Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Anatopism

Overpaid, oversexed and over here ...

ANATOPISM

Noun. rare. E19. 
[from Greek ANA- + topos place + -ISM

A putting of a thing out of its proper place.

Most people would be familiar with an anachronism, which is the putting of a thing in the incorrect time. A less well-known companion of the anachronism is the anatopism, which is a putting of something out of its proper place. To illustrate: a painting of Jesus drinking a can of coke would be an anachronism, because they're from different times, but a painting of Jesus talking to an Aboriginal Australian would be an anatopism, because one of them is in the wrong place (even though they co-existed in time).

I must say that finding a good picture of an anatopism was rather hard, especially as I specifically wanted to find a picture that was solely anatopistic, and not one which was anachronistic as well (anachronisms seem somewhat easier to find in art and so forth).

Therefore, I present first a still from the classic anti-war movie Full Metal Jacket. The film depicts the training of a group of US Marines as they prepare for their part in the Vietnam War. Their training takes place in the US. However, a close inspection of the scene reveals very British road markings due to the film being shot in England; a clear case of anatopism if ever there was one.

In researching anatopisms, it was suggested to me by the antiques expert John Foster that historical maps would be a rich source, and right he proved to be! And while we may scoff at the times past when America was thought to be India and dragons prowled the plains, it would seem that we're not immune from making rather horrendous cartographical blunders in modern times as well, as this anatopism from Fox News demonstrates:

Give yourself a second to spot this one

Good, clean anatopisms are hard to find.

If you know of any more, please leave details of them in the comment box below.



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