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Golem
May 21, 2003 12:16 AM   Subscribe

How to create a golem. (No, not him.) The method for creating golems is said to come from a Kabbalistic text, the Sepher Yetzirah. I've always wanted one of these, but "purity of purpose" might be a problem. [First link via The Cartoonist.]
posted by homunculus (19 comments total)

 
Oh how very very cool...

Even though I took a Jewish Mysticism course at uni, we never got around to discussing golems. In a wacky coincidence, the X-Files episode involving a golem aired on the night I was writing my final for the class.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:20 AM on May 21, 2003


"Puttermesser reached out a correcting hand, and then withdrew it. Once again the dust left deep red ovals on her fingertips. But it was clear that the nostrils needed pinching to bring them closer together, so Puttermesser tentatively pinched. The improvement was impressive. She blew into the left nostril to get rid of a tuft of dust; it solidified and rolled out like a clay bead. With squeamish deliberation she pushed the nose in line with the middle space where the eyebrows ought to have been. There were no eyebrows, no eyelashes, no fingernails, no toenails. The thing was defective, unfinished. The mouth above all required finishing..." - from Levitation, by Cynthia Ozick

In the story, she uses the golem to take over the city of new york.
(the golem runs her mayoral campaign)
posted by eddydamascene at 1:26 AM on May 21, 2003


Snow in August. Pete Hamill's story of the friendship of a Catholic boy and a Rabbi in 1940s NY. A golem figures prominently in the plot
posted by luser at 1:55 AM on May 21, 2003


See also The Golem by Gustav Meyrink.
posted by misteraitch at 2:21 AM on May 21, 2003


Great - thanks, homunculus.
(Oddly I'm reading Meyrink's book at the moment...)
posted by plep at 3:55 AM on May 21, 2003


Batman fought a golem in an issue of detective comics written by Peter Milligan.
posted by cachilders at 4:03 AM on May 21, 2003


Great links. I'm going to make one of my very own.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 4:10 AM on May 21, 2003


i wish they were real...it would have helped with the nazis.
posted by amberglow at 5:17 AM on May 21, 2003


oh, also--The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay features the Prague Golem (or what's left of it).
posted by amberglow at 5:55 AM on May 21, 2003


"The longer the golem is used for such impure purposes, the larger it grows and the more unwieldy it becomes." [from the 'history of Golems'] - try substituting "US Dept. of Defense" or "US military" in place of the word "Golem" in the quote.

"The longer the US military is used for such impure purposes, the larger it grows and the more unwieldy it becomes."

Or, better yet, try substituting random words, like Metafilter or "government": "The longer Metafilter is used for such impure purposes, the larger it grows and the more unwieldy it becomes."

"The longer government is used for such impure purposes...."

It slices! It dices! It vibrates!


I think we already know how to make Golems, deathless entities which never stop but tend to quickly get out of control - they're called "corporations" and "bureaucracies".



Great link.
posted by troutfishing at 6:08 AM on May 21, 2003


I've known how to make golems for years. You just need to be able to afford the GP and XP costs for the body, and have the Minor Creation and Wish spells.

Oh shit, I'm back in reality.. I'm scared... *clutches Dungeon Master's Guide*
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:36 AM on May 21, 2003


Once again Bob The Angry Flower has a cartoon that is topical.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:08 AM on May 21, 2003


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay features the Prague Golem

See also Michael Chabon's essay on the novel as a golem.
Also fun is James Sturm's the Golem's Mighty Swing.
posted by mikrophon at 9:07 AM on May 21, 2003


dictionary.com has this to say:

[Hebrew golem, lump, clod, fool]
and
a mechanism that can move automatically [syn: automaton, robot]

thus bolstering my view that my employer has been producing golems from normal healthy functional human beings for many years.
posted by quonsar at 9:40 AM on May 21, 2003


Uh, homunculus, I'd stay away from the big guys if I were you:

The homunculus is a "mini-golem" which consists of only 1 card and does not need a switch to activate. This type of golem is very weak, cannot use special attachments, and does not generate points. However, the homunculus is an annoying gnat to your opponents and on some occasions have taken down the mighty. Homunculi make a "squish" sound ... usually while being stepped on by a bigger golem!
posted by languagehat at 9:45 AM on May 21, 2003


"The danger is not that the golem... will develop overwhelming powers; it lies in the tension which the creative process arouses in the creator himself." -Gershom Scholem, quoted in Michael Chabon's essay.

So if troutfishing is right about the government and corporations being golems, then their creators' tension comes from the government and corporations. Interesting.
posted by tragedy_and_comedy at 9:49 AM on May 21, 2003


languagehat, ever ride an elephant? Golems are great for piggyback rides. Whee!
posted by homunculus at 10:37 AM on May 21, 2003


Ach, homunculus! A great many thanks. I've just finished a class on iconoclasm in recent Jewish fiction, so this is a fun cap. I'm actually using one of Ozick's Puttermesser stories in my final paper--if anyone is interested, the story eddydamascene excerpted is also published as "Puttermesser and Xanthippe" in The Puttermesser Papers.
posted by hippugeek at 12:41 PM on May 21, 2003


the story eddydamascene excerpted is also published as "Puttermesser and Xanthippe" in The Puttermesser Papers

ah, but then you miss the title story of Levitation, which is my favorite.
posted by eddydamascene at 8:36 PM on May 21, 2003


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