Aug 282010

In the big map of fetishes, quicksand lies somewhere between mud, bondage and breath control. On, Daniel Engber’s Terra Infirma gives the cultural history of quicksand, including the quicksand fetish. It’s an interesting exploration of the varying values applied to a single phenomenon that is more myth than fact.

Quicksand in films peaked in the 1960s and declined considerably after that, until it is an unused, worn-out action gag, relegated to the same realm as tying people to railway tracks. The most recent non-fetishistic use of quicksand the article describes is the old Bruce Campbell show The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. in the early 90s. Since then, quicksand is largely used in a fetishistic context, not “straight”. Quicksand fetishists have been scrapbooking scenes from movies and TV for decades, helped by the Internet.

The article also suggests that there are other factors contributing to the prevalence of quicksand in the popular imagination, such as the rise and fall of sandboxes in children’s playgrounds. Once ubiquitous, sandboxes are now rare thanks to a carcinogen scare.

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