What precisely does that Paris Olympic mascot appear like? The French have determined – and it’s not a cheery hat | Emma Beddington

The Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics mascots have been unveiled and boy, they don’t disappoint. Les phryges are modelled on the revolutionary crimson Phyrgian bonnet, the one Liberty wears in the famous Delacroix painting. There’s a “We’d lower your head off” edginess to the phryges that’s splendidly at odds with their “immaculate smiles” and “large blue eyes that finish in [revolutionary] rosettes”, as Radio France has described them. I’ve by no means seen extra cheerful hats.

France is united in seeing them in another way: with their “curved protuberance on the entrance” (Radio France once more), social media is satisfied they appear like large clitorises. Admittedly, a composite picture of French judo champion Teddy Riner with a phryge compounds this impression. The pair of them look distinctly … post-coital? The cartoon phryge, flaunting its curved protuberance, has its tongue poking out and is sweating; Riner seems to be tenderly cupping certainly one of its little toes. They each look very blissful: the guts has its causes, as Pascal mentioned.

PR company fever dream, or inadvertent perception into the psyche of an organisation or place, the world of mascots is a joyfully weird one. The drily factual Mondo Mascots Twitter account, which collates the oddest Japanese examples, is the one factor conserving me on the hell web site now.

It’s inconceivable to select favourites, however latest gems embody “a snowboarding Bernese mountain canine with a tub and a soap dispenser on its head”, “an egg enjoying a dip in a hot spring” and “a pleasant enlarged thyroid gland perched on a hardened artery full of plaque”. Then there are the pictures of mascots getting caught in doorways or observing a minute’s silence: swans, Wombles and bunnies, heads solemnly bowed, arms (or wings) clasped. I solely need to think about David Shrigley’s glowering, monobrowed Partick Thistle mascot Kingsley to begin laughing.

The phryges’ attractive, murderous vitality is the one factor that would make me excited for a month of sport. The one downside is the €34.90 (£30.40) plush model will apparently be made in China – not very ecological or radical. I’m calling for sustainably sourced, free phryges for all.