LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe introduced the mascots at a London school near the new Olympic stadium. Here's an explanation for the perplexed:
Wenlock is named after the village of Much Wenlock where Pierre de Coubertin visited in 1890 and where his idea for a modern Olympics was born while Mandeville is named after the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where the Paralympic movement began shortly after World War II.OK, thanks for clearing that up. There's more:
Asked to describe exactly what his creations are, designer Grant Hunter of London-based firm Iris, said they were "magical beings" that would become "multi-dimensional" mascots aimed at capturing the imagination of children across the world.
Rather hard to describe, Wenlock and Mandeville both have one large eye, representing a camera lens so they can record what they see, cannot speak, don't smile and have features borrowed from London's iconic taxis.Now I get it - they're supposed to be surveillance cameras, this being London and all.
"The mascot will help us engage with children which is what I believe passionately in," London organising committee chairman Sebastian Coe told Reuters as human-sized versions of the eye-catching mascots danced in the school playground.Right.
"The message we were getting was that children didn't want fluffy toys, they didn't want them to be human but thy did want them rooted in an interesting story. "By linking young people to the values of sport, Wenlock and Mandeville will help inspire kids to strive to be the best they can be."
Kang & Kodos could not be reached at their World Domination Headquarters in Springfield.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse thinks "Wenlock looks dangerous and Mandeville seems to have wet his man-da-pants."
UPDATE II: Design critic Stephen Bayley, quoted in The Telegraph, asks "What is it about these Games which seems to drive the organisers into the embrace of this kind of patronising, cretinous infantilism? Why can’t we have something that makes us sing with pride, instead of these appalling computerised Smurfs for the iPhone generation? If the Games are going to be remembered by their art then we can declare them a calamitous failure already.”