April 10th, 2008


If anyone can, Vatican

As a keen spectator of the follies of fandom, I am often fascinated by the delicate distinctions between canon and fanon. I was therefore delighted to discover that there is such a thing as the Papal Fanon. Disappointingly, however, it's merely the name for a stripey cloak-thing that the Pope wears on special occasions, and has nothing whatsoever to do with flimsy internet-based explanations for longstanding Catholic mysteries. More's the pity, I thought, but to dispel any theological confusion, I came up with the following handy primer.

This is papal fanon:

These things are NOT papal fanon:
  • The Pope was not born but was woven on a loom by Bavarian peasant women.
  • He is half-human, on his mother's side.
  • He has glittering violet orbs that change colour when he issues a papal bull.
  • He was knocked down by a car in 1973 and mysteriously woke up in the Vatican in a cloud of white smoke. If he can resolve several major ecumenical conflicts, then maybe he can get home.
  • He keeps marmalade sandwiches under his tiara.
  • The Popemobile is bigger on the inside than the outside and if you hit the big red button on the dashboard, it turns into a submarine.

Join me again soon, when I'll be explaining why the Dalai Lama won't carry your luggage over the Andes, no matter how many peanuts you feed him...