Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 149

The Japanese smith-god is named “The One-Eyed God of the Sky” (Eliade 104). The first Cyclopes in Greek mythology, credited (as was Hephaestos) with building Zeus’s thunderbolts, were also one eyed. These injuries may hearken to an initiation rite into the vocation of the smith (105). In ancient Greece, an early guild of smiths may have had concentric rings tattooed on their foreheads, and many smiths wore a patch over an eye to protect it from sparks (Graves, Greek 32). Smithcraft may also be linked to the lame or bull-footed king—Jacob, Talus, Dionysus, Hephaestos, Vulcan, Weyland—who is in turn a consort of the Great Goddess (Graves, White 330-31). Hence, it is totally in character that Tony Stark must use the arc reactor to keep shrapnel from damaging his heart (the reactor, placed in his chest, looks like a giant eye), that Lady Eboshi loses an arm in her final confrontation with the forest gods, and that Hiccup ends his story with an artificial leg, just like his mentor, the blacksmith Gobber. To conclude, the archetype of the Blacksmith doesn’t appear solely in our literature. Scientists such as Madame Curie and inventors such as Steve Jobs have enriched our knowledge of the world around us or transformed our lifestyles with their creations. However, while these real-life Blacksmiths are often celebrated, their achievements offer reason for concern. As Shira Ovide of the Bloomberg View writes concerning the influence of the iPhone, “[W]e’re over the initial wonder of it all and are beginning to grapple with how smartphones affect our communities, our personal safety and basic human interaction” (E1). Further, in its most extreme manifestation, humankind’s power to alter natural forces has brought us to the brink of self-annihilation. Perhaps no story brings this point home more poignantly than Akira Kurosawa’s “Mount Fuji in Red,” where a nuclear meltdown dissolves the famous mountain and poisons the survivors with radioactive gasses. In the end, the lesson we might take away from the Blacksmith’s stories is that we must be careful of selling our souls to our tools and gadgets, for as our capacity for widespread innovation increases, so must our ability to consider the consequences of what we create. Works Cited American Indian Myths and Legends. Ed. Richard Erdoes and Alfonzo Ortiz. New York: Pantheon-Random, 1984. Print. Baring, Anne, and Jules Cashford. The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. London: Arkana-Penguin, 1993. Print. 149