2692: Interior Decorating

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Interior Decorating
It all came flat-packed in Pandora's Box.
Title text: It all came flat-packed in Pandora's Box.


The sword of Damocles, Siege Perilous, Chekhov's gun, and Pandora's box are mythical or conceptual objects associated with impending threats. These names are now used metaphorically for complex concepts related to danger. Cueball seems to have either taken inspiration from these tales and named some objects after them or (possibly with Beret Guy's help) managed to obtain the genuine items, using them as decorations in his house.

The Sword of Damocles refers to a lost history of Sicily, in which Damocles was said to be an obsequious courtier who envied the king's power and luxury. The king offered to let Damocles serve as king for a day, but during that day, arranged for a sword to be hung above the throne, suspended by a single hair. This was to teach Damocles the lesson that, along with the privileges of being king, there was also perpetual and inescapable danger and anxiety. The term has passed into general use for any situation that involves an ever-present threat of harm.

The Siege Perilous, in Arthurian legend, is a seat at the Round Table, reserved by Merlin for the knight destined to retrieve the Holy Grail. It was said to be fatal to any unworthy person who sat in it. The term is used as a metaphor for any situation that's exceptionally dangerous to anyone not fully prepared.

Chekhov's Gun is a writing principle highlighting the importance of conservation of detail. The term originates from playwright Anton Chekhov, who repeatedly used the example of an unfired gun to advocate removing superfluous elements from a narrative. In one such case, he said "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." (It should be noted that, like most artistic rules, experienced writers will deliberately violate this advice when appropriate, especially to creatively misdirect similarly experienced audiences.) Cueball might not want Megan touching it because doing so means it will be fired shortly afterwards, following through its core concept.

Pandora's Box is a tale from Greek Mythology. According to myth, Pandora was the first woman, created by Hephaestus, and was given a jar (later translated as "box") and told never to open it. Eventually she did, and unleashed all the miseries into the world. The term has come to represent any situation where a small but ill-considered action results in numerous, often intractable, problems.

Given that two of the objects are potential hazards (the sword and the gun) and the third explicitly fatal, it is quite apt that they would come in such a box.


[Cueball and Megan stand in a room. At one wall a sword hangs by a thread above a chair. On another wall a rifle is fastened to a board with illegible writing. Megan has one arm stretched towards the rifle.]
Cueball: Yeah, I think the sword of Damocles looks nice hanging over the Siege Perilous.
Cueball: Hey, don’t touch Chekhov’s gun!
[Caption below panel:]
My home decorating theme is "ominous metaphorical objects."

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what about occam’s razor?Anonymouscript (talk) 22:11, 31 October 2022 (UTC)

Isn’t ominous, not in itself. —While False (museum | talk | contributions | logs | rights) 22:13, 31 October 2022 (UTC)
It sounds like it would be dangerous, since a razor is a sharp blade. Unless it's Occam's safety razor. Barmar (talk) 22:27, 31 October 2022 (UTC)
It could be very hazardous to use, if you tried whilst sailing upon the Ship Of Theseus... 01:47, 1 November 2022 (UTC)
So long as I'm not in control of the trolley anymore, I'm good. Cwallenpoole (talk) 13:49, 2 November 2022 (UTC)

Siege Perilous is ominous and mythical, but what is it a metaphor for? Barmar (talk) 22:27, 31 October 2022 (UTC)

I don't think the Pelosi attack is relevant to this comic. At best, it could be trivia fodder, but I find it highly unlikely that it influenced the comic in any way. 22:50, 31 October 2022 (UTC)

Isn't Chekhov's gun supposed to be on a mantelpiece? I don't know why I remember that. It's not in Wikipedia but is on plenty of other sites about it. Anyone know the origin of the mantelpiece angle? 02:12, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

not necessarily, it's just the most common example of a superfluous detail in 'Why draw attention to an otherwise superfluous detail if it's not of importance?' that's at heart of Chekhov's Gun. 07:45, 1 November 2022 (UTC)
Wikipedia has several quotes of Chekhov talking about it. One of them mentions a rifle hanging on a wall so it could be from that. Arcorann (talk) 23:19, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

I was introduced to Chekov's gun when I was sad to my son that fiction has 1)Plot Premise, 2) Plot Plants 3) Plot Fixes. The Chekhov's gun would be 2), but a pistol drawn from a handbag sold be 3) unless mentioned in Act 1. Of course weapons on the wall could be 1) depending on the house.RIIW - Ponder it (talk) 21:15, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

"Chekov's Gun" would probably be a phaser set to 'stun'... 23:34, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

This would go great with a dying ivy with only a single leaf, and a blue curtain. 04:21, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

This has one too many metaphors. That last one is the straw that broke the camel's back. 05:48, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

It was perfectly ok until it tried to jump that shark! 10:41, 1 November 2022 (UTC)
No need to jump Chekhov's gun here, sharks are fine, just watch out for those red herrings. 13:05, 1 November 2022 (UTC)
Can you shoot red herrings in a barrel with Chekhov's gun? Barmar (talk) 13:14, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

img looks slightly blurry. is this because the 2x version is of an odd width (397 pixels) for some reason? -- 19:40, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

Good it's only the Damocles sword and not the Tyrfing. (Or the pointy thingie of Elric, THAT name I'd had to look up.) 08:36, 2 November 2022 (UTC)

According to the wiki page on the Tyrfing, Stormbringer (Elric's sword) was actually based on Tyrfing. 08:10, 3 November 2022 (UTC)

Ok so it says that Pandora was told never to open the box but actually she was created by the gods specifically to open the box so maybe we should rewrite that section 13:39, 2 November 2022 (UTC)

Does anyone have any ideas for other things along this theme? I'm thinking of doing this. SqueakSquawk4 (talk) 23:29, 5 December 2023 (UTC)