Informative, entertaining and shocking: the Land Octopus, a satirical cartographic animal
August 15, 2011 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Over the centuries, the high seas have served as a blank canvas for cartographers’ worst nightmares. They have dotted the oceans with a whole crypto-zoo of island-sized whales, deathly seductive mermaids, giant sea serpents, and many more - a whole panoply of heraldic horrors. As varied as this marine bestiary is, mapmakers have settled on a single, favourite species for land-based beastliness: the octopus. Bonus: Satire Maps and Fred W. Rose (YT, 3:32); Fred Rose's Serio-Comic War Map (YT, 1:52).

The clips are from Cartoon Maps - Politics and Satire, part of the BBC Four mini-series The Beauty of Maps.

A number of the Cartographic Land Octopus images are from Vulgar Army, which was previously posted to MetaFilter.
posted by filthy light thief (10 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Vulgar Army currently has up a really amusing Wain (of the hallucinogenic cat fame) cartoon.

I am not immune to the lure of the metaphorical octopus.
posted by The Whelk at 1:57 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Lots of "Russia as Octopus" there. I'd say the USA was lucky to have come out on top of the Cold War, it doesn't seem wise to get in an arms race with someone who has 8.
posted by Hoopo at 2:28 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]

If we're gonna talk about land octopuses, you've got to include the infamous Pacific Northwest tree octopus.
posted by scalefree at 2:56 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have a print of this map hanging on my wall and I have to say it's a pretty badass conversation starter.
posted by clockworkjoe at 3:12 PM on August 15, 2011

I wholeheartedly Fthagn this post!
posted by Renoroc at 3:35 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Russia has octopi. Eight octopi arms.
posted by Mblue at 4:02 PM on August 15, 2011

Land octopi are lame. Tree squids are where its at.
posted by Chekhovian at 4:04 PM on August 15, 2011

Cartographers, in Afric maps,
With savage pictures fill the gaps
And o'er unhabitable downs
Place elephants for want of towns.
posted by jfuller at 4:19 PM on August 15, 2011

Related AskMe, with lots of octopus depictions in the answers.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:02 PM on August 15, 2011

two thumbs up, thank you.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:12 PM on August 16, 2011

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