When the first Anthropology of Orc observed in an early elimae (not the Precambrian, but the Paleozoic) that there were many forms of fish, bird, & beast in this beast, but not subscribed by Blake, it was not known then as a flaming Orc or even as a symbolic compliment, but neither flaming nor Orc are intended as literal. The idea of flame does capture the imagination of something blatant. Of course to literally catch fire is something else entirely when seen as immolation, as with the Buddhist monks or the human bombers which both attract and appall. The Orc itself is like this compulsive polarization for it is both maligned and emulated since it stands for a series of habits and attitudes more than for an actual being.
Indeed the first mention of Orc was hardly a few hundred years ago in Blake and there it had a quasi noble birth and place, if eventually debased. Blake however had early insight into the "repressed love turned to war," even to the extent of his confession that Orc "stole thy light & it became fire consuming" (FZ, xi, 147f). An entire monograph on this is justified. Orcish ways, Orcish talk, behemoth in its boasts, should but do not implicate the Orca killer whale species. Of course it got a lot of play in science fiction as an intermediary race of beings who lived in dark caves, where brutes plundered at night. Very stereotypical, they were never much a danger to the status quo of ordinary horses, dragons and men that defeated them.
All that has changed of course now that the Orc has achieved ascendency in world culture, transcending nationality. It represents a series of attitudes and prerogatives that dare to define a new reality utterly different from that ordinary one of caves and holes and black blood. Orc has gone global, and while it looks like a man, it is no more a man, as classically defined, than it ever was. Please allow us to forego at this time saying exactly what is a man. Change the appearance and you change the life. Not so, but it seems so. One of the significant parts of Orc thought is the ability to always rhetorically justify itself. Never at a loss for words, always on the offensive, full of verbal extremes such as "hate," "bigot" name calling, the Orc is what it is. So while it may refer to mythical races or a character in the Scarecrow of Oz, or an Ork like an ostrich that acts like a flying horse, and a dozen acronyms like Origin Recognition Complex of DNA code, none of these prepare us for the truly extraordinary excitation of its flaming.
That this could be literal will of course be denied. Taunts of spontaneous combustion will be heard from the audience. What is on the bounds of science is hardly ever believed, especially in such a reclusive and secretive being. For when the moment of its taking off approaches, the Orc withdraws from what was a very active outer existence and goes into hiding in the most remote places it can find. The deserts of south Texas, huge stretches of Nevada, any number of national parks in off season, sometimes even the Grand Canyon. I say this is hardly believed first because there is little evidence after the fact that it has occurred, as would be natural in an explosion. Since no damage is done and the effect is taken as heat lightning, and it happens often at night, there have been few if any sightings outside of anecdotal and folklore accounts. These as we know can hardly constitute evidence, like anecdotes of Sasquatch and Loch Ness. What solid evidence we have comes from the Orc itself for we know that in combustion its flaming occurs only after it feels compelled by nature and its own confinement to divest its (outer) shields. These shields are a subject in themselves, but the method of their taking off is germane. Partly because the Orc is such an extreme being, given to moods and mood swings, its extreme rhetoric being proof of this, it had an on again off again relation to its shield. At one point the shield was organic like a crustacean's, but various frictions created inner drives to be free, for the Orc will be free of all constraint, that is its mantra. The frictions were from mutation too perhaps, and better diet played a part, but Orc grew enormous and had to shed the shell or be crushed within. The ingenious manner of this taking off has been much celebrated, I mean its desiccation, but the result was that the minute the Orc was free of the shell it sought to be bound again and manufactured new shields that it carried on its primitive forays, that is before these were sublimated into the offensive rhetoric it now possesses. That this was done serially further complicates so that at no point in the evolution of its shelless state could it be said that the evolution was complete. Sections of Orc geography seem to undergo this separately, which argues that it may after all have a viral cause and the loss of the shell was a kind of live Orc decline, leaving some untouched but affecting the whole with disastrous results. On again off again, those shells became the best record of the Orc. Being bone, dermal bone, when lost or buried and dug up they gave account much like the hieroglyphs of Egypt.
All this is beside the point of Orc flaming except it shows the background of some of those studies that have consumed the orcopologists of literature. The flaming thus has been inferred to occur from further compromise of the skeletal structure after the taking off of the shields. Simply, that sunlight, UV rays, oxidation, simple wear and tear wore further away at the exostructure. Even under the clothes that the Orc wears in modern times this occurs as an inevitable product of entropy. When one goes missing in the modern time, missing person reports notwithstanding, but only in the Orc circles, and these are closely guarded, it is understood that this final rite of passage has occurred. As noted there have been many disappearances attributed to crime that could easily be explained this way. Suffice it to say that these concomitant erosions of its outer being of all sorts contribute to the explosion.
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