Jan 12, 2008

The Tooth Fairy

Our man in London, Ben Fairhall, posted an intriguing bit of info on the twelfth of December concerning Evelyn Waugh:

Strangely, towards the end of his life, Waugh developed a most unusual hobby: having his teeth pulled out, without anaesthetic. 'The vulgar new school of literary biographer,' says Auberon Waugh, 'attributed it to some strain of sexual masochism, but I am not persuaded by this.' Interestingly, losing his teeth seemed to effect a spiritual change in him: 'Where before he had been gloomy, bad tempered and on occasions aggressive, he became benign and affectionate, but still his death lifted a great brooding awareness not only from Combe Florey- the Waugh family home in Somerset- but from the whole of existence.'

"Huh". I says. Which got me to thinking about dentists specifically and about teeth in general.

"Feed me, See more!"

The alien invasion musical 'Little Shop of Horrors' contains a scene with "Bill Luminati" Bill Murray playing a character who loves getting his teeth pulled in the most excruciatingly painful way imaginable (sexual masochism overtly stated, BTW).

The Xmas classic 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' includes Hermie (Hermes?) the misfit (and gay acting) elf who secretly wants to be a dentist. He winds up pulling a tooth from the Head Elf - easing his suffering.

Mike Myers as Austin Powers (the Dionysus resonator) who’s bad teeth are a running gag. "I'm English".

In 'Marathon Man', Dustin Hoffman is tortured in a dentist chair by a crazed Nazi asking: “Is it safe?”

And my latest guru, P. K. Dick, had his first vision/VALIS moment as a result of the extraction of an impacted WISDOM tooth. Who woulda thunk?


Jake Kotze said...

Would you believe I saw "The Secret Lives of Dentists" yesterday? I am further researching my muse Stargate Queen Robin Tunney. In said film she is the assistant to Campbell Scott, seen digging with Tunney inside Denis Leary's mouth.

JB said...

I'm reminded of the true story of how Edgar Cayce cured a violently mentally ill woman by having one of her teeth pulled. The tooth was pushing against one of her nerves and literally made her go crazy. She was fine afterwards.

Adam Star said...

Great article. Thanks for the link. The dentistry-related item that popped into my head was "The Tooth Fairy" from "Red Dragon", a Blake inspired serial killer and disciple of Hannibal Lecter.

Michael said...

Thanks for the comments. I love taking a marginal thread like dentistry and pulling it through the meme grinder. I just remembered a biggy: Duke Leto attempts to assassinate the Baron Harkonnen with a poison tooth in Dune.

Adam - thanks for the correction. Done and done.

aferrismoon said...

In Kandy , Sri Lanka, there's a Temple of the Tooth, one of the buddha's apparently.
Shin , the 21st letter of the Heebroo Alephbeyt means TOOTH
And Dragon's teeth that Jason and Gilgamesh used to grow soldiers

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