Sunday, July 29, 2012


“You be careful. People in masks cannot be trusted.” –Fezzik, The Princess Bride 

I (Badger) once asked a friend’s coach, a highly rated referee, whether elaborately painted masks are legal. She replied, in her Bulgarian drawl “Un-for-tun-ate-ly, yessssss.”

Maybe it’s not so unfortunate after all. I’ll leave it to others to comment on the awesome fencing yesterday. I'll just point out, briefly, that if today’s Olympic display of custom-painted masks catches on, things could get really, really interesting on the strip.

Lee Kiefer, USA, Toni L. Sandys / The Washington Post

Anna Bentley of Great Britain, Photo: Nick Butcher, Islington Gazette

Mask by V. Hanes

If nothing else, I wickedly enjoy the prospect of seeing the rules struggle to define what, exactly, is acceptable on a mask. If designs representing nations are legit, what about states, cities, universities? When does a design become rude or offensive? (Can I have a picture of a demon sticking his tongue out at my opponent?)

Should the example set by our team at the Olympics inspires you to pimp your mask, at least one site on the web advertises custom decoration: Pointed Comments. The artist, Vicki Hanes, isn’t currently taking orders (alas) but says she is hoping to start up again this fall. Please let me know of any other sites that offer this service, and share tips for DIY mask painting (materials, technique, equipment).

Also (reader), I want to know:
-are you for or 'agin exuberant mask painting?
-what would you put on yours?

If you already have embellished your mask, please send a pic to me--we'd love to feature it on this blog.


  1. A big bloodshot eye, or maybe a hypnotic vortex.

  2. I'd put this: . Wonderfully eerie and should give my opponents a start!

  3. And, see the great links to more mask pictures in this article in Slate