th, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC)
I actually didn't know what it was until I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw this: Siren, circa 1570-90. So I just trusted the Met. Guess I'll never do THAT again!
Feb. 18th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC)
Well, it's not as if there was a completely coherent system among artists and myth-recounters and so on (look at all the Bath of Hera / Birth of Aphrodite confusions), so... I think the melusine was basically a medieval figure, so this might well be a case of a Renaissance artist taking a medieval subject and interpreting it in classical terms.
Feb. 18th, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC)
Wow. I wonder why Starbucks would use that symbol for their logo?
Feb. 19th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC)
This says more about the subconscious lusts of medieval scholars than of Starbuck's.

Yeah, but could you blame them?
Feb. 18th, 2005 03:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow; I realized it was some sort of Siren, but I always assumed those were some sort of dolphin or whale hopping up above sea. Wow.
Feb. 18th, 2005 04:04 pm (UTC)
It's always reminded me of a close-cropped version of the back of Bicycle playing cards, actually. It didn't occur to be that it was a siren.

(On a related note, what is it with popular playing cards and stylized naked people? Bicycle, Hoyle, etc.)
Feb. 18th, 2005 04:35 pm (UTC)
There once was a pretty melusine.
Attracted was she to Rasmussen.
She swam towards his ship,
But a gale made her slip,
And she suffered a mighty contusion.
Feb. 18th, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC)
I noticed that too one day. I was trying to figure out wtf their logo was and then I realized it was a temptress of a siren! "Drink my coffeeeee!"
Feb. 18th, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC)
either that or she's doin' it with some guy who is wearing fishtail-shoes.
Feb. 18th, 2005 07:23 pm (UTC)
Ha ha ha. That is indeed another possibility.
Feb. 18th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
I thoroughly enjoyed this post up until it made me want a white chocolate mocha thing....real real bad.

Feb. 25th, 2005 01:09 am (UTC)
Feb. 18th, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, hm. It went round quite a while ago what the Starbucks logo really was, with non-cropped illustration of the spread-finned siren (or melusine) in question. I know it was bandied about on ifMUD at the time (or I wouldn't have heard about it), but I guess you missed it.
Feb. 19th, 2005 05:11 am (UTC)
The original Starbucks logo features a fully bare-breasted siren/melusine.

Feb. 19th, 2005 05:26 am (UTC)
that is effing beautiful
i think you're my hero
Feb. 19th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
I've always been slightly distrubed by that logo, ever since I took a good look at it a couple years ago.

I suppose it has more to do with the Seattle fish market than coffee. (?)
Feb. 24th, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC)
Eh, that's awesome.
Your post had me thinking...so I googled myself to find some more info. Turns out the original Starbucks in Seattle's Pikes Marketplace has a different logo

And check out this link. Anyway, Wow.
May. 1st, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC)
Lady of the Lake
Allegedly, this mermaid is Melusine. Her tail is split, addressing the age-old question: How exactly can a mermaid truly tempt a man at sea? Not really a mermaid of the sea, but instead a freshwater spirit, the actual "Lady of the Lake." Perhaps most famous in Celtic northwestern France, where she is known by many names - among them Our Lady of the Marshes. From this link - http://www.ot-fougeres.fr/stsulpicegb.htm - featured on a Starbucks/Coke Blak discussion (http://burbrocking.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_burbrocking_archive.html).

Anyway, you're right. A somewhat graphic turn in the mythology of sirens. But, then again, sirens were always about luring men to their doom with the lure of sex. You mentioned Homer. Remember Circe turning Odysseus' crew into pigs by appealing to their lust? Same old story...
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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