So That Little Mermaid Controversy

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No, not that one.  I mean, the idea that anyone or anyone in great numbers is particularly outraged because the actress hired to play The Little Mermaid is black is honestly ridiculous.

The fact that that “controversy” was started by a “troll account” and more people slapped it down than not, leads me to believe Disney was counting on controversy to push the film, and when they didn’t get it they made it up. Pfui.

Sure, there are people who are outraged about the casting, but for most of them it has absolutely zero to do with race. For most it has to do with the fact that the live version won’t look like the “real” i.e. animated Ariel. And never mind that to look like that, most live women would have to carry their guts in a handbag.

That’s not a race, or even a really rational thing. It’s the way you defend the memories of your childhood.  I’m fortunate in that I didn’t have a TV till I was 8 and other than little improving movies shown by our church, I didn’t watch a movie in a theater till I was 14. (Asterix the Gaul.) So it’s really, really hard to “break” the memories of childhood for me.  Though honestly, given my druthers, I’d take ALL the “improved and updated” Enid Blyton books and make a big bonfire. That stuff is just wrong.  As wrong as J. K. Rowling’s Tweets that drive my boys insane. (“Wizards poop how? Just shut up, lady.”)

No, for me what happened to the Little Mermaid when the movie was made was the REAL tragedy.  Btw, it’s not even a memory of childhood, that.  I only read the fairy tales during a weird folklore-interest period somewhere around 12 or 16. (I don’t remember. Also, there might have been two periods.)

The thing is, it struck me, at the time, as very weird that Disney was doing The Little Mermaid, because it’s not, like Cinderella or Snow White a love story. It’s a growing up story. (Yes, it also has very strong Christian undertones, but most of all it’s a growing up story.)

So, of course Disney changed it into a romance. Which made it all wrong.

Recently Peterson was giving some explanation of how females grow up based on the little mermaid and used the Disney version which made me yell. A friend reminded me 99.9% of people in the US know ONLY the movie version.

But the thing is that the original story is such a perfect allegory of a girl growing up.  This is somewhat obscured in our day of idols and celebrities. Girls often develop a crush on a celebrity or a fictional character, so things don’t work the same.

Due to growing up in pre-history, I had an emotional arc that was exactly like the little mermaid, and my guess is when the story was codified it matched most early adollescent girls.

For those not informed: the mermaid falls in love with the prince, rescues him from drowning but he never knows.  She then trades her aquatic kingdom for land and every step on land feels like walking on knives. Also she’s mute. With those handicaps she can’t attract his love, but there’s also indications she’s too young: he treats her as a pretty child, not a woman. If she can marry him, she’ll become fully human and acquire a soul (which merfolk don’t have.)
The prince marries someone else, and she faces dissolving into foam. Her sisters give her a magical knife. If she kills the prince with it, she’ll be allowed to return to her former life. Instead she throws the knife away and becomes a “daughter of the air.” (some kind of benevolent spirit.)  If she does well at that, she’ll then have a soul.

Now this strikes many people as a not at all happy ending, but it is.

To anyone who’s been a young girl in a traditional society, we know d*mn well what it’s like to fall in love with someone completely our of our reach: a creature from another world.

Young girls, fourteen or so, fall in love with older boys.  Not terribly older, but those we perceive as “men.”  In my case he was 4 years older, which might as well have been 20. Our worlds were completely different, and he viewed me as a little kid.

For that man’s sake, the girl transitions between the comfortable world of childhood and the world of a young woman.  She walks on knives and loses her voice. (Seriously. It felt like that. It’s a sort of acculturation, which is always painful.)  And if she’s lucky, she gets treated like a sort of pet.  As in, what young men do when faced with a child of either sex who adores them.

If she’s very lucky, she also overcomes her jealousy of the woman that man picks, and embraces her destiny as a full grown up being, one who will eventually have a soul of her own, and contract an alliance with a man more suited. Or not. As she pleases, being a grown up with her own soul.

Perhaps that story makes absolutely no sense in this day and age, as between movie-crushes and the fact that sexual-emotional maturity is pushed on girls earlier and earlier there is no dreaming ‘underwater’ garden of childhood for them, and no innocent early teen crushes. In fact, they’ll be encouraged to date boys their own age, by the age-segregated schools.

Maybe the little mermaid, the original, is a memory of a process that no longer happens.  (Whether it’s good or bad that it doesn’t happen is something else. I think it made for more solid, grown up women than the current frantic pseudo adulthood. But maybe I’m just yelling for the youngsters to get off my lawn.) And maybe Disney made the right decision when they turned it into a somewhat juvenile love story.

But to me the movie lost the power and sweet-sadness of the original story, the understanding you can’t always get what you want; that obsession doesn’t give you any right to another person’s love; and that it’s part of growing up to love and lose.

I think that’s what made the story so strong and poignant.  It’s something you can sort of read in the statue of the little mermaid.  A growing up girl, looking back with nostalgia but also understanding on the childhood she lost.

As we all do.

 

297 responses to “So That Little Mermaid Controversy

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Of course, even if the Prince did fall in love with the mermaid, he would be unable to marry her because by the rules of his time, he must marry a noble woman (or royal woman).

    Now, he could have taken her as a lover. 😉

    • It was a fairy tale. Even were he the hero, a shape-shifter or a Mad Magical Being’s Beautiful Daughter is ALWAYS acceptable — and as he’s the love interest, he’s the one who has to be the prince or the shape-shifter or the Mad Magical Being’s Handsome Son.

  2. “Outrage” from troll and probably fake accounts, about a movie many don’t care about, one way or another. What could go wrong?

    • Pretty sure any “outrage” was generated by the PR mills. That’s how cynical I have become of late. Honestly, sometimes it is hard just keeping up.

      • It is a cause of some bitterness to me that experience has proven one can never be cynical enough

        • Hum… I know you rate peppers on the scoville scale. Is there a similar rating scale for cynicism? Starting with simple things, like doesn’t believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, and going up to real tough cynicism, like doesn’t believe own lack of belief? Or maybe doesn’t believe Morpheus has two pills? What is the peak of cynicism? Or perhaps it’s asymptotic, you can get close, but you can never ever reach it…

      • I think I saw something on a lot of the twitter outrage came from accounts with less than 20 followers and many rather newish created. The FB outrage wasn’t much better looking. At least find someone halfway competent to gin up your false outrage publicity!

      • I’ll grant I do not follow Disney and have yet to see most of the Disney movies made in the last, oh, three decades. (I think the two animated Disney films I’ve seen are Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast), but my reaction to the ‘news’ of the casting was: So what? Can the person cast play the part? Yes? Done. Next.

        And really, how many merfolk have gone public? Do people really know what color(s) they are or can be? And if not – why presume they all fit one particular image on a world where humans are not of uniform chrominance? It’s all rather silly, really.

        I do thank Sarah for the interpretation of the original (or originally recorded) story. That, I had not encountered before – or forgot if I had.

        • Randy Wilde

          And really, how many merfolk have gone public?

          Don’t you see that by casting the actress they did, Disney is just perpetuating the problem?

          We should all be outraged by their choice. I bet they didn’t even try to cast an actual mermaid for the role.

          • Well, part of the issue is that the majority of mermaids are of the bathypelagic persuasion. Not to mention they’re not exactly beautiful by human standards, though to be told they don’t find humans terribly attractive either.

            Perhaps the real issue is that we’re trying to impose unrealistic human standards of beauty on mermaids.

        • I’ll have to add Pocahantas and The Little Mermaid to the list, along with two of the Toy Story (1 & 3) and Monsters Inc., with TS1 and MI watched on loooong flights.

          Never got into Hans Christian Andersen’s tales; I recall RAH mentioning the Mermaid in one of his stories (feet hurting like hell rings a bell). I’ll add my thanks too, Sarah!

          • Hrmm, forgot Monsters Inc. (1) and the almost-not-Disney (it was funny!) The Emperor’s New Groove.

            • I forgot Notre Dame, myself. The Menken/Schwartz collaborations in that era made for some really good music, regardless of the issues with the rest of the movies.

              • I have read The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It amazes me to this day that anyone read that and thought “This would make a great kids’ movie!” Everybody dies. EVERYBODY. Even the king of France dies, and he’s a jerk. Okay, so the soldier boy doesn’t die, but he’s a money-seeking status-climbing jerk anyway, and the only other characters that don’t die are the poet and the goat. Frollo dies. Esmerelda dies. Esmerelda’s long-lost mother dies. Quasimodo dies. There is boiling lead.

                Oh, and there’s some really funny architectural snark. Hugo was all about the digressions.

        • >> “And really, how many merfolk have gone public?”

          Too many mythological beings are still in the closet. I applaud your courage for coming out. :p

        • I figured merfolk were all carp-colored….

  3. That’s beautiful. And I can tell you just exactly who my first crush was, and yes, he was young but all grown up. Maybe 22? And he was nice to his co-worker’s daughter and he married a very nice lady his own age.

    But then, we’re of an age. Do girls still go through that? I don’t know.

    • Aimee Morgan

      The Dragonette has had a crush on a boy a year older, and when she got over it, he developed a crush on her. But she is enough like me that she will be a late bloomer, and will cherish her friendships enough to not want to turn every male friend into a boyfriend.

      Until then, she has pinned her hopes on David Tennant, and I can’t say that I blame her.

      • I’m almost 40 and I have a (very mild) crush on David Tennant.

        Though I admit, part of the admiration for him these days (though my crush predates his marriage) is his devotion to his wife (who I also find adorable, for entirely non-romantic/sexual reasons) and children.

        I think your daughter has excellent taste. 😀

        • I’ve mentioned before, but: his readings of the How To Train your Dragon books* are an utter pleasure! His children must be blessed indeed to have a daddy who takes such delight in reading their stories.

          His casting as Crowley in the Good Omens adaptation seems a brilliant stroke and (as I do not stream**) which eagerly await release on DVD (if ever they get there.)

          *Available through Audiible; look for them on sale as they are sufficiently cheap and brief as to not merit spending credits on them

          **absent serious wound or sinus infestation

          • Having seen Good Omens yes, he is utterly perfect as Crowley. And Michael Sheen is perfect as Aziraphale. 🙂

            (In general, that was one of the best adaptations of a book I’ve ever seen–VERY true to the book in almost every way.)

          • I ‘cheated’ and watched the first episode– much glee, very waiting for dear husband to read the dang book!

          • I’ll freely admit that after his short on Susan I cannot stand to read anything by Gaimen, no matter how many people I respect recommend him.

            • I think Gaiman overall is overrated, but Good Omens stands out, for me, because Pratchett co-authored it.

              (I have stayed well away from his short on Susan, because I know it would make me hate him.)

              I will say that the Graveyard Book is a charming (if rather macabre) kids’ book. Everything else I’ve read by him…eh. Good Omens, though, I loved–but that was because of Pterry.

              • I tried reading Gaiman after loving Good Omens– and his stuff was terrible.

                It’s like the difference between a bit of hops, and the IPAs that are all hop and no barley!

                • I am curious as to what you’ve tried. While I admittedly want to like everything I read, I thoroughly enjoyed Gaiman’s Sandman, Coraline, Stardust and particularly Anansi Boys (with its nod deep bow to the Twenties genre best recalled today by the writings of Thorne Smith.) I can understand not liking the deliberate pacing of American Gods (a book which probably is overrated but which I nonetheless enjoyed), especially for readers not already familiar with some of Gaiman’s influences, such as James Branch Cabell (like many authors of his era, JBC is an acquired taste.)

                  I’ve long since given over the idea that my liking a book means anything more than I liked it — it requires arrogance beyond my capability to presume a book I like is therefore good and one I don’t like is necessarily bad — and would not presume to declare your judgments of Gaiman’s work invalid, But even the Susan story I found an interesting experiment, an effort to address a question Lewis implicitly asked. Whether or not I am happy with Gaiman’s answer is a separate matter.

                  One thing I will credit Gaiman for is that I have found very little Grey Goo in his tales.

                  • For the most part I’ve like his retelling of the Norse Myths.

                    Mostly, what I’ve disliked is what he left out, namely Frejya’s acquisition of Brisingamen.

                  • I liked Stardust and Neverwhere. HATED Anansi Boys even after just the first chapter.

                    • Even after just the first chapter? That strikes me as hating a play just from the stage set.

                      Are you familiar with the works of Thorne Smith? He is perhaps best known today as author of book on which the film Topper(1937) was based — starring Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, and Roland Young. Per Wiki, Smith was

                      … best known today for the two Topper novels, comic fantasy fiction involving sex, much drinking and supernatural transformations. With racy illustrations, these sold millions of copies in the 1930s and were equally popular in paperbacks of the 1950s.

                      A recurring theme of his novels was the degree to which his characters repressed their natures in the effort to conform to Society’s expectations of them and that it was by getting in contact with their true natures that one found fulfillment.

                      I suspect that familiarity with Smith is critical to appreciating Gaiman’s employment (and updating) of those themes. One might legitimately complain that such requirement is unreasonably limiting; I cannot gainsay that as I came to the tale of Anansi’s boys already acquainted with Mr. Smith.

                      Still, if he cannot entice you to read beyond the first chapter he has failed you, however much he has satisfied me.

                    • No, the play from the first exchange of dialog — surely you can imagine an opening speech so bad that you don’t bother to stay?

                  • SheSellsSeashells

                    I loved Sandman EXCEPT that I first read “Preludes and Nocturnes” with a 104-degree fever.

                    That was not one of my brighter choices.

                  • I didn’t try Sandman– that’s the illustrated one, right? — although from what I know from fandom I would’ve chucked it at a wall– but literally everything that had his name on it.

                    It’s like…. it felt like talking to that one divorced friend who ABSOLUTELY HAS TO make everything that gets near their ex-spouse into a Point about how bad that ex is. And the most obscure things are “close to” that topic, to the point where I’m not even sure what exactly he doesn’t like– I just got freaking tired of being worn down by random jabs of nasty. And it was like– ‘oh, yes, of course you’re going to do that. Just to spite.’ Like a TV show where the white Christian guy will have to be the evil villain.

                    Given the subject of Good Omens, I would guess it’s religion, specifically Christianity, and further more ‘traditional’ Christianity; Pratchett was good at turning jabs into more universal humor, trying to find what made something so annoying.

                    I recognize that this kind of spite is a very big “NO” button for me, and if other folks can read his stuff OK– I know there are folks here who are friends with a person who has the same characteristic and I don’t hold that against them, I just wouldn’t voluntarily converse with the person.

                    • Yes, Sandman is the comic book series originally published by the DC imprint, Vertigo. There are clips of it floating around image sites if you ever want to seek out previews.

                      The comic series “Lucifer” (of which the TV series was an adaption of) is a spin off from Sandman.

                    • Lucifer is straight up like nails on a chalkboard for me. I have friends who love it, and Dan liked it for a time, but the feel of “wrong,wrong, wrong, miles and miles of wrongitude” pervaded it to such an extent I couldn’t watch it, and even catching bits of it made me growl.
                      What I mean by “his mind tastes wrong.”

                    • Try Anime; there’s stuff like “The Devil is a Part-Timer” that mines the dramatic potential of the situation without the… I don’t know…feeling of sophistry?

                      Saw a thing the other day where someone posted a clip of a demon character saying something like “killing innocent children? not my thing, that’s God’s thing. I just focus on the sinners.”

                      Which is just icky-feeling wrong. That’s someone handing a guy a knife, encouraging him to do a murder, then insisting he did nothing and the guy to blame is the one who didn’t enslave everyone into mindless automatons.

                    • Wait! What? You are accepting a demon‘s word on a thing like that? Of course a demon is going to blame God; if he didn’t think Him wrong he wouldn’t have fallen, would he? If he could accept his own responsibility and acknowledge his need for redemption he wouldn’t still be down here.

                      Next thing is you’ll be accepting the Joker’s arguments as valid.

                    • Of course a demon is going to blame God; if he didn’t think Him wrong he wouldn’t have fallen, would he?

                      You would THINK that’s obvious, wouldn’t you?

                      But a worrying number of folks are all like “ha ha, see, this shows those religious nutbags are stupid and easily manipulated!”

                      And you know full well how the Joker is treated…..

                    • I don’t know that it is fair to hold the writers responsible for the audience’s stupidity — but fair call, they ought make the effort to underline, highlight, boldface and emphasize that a demon is the essence of an unreliable narrator.

                      To quote from the Peter (George) Cook and Dudley (Staley) Moore retelling of Faust:

                      Stanley Moon: I thought you were called Lucifer.

                      George Spiggott: I know. “The Bringer of the Light” it used to be. Sounded a bit poofy to me.

                      [SNIP]

                      George Spiggott: Everything I’ve ever told you has been a lie. Including that.

                      Stanley Moon: Including what?

                      George Spiggott: That everything I’ve ever told has been a lie. That’s not true.

                      Stanley Moon: I don’t know WHAT to believe.

                      George Spiggott: Not me, Stanley, believe me!
                      Bedazzled, (1967)

                    • Hard to claim it’s the audience being stupid when someone’s set up as being worth listening to, just because the paladin is…what, hard to live with?

                    • There’s an amazing number of people who think saying “sky fairy” or “magical super space being” actually achieves something.

                    • In Good Omens, in the book, we get to view the devil’s point of view and see they were actually portraying him as truthful.

                    • Lucifer is taken almost whole cloth from James Branch Cabell’s* interpretation of him in Jurgen, in which the souls of the damned are driving the demons mad with their insistence “I was a terrible, evil person and deserve greater torment!” when, from the demos’ perspective they were minor sinners who have long since served their sentences. Because their true sin was (is) pride … and the demons, for their rebellion, are condemned to serve man’s pride.

                      Lucifer, the TV series, is an exploration of charisma and, naturally, as it is the Devil’s perspective on things, is going to cause issues. His rejection of Our Father is explored as serious daddy-issues with him incapable of solving them because of his own blindness.

                      OTOH, the introduction of Lucifer’s Mom was just wrong in ways beyond number. The series had (has, I guess, as it is now on Netflix) major problems due to its failure to fully think through a theological underpinning, something more to be blamed on the show-runner than on Gaiman and all too common in long-form American television (House eventually suffered a similar problem.)

                      In my experience, few couples will follow a television series that gives one the icks; the pleasure to be found in such art forms is that of discussing it with friends and loved ones. Thus it is not surprising Dan abandoned it. Nor is it any more of a “failure” for you to not like it than it would be to not like a dish heavily using cilantro — some things simply do not taste right to some palates and that is all there is to it.

                      *I have previously recommended Cabell as a major influence on the young Robert Heinlein and worth reading for that if no other reason. Like anything of that era, he is an acquired taste, written for a more leisurely society and one questioning the “eternal verities” which had led to such an unsatisfactory mediocre war. Jurgen is probably not the first of his books to read, however; I suggest Figures of Earth, available from Audible, as an initial sample. Coming off from it you will have an understanding of his approach and general perspective which will make other works more approachable (if you don’t decide from the first one that whatever RAH’s view, you would not approach others without a ten-foot stick.)

              • Donald Campbell

                Is this Susan, Death’s granddaughter? If Gaiman mistreated her, may the Death of Rats torment him to the end of his life.

                • Pevensie.

                  I considered describing what little I remembered of the story, but 1. some people might prefer not to be spoiled and 2. if on the off chance I have somehow misremembered, I would hate to either malign him or reveal that my own brain came up with what I think happened in it. (Although I suppose I could’ve mixed it up with some other unfortunate work.)

                • No, it’s Gaiman’s take on the ending to the Chronicles of Narnia.
                  Which deliberately spits in Lewis’s face.

                  • /agree

                    While making it clear that he missed the point, on the level of that song “signs” when taken without irony. (still not sure if that was supposed to be ironic)

                    • Is that the “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign” one or a different one?

                    • Yeah, that one, the one where the “long haired hippy-freak” goes in and applies for a job, then yanks off his hat and gloats about how he like showed them, maaaaan.

                      ….showed them that their policy was completely accurate, maybe.

                    • And the sign said
                      “Everybody welcome
                      Come in, kneel down and pray”

                  • I am going to agree to disagree there. It is told from Susan Pevensie’s point of view, as the one left behind having lost her siblings in a tragic train accident. It says nothing about Lewis’ tale (that I recall) and somewhat about Susan’s dealing with being the survivor (so far as she knows.).

                  • I don’t like the taste of Gaiman’s mind.
                    I do like Good Omens, which has enough redemptive notes. Though why make Himself female in the TV series. Wait, because of course they did and Gaiman is the one alive.
                    I am also not fond of the gentleman in person. So I don’t read him.

              • So you’re saying read Good Omens for Pratchett, not Gaiman? 😉 I may compromise and watch part of the show.

                Increasingly though, my efforts at our game adaption is taking up too much of my time for viewing.

            • I find him immensely uneven.

              • There are damned few authors I cannot say that about, even Heinlein. Even Sarah, for that matter. but it seems to me what most matters is how that unevenness plays out: it is one thing if an author is generally mediocre with flashes of adequacy and something else entirely for an author to be generally good and occasionally stunningly brilliant.

  4. Most of “folklore” I know only by indirect references, other than the radically expurgated (and evidently Woke) bits we got in school. And Disney was never part of my childhood experience. Nor were comic books, for that matter.

    Speaking as an outsider, I’m mystified that anyone would even *care*, much less work up any noticeable outrage.

    • Evidently marketing departments and suchlike are stuck in the 1960’s or something. I suspect most people in the USA stopped caring about ‘race’ before 1980, but those who try to claim “thought leader” status try to give things inertia so they can claim such… despite that they are merely following, and rather badly lagged at that.

      • It isn’t that most people care about race — it is that those who do are the racists: the people who DEMAND that people who look like them are cast in movies.

        Most everyone else is “Meh – can the person play the role? Can they act/sing/dance/punch credibly enough for the part?” Nobody likes being called racist*, of course, but neither do many people think it worth $30 and a trip to a movie theatre to defend against such accusation.

        *Nor sexist, but that sold surprisingly few tickets to the Ghostbusters remake, nor Booksmart nor any other recent effort to demonstrate women can express their inner frat boy.

        • Long ago, back on the BIX online system, in the late 1980s… in the .sf subforum there was a discussion about casting a movie version of “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

          Various actors were suggested for Jubal Harshaw, until someone said, “James Earl Jones.” And that part of the thread collapsed when everyone went, “well, obviously, who else?”

          • Oh, YES!

            I don’t care that this actress is black, actually. I won’t go to see the movie, though, because she is alive.

            I tend to “fix” my image of what should be by the first movie or show that I enjoy, which is why I wouldn’t go to see this one even if she were a red-headed buxom teen with a gutectomy – my image is fixed by the animated version. (I would go to see the adaptation of the original tale – but I would treat it as something entirely separate.) Live action Lion King, the same. I did suffer through the live action 101 Dalmatians, and hated it – even though intellectually there was some fine acting in it. OTOH, I probably wouldn’t enjoy an animated Mary Poppins like I do the live action movie. Or a Bedknobs and Broomsticks that was missing Angela Lansbury.

            I suppose that this is why I probably will never read the original Marvel comics, either – Nick Fury is indelibly Samuel L. Jackson to me. Comics history and reality be damned.

          • Ah, but who would we get to play Valentine Michael Smith? What young adult actor has the looks and the bearing to carry off a respectable portrayal of an angelic, charismatic, male, other-worldly messiah?
            (And please don’t say Tilda Swinton. I like her as an actress, but that role would be ridiculous.).

            • I doubt there is anybody in Hollywood capable of carrying off the kind of innocence the character requires. Perhaps there have been some over the years — Michael York comes to mind, around the time of his portrayal of D’Artagnan in Three and Four Musketeers.

              It’s too late now, but Beloved Spouse & I had pegged Robert Guillaume for Manny in MiaHM. Not sure who I’d cast from our current crop … Bruce Willis? Matthew McConaughey (or is he Stuart LaJoie)? Some of the other roles there seem very simple. Harrison Ford as Prof? Or Adam Selene. There are a bevy of actresses who’d kill to play Wyoh, so why not Thunderdome it on PPV to fund the production? It’s a brief part, but howabout Dwayne Johnson for Shorty Mkrum? For Hazel Meade I like Kaitlyn Dever (Eve baxter on Last Man Standing, Loretta McCready from Justified)

        • SheSellsSeashells

          At this point, I interpret “racist” as “The person calling me that wants 1) to shut me up or 2) to cause me pain, and I am under no obligation to heed them.”

          • I take my lead from Ken hamblin’s argument: when they resort to that type of tactic they’ve conceded they can’t win the argument and are trying to get me to get myself thrown out of the game:

            MASH (1970):
            Cpl. Judson: Bastard, 88, called me a coon.

            Spearchucker: Called you a what?

            Cpl. Judson: Coon.

            Spearchucker: OK, that’s an old pro trick, to get you thrown out of the ball game.

            Cpl. Judson: Well…

            Spearchucker: Why don’t you do the same thing to him?

            Cpl. Judson: What, call him a coon?
            https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066026/quotes/qt0272104

        • Are the people who care about race, because they DEMAND that the people who are cast in movies look like the character was described still racists?

          (Though I’d point out that Johnny Rico’s casting was insignificant compared to the other changes.)

          • I was a bit annoyed that Buenos Aires was apparently full of white people. I was REALLY annoyed that they couldn’t pronounce “Buenos Aires” properly.

            (I have watched that movie more than once, for my sins. My husband thinks it’s funny.)

    • I’m slightly miffed, but it’s mostly because I’m generally slightly miffed at the current habit of changing the race or gender or both of established well-known characters in general, and that it’s always changing the race or gender of a white and/or male one into POC and/or female. You want more POC and female protagonists and heroes in movies, start making original ones with new characters – and there certainly should be plenty enough things like fairy tales from the African continent which could be turned into Disney ones and so on that you would not run out of sources to create those new films. Besides, is the impression that mostly just stories by white people – old European fairy tales and so on – are something good enough to succeed big something Disney or any of these other creators really want to convey?

      Mind you, it’s mostly on the level “somewhat irritated”, nowhere near anything like “outrage”.

  5. c4c

  6. elainethomp

    you’ve finally made complete sense of that story to me. I loved it as a kid but as an adult could never quite grasp it. I always felt I was missing something. Now I think you’ve identified what.
    Thanks

  7. It’s the way you defend the memories of your childhood.

    Defending the memories of your childhood is now a thought crime. All that is permitted is tenuous retention of warm fuzzies — any actual memory is an infringement of the rights of the copyright holder and restriction on the artist’s freedom to tell you how to think. Those memories you are trying to hold are property of the manufacturer and may be revised at the producer’s initiative.

    You have been warned! Only a racist/sexist/whateverphobe would claim possession of those memories absent express permission of the producer.

  8. There was an animated version in North America that predates Disney’s by about 15 years (trying to recall, I was quite young at the time), which was true to the story. If I can recall who produced it and can find a link, I will come back and post it.

    When I saw the Disney version, it was “Decent sound track, pretty animation, but that’s not the actual story”. Having a German mother, I grew up reading the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and Rudyard Kipling, as well as copious volumes of Greek and Roman mythology; my childhood was the richer for it.

    I don’t think Walt would recognize his company anymore. The early takes on fairy tales (Snow White and Sleeping Beauty) didn’t sanitize, hide or apologize for evil, they acknowledged it fully (even with the happy endings). The Evil Queen falls to her death while being pursued by the dwarves and forrest creatures; after a dark and intense fight, Malificent is defeated by a well placed sword through the heart (as opposed to being rehabilitated into some wronged feminist heroine by prope-Disney).

    I guess this is why we can’t have nice things.

  9. As in, what young men do when faced with a child of either sex who adores them.

    As in, what decent young men do when faced with a child of either sex who adores them.

    Given the news breaking about Jeffrey Epstein’s activities …

    • Odd. That thought crossed my mind also. I think it’s pretty well proven that the tendency for powerful males to take advantage of vulnerable young females is probably genetic. And it’s how well we acculturate them growing up that makes the difference between them being monsters, and being gentlemen.

      As for the same conduct when used on same sex members, I have to suspect dominance assertion in those cases. We are not nice animals when improperly domesticated.

  10. I didn’t like the ‘original’ version of the Little Mermaid–partly because I’d already been inculcated with the Disney idea of “happy ending = wedding” and also because I suspect something had been lost in the translation I read. I recall being left with a strong sense of “she died and that was it” more than anything else, but that’s probably not accurate. More likely, the whole ‘spirit of air’ thing was too damn vague in that version to have made any kind of impression beyond “depressing.”

    I did have a fairly unexpurgated version of some of Grimms’ tales from early on, and the gruesomeness of many (most) of them left an impression. Not a bad one, but enough of one that I knew fairly early on that Disney’s versions were awfully sanitized. I mean, Snow White’s evil stepmum was supposed to have been put in red-hot iron shoes and forced to dance until she dropped dead at the wedding! Cinderella’s stepsisters cut off bits of their feet! There was even the Beauty and the Beast version (not Grimm, I know) that had the sisters getting their eyes pecked out by birds! (Which seemed, even on the level of fairy-tale retribution, rather extreme.) Or one where they were turned to stone. (I admit, in that particular fairy tale, I prefer the rather softer Robin McKinley versions, where the sisters were decent sisters–and especially the Rose Daughter versions where they had been quite flawed, and unkind to others in particular, if not their baby sister, and had character/redemption arcs of their own. And who rolled up their sleeves and worked just as hard to help the family survive post-fall as Beauty did.)

    I suspect that’s why my two favorite Disney films aren’t fairy tale adaptations. One is the Great Mouse Detective (because I love Sherlock Holmes in almost any form), and the other is Mulan (where she doesn’t even KISS the “prince” character, there’s just an invitation to dinner).

    • Cinderella in the original French version was worse than any of these. My mom had the book.

    • Cinderella’s stepsisters cut off bits of their feet!

      I loved sharing this tidbit while selling kids shoes. Really puts a damper on the “Yes, Mom, I know [there’s no room to grow/they’re already too small] but I want them!” whine.

      I’m also a huge fan of Mulan. I wish they hadn’t done the obligatory Eddie Murphy, but her arc of foremost wanting to make her father proud was one that resonated with me far more than the normal romance angle.

      • Heh. This brings back memories of Daughtorial Unit’s childhood in which “TOO TIGHT!” was the response to almost any shoes tried. We could have given her clown shoes and she’d have proclaimed them too tight. We finally convinced her that she was free (encouraged, even) to express stylistic preferences in her footware and did not need to denounce any she disliked as binding.

      • Donald Campbell

        I gave up after Pocahontas [I was 43, but you’re never too old]. The scenery was beautiful… as in the type Sarah sees. Virginia does not have that kind of mountains, and besides, I live near Pocahontas’ old stomping ground [the Mattaponi Indians are about a 15 minute drive away and are descendants of the Powhatans], and trust me, you can’t even see the Appalachian Mountains from here. Subsitute a malaria filled fetid swamp for the mountains if you want historical accuracy.

        • I *hated* Pocahontas. Because even at the age of 15 I knew that she’d been a child when the whole John Smith thing happened? And that she hadn’t ever married him, she married John Rolfe, went to England, and died there. (And that wasn’t just because I was a history buff–we’d even learned that in crappy public school!)

          (Disney very, very slightly redeemed themselves with the sequel, in which she at least married the right guy–which I saw my first year of college–though we all still sneered at the vast inaccuracies in it.)

          • Donald Campbell

            In Virginia, Jamestown and early history was taught probably 5-6 grade. Pocahontas figures prominently, but the most memorable was John Smith “No work, no eat”. I bet they no longer quote that cautionary tale. I went to William and Mary and I was disqusted that the third floor classrooms had fluorescent lights.

        • SheSellsSeashells

          My husband the history buff grew up in rural Virginia and got dragged on colonial-ish field trips twice a year. Do not get him STARTED on Disney’s Pocahontas.

        • I knew John Smith was a middle aged professional soldier. Red beard, bald on top of his head.

          And the history teacher showed the movie in class.

      • For what it’s worth, apparently quite a few Chinese are upset that there won’t be a Mushu character in the live action Mulan. Make of that what you will.

        My co-worker and I were looking over the cast list earlier today, and noted that there’s no Shan Yu. Apparently the bad guy is a Hun named Bori Khan, and is working with a witch. I was disappointed to learn that.

    • I didn’t care for it either, growing up. The ending.. And I grew up devouring the Coloured Fairy Books from Andrew Lang, so oh boy yeah, I was used to the bad guys (and good, at least until they sorted their stuff out) suffering horrible fates. The Little Mermaid’s ending felt hollow and disappointing. It wasn’t happy, it just was. That may have been a translation problem, as you say. Or my reading it once, when I was too young to grasp the full sense of it, and never going back until I was an adult.

      • Those books I read thoroughly. The French literary ones were not that impressive even in my omnivorous childhood, but given the great mass of other tales, that’s a small fault.

      • “It wasn’t happy, it just was.”

        Which actually is a very good life lesson. Most of life just is. Happiness comes from hard work, and a bit of luck. The work you can do, the luck, well, most people don’t win the lottery.

    • Yep, the version I read said she “melted into sea-foam.”

      • Okay, so I’m not completely misremembering!!! I hated that. It was so pointless.

        • The version I read had to body melt to sea foam, and her spirit was lifted to the ‘spirits of the air’ where she had to spend 500 years wandering into and out of houses, and for every good child she blessed 3 years was removed from her time. But for every wicked child she found she had to weep over them which added 7 years, or 1 year per tear, don’t remember exactly, just that the math worked out against her. If her time was ever up then she’d get a soul and get to go to heaven. My interpretation was worse than just ‘she died’. It was “She died and then she gets kicked again, this time by God.”

          I also remember her motivation was NOT love of the prince (though that was why she wound up on the specific path she was on.) But there was a whole spiel at the beginning about her not wanting to turn into sea foam after 300 years of life that was allotted to mermaids and her sisters telling her to get over herself. Her primary motivation was the soul.

          There could be a translation/elaboration issue. But I HATED the original as presented in the version we had growing up. Haven’t re-read it as an adult.

      • I’ve never read it myself (the only HCA story I ever liked was The Ugly Duckling), but I’ve heard the “melted into sea foam” thing from a number of people.

    • There was even the Beauty and the Beast version (not Grimm, I know) that had the sisters getting their eyes pecked out by birds!

      You sure about that? Because that is EXACTLY what happens in Aschenputtel.

      • I haven’t seen that in B&B. But it does happen in one version of Cinderella. My vague recollection is that it’s a version in which the slippers are gold instead of glass.

    • Two of my favorite animated Disney movies are also not, technically, adaptations, “Lady and the Tramp” and “The Lion King”. (yes, I know, TLK can be considered Hamlet, and some claim that it is a copy of Kimba the white lion, but there is no book/story with the same characters.) Cinderella and Snow White are on the list because of the art and music. The rest I don’t care for in part because I either read the source material (Aladdin) or am familiar with the original story(Beauty and the Beast, Little mermaid, Hunchback …).

    • I noticed that my favorites of recent years are Mulan (I know, not that recent, but I’m talking post-Little Mermaid), The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and Moana. There’s a certain trend in their heroines that I really like. (Rapunzel is very scarred by her childhood, but she still has a pretty good attitude.)

  11. I just want Disney to stop it with the live action remakes, period. Leave my childhood alone, dangit!

    • Donald Campbell

      Typically, the live action remakes s*ck. But kind of like everything in Hollywood, no new talent, just recycle old movies, tv shows, comic books.
      Disney, of course is totally incapable of making the kind of animations Walt and Company made, so true classic animation is a dead art, at least here.

      • Not only no talent, but an alarmingly superficial grasp of the concept — “if it has spaceships and monsters it’s SF” level of grok. They think the trappings ARE the story, and if you think different, you just don’t understand.

        Then again, that’s just normal leftardedness…

    • Eh…of the ones I’ve seen, anyway…I’ve ended up liking them better than the original versions. I deplore the clear lack of ideas for content that this indicates, but since thus far they’re telling really good and entertaining stories, I find few reasons to complain. (Except about The Lion King ::shudders::)

      And they haven’t ruined my childhood so far–unlike what they’ve done with Star Wars (other than Rogue One, which was awesome).

      I would like to see more original content, though–but I’ve been saying that for decades. I want more of Atlantis: the Lost Empire, or Lilo and Stitch (which I forgot to add as my third favorite Disney movie, dangit!). But Disney has always been awfully risk-averse, and shied away from projects like that since critics seemed to trash them every time.

      • Rogue One was easily the best film in the franchise since The Empire Strikes Back.

        The Force Awakens was okay. Not great, but Okay. Better than the Prequels.

        Solo was fun. Not really good, but fun. Needed to be maybe 45 minutes longer to flesh the whole plot out, or else cut out Kessell or the Train Heist.

        We shall never speak of The Last Jedi. Ever.

        • The Last Jedi was a dumpster fire. And the reason I haven’t brought myself to watch Solo yet–but I really should watch Solo.

          • The Last Jedi was a classic example of reach exceeding grasp, a decent main plot about a mentor and student helping each other grow with a mediocre heist subplot and a terrible space mutiny subplot bolted on.

          • I didn’t watch Solo until a few months ago. Like I said, it’s not a particularly good movie, but it is a lot of fun. And nowhere near as bad as The Dumpster Fire That Shall Not Be Named

            • Playing with film language and the audience’s expectations on the way they edited the climactic shot in Solo was genius.

        • John C. Wright’s multipart take on TLJ was worth reading in detail. I believe I watched Prequel 1 in the theater, but skimmed 2 and 3 on DVD. Once I heard of Lucas messing around with Who Shot First*, any desire to continue went away.

          (*) Was it I Don’t Give a Damn? Sorry, channeling Abbot and Costello.

      • The problem is the producers and executives at Disney are all “woken”.

    • Yeah, this. I mean, I am not remotely interested in showing my kids the CGI ‘realistic’-ed Lion King.

      And I am seriously hoping they leave Lilo and Stitch alone.

      • Yeah, I really WILL be pissed if they mess with Lilo and Stitch!!!

        I swear the idiots who decided doing the Lion King was a good idea have NEVER heard of the Uncanny Valley. Or thought, somehow, it didn’t apply to animal characters? Still. ::shudders::

        And while I have tolerated or even approved some of the recasting in the remakes, not having Jeremy Irons voice Scar again was just WRONG.

        • I liked Lilo and Stitch only later in life; I found it initially a bit chaotic to watch (but I was also going through a ‘quiet’ phase where I didn’t like watching movies a lot then.)

          But no, Lilo and Stitch should be left alone. A lot of the stuff they did wouldn’t translate well into RL-ification. If they did a remake, the art team from Big Hero 6 should be on that, and should be that same type of cartoony CGI. That’d be the only way I could see it working at all.

    • Aren’t they doing it for shenanigans with copyright, trademarks, and patents? Disney has been a malignant influence on copyright law.

  12. a memory of a process that no longer happens.

    Is no longer permitted to happen. What with the MSM shoving [DELETED] in everybody’s faces, with “SexEd” in the schools focusing on Devil-Knows-What and the emphasis on teen girls trying to look not graceful, not lovely, not self-possessed but “hot” our attention is increasingly focused on the lustful beast and distracted from the bonding of souls.

    It doesn’t make people happy, because happiness is an expression of our souls, not our bodies. But it does leave everybody with a feeling of dissatisfaction with love, with life, with the people around them. Unlike the little mermaid we cannot return to the undersea garden (not that she could, either) but must persist in a half-life of thwarted desire, subsisting on spiritual junk food.

    We shan’t even begin to engage in the perversions pursued by those who imagine that the material existence can ever provide spiritual solace. It isn’t a matter of “who” you love, because you are looking for love in all the wrong places.

    • Sad but true. Was watching Shazam! with the family last night (such a fun, charming movie, overall) and when Billy comments how he was a bit puzzled and thought that Lust should have been hot or something, I realized this was a (perhaps unintentional) bit of wisdom on the filmmakers’ parts: because lust IS ugly. Desire is not ugly, but lust is, because it involves not meaningful connection with another human being but rather objectification. At least, that was my take on it. ::shrugs::

      • I remember somebody noting that the film (I haven’t seen it yet) had missed what should have been an obvious opportunity to connect the sin of Lust and a scene with the preteen boys getting hold of a girlie magazine, but I guess they got one bit right.

  13. I despise Disney’s Little Mermaid, because Ariel is a spoiled selfish brat who bullies her friends and suffers no permanent consequences for her actions. How much do I hate her? My longest writing project to date is a sequel wherein Eric’s kingdom was invaded when he broke off the engagement that cemented a peace treaty in order to marry her, and she spends the next two decades trying to get “her” queendom back because everything has to be about her.

    As for the race-shift, my only real complaint is how it’s part of this weirdly specific Hollywood trend of replacing gingers with blacks: Ariel, Pepper from Good Omens, Annie, Heimdall, etc. (https://imgur.com/gallery/uMfha)

    • Especially egregious since you can find Afro-carribean redheads
      (Sorry for the Huffpost link):
      https://www.huffpost.com/entry/photographs-redheads-of-color_n_55db9929e4b0a40aa3abf017

    • Donald Campbell

      Transgender is next. Blacks are so last decade.

      • As evidenced by Supergirl.

        • …I’m glad I missed whatever it was. I’m hearing enough about transgenderism as it is.

          • They added a new character in the most recent season. The character (and the actress) is transgender. Which would merit a ‘meh’ from me except that roughly every 4th episode or so there’s a moment where the character makes a big deal about being trans and has a monologue about it. Generally adds nothing to the plot, it’s just there to score points with the ‘correct’ crowd.

            • Oh, the endless screaming of “I AM (inserthinghere)” that’s … not important to the story.

              Very glad I missed it then.

              • I’d have given up on Supergirl long ago except that I find it helpful to know what’s been going on in the show for the yearly Arrowverse crossover episode. Supergirl isn’t just trying to be PC and woke, it’s beating the viewers over the head with the woke-sledgehammer. Most of the time it gets in the way of the plot. I generally don’t mind subtle stuff that is just there and doesn’t interfere with the story, but Supergirl is all about interfering with the story. I suspect the new Batwoman show is going to be the same, from the couple of commercials I’ve seen.

                • And that, right there, is why Beloved Spouse & I deep-sixed the show after the start of the third year. I don’t recall the proximate cause, but we shared a glance and asked: does either of us even care about this anymore? BLIP went the DVR and our time was reallocated to things that don’t annoy us annoy us less. Frankly, Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant was about the only reason for watching the show and then just barely.

                  Are you aware that The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show is on Antenna TV? Still brilliantly hilarious sixty years after first broadcast!


                  Watch three minutes, 14:24 through 17:25.

                  • I’ll skip the clip until I get the cheap bandwidth slot (satellite internet; better than dialup, but it’s meh), but Burns and Allen were fantastic. As was the Dick Van Dyke show–do I have to admit I watched both those shows when they first came out?

                    $SPOUSE will watch some shows I’ve not gotten into, but the list of what we watch is getting more selective. NCIS still, with NCIS-NOLA on probation, Elementary and Last Man Standing for commercial broadcast.

                    British mysteries get the goahead.

                    Endeavour was good, though I saw almost no DCI Morse, but started with Kevin Whatley’s Lewis. We’ll try Granchester, though we would prefer the detective to have a semblance of normality somewhere in his/her life. Midsomer Murders fit that; John Nettle’s Tom Barnaby was the sane-ish center of mysteries with a body count envied by some socialist dictators. The new Barnaby is growing on us.

                    Bleak and/or midnight-dark shows, no. The Tunnel got walled after the first season for $SPOUSE, and I skipped Hinterland after a while, cheating by reading the snippets in the Wiki article.

                    The local PBS station seems to have forgotten British Comedy, or was that the BBC? Dawn French in anything is fun, as well as Chef. Last of the Summer Wine probably should have ended a few years before it did, but that’s not unusual.

                    $SPOUSE doesn’t care for televised SF. Perhaps I shouldn’t have tried Alcatraz, though we both liked Person of Interest.

                    • I sympathize about bandwidth – that is part of why I do not stream (well, bandwidth is okay but internet is at extreme opposite end of house from the TV I would watch with.) The particular segment features a hypnotist “persuading” Gracie that she is the smartest woman in the world — and what is particularly delightful is the recognition they display of what true intelligence entails.

                      As for Britcoms … the ones I like I am wholly for, and the ones which don’t strie me funny don’t strike me funny — but rarely do they make me cast my eyes astray in horror, a reaction Beloved Spouse & I experience with almost all American TV comedies (Our enjoyment of Last Man Standing is slightly diminished by the ads for whatever that horrible thing set in the old folks — The Cool Kids? — home. If you are not already familiar with Yes, Minister and its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister I cannot endorse those highly enough; absolutely suprb exploration of the battle between elected pols, the Deep State and (coming in a very distant third) the Public Interest.

                      We’ve not seen Chef although we’ve bought the DVD and are looking forward to getting the DVR down below 40% and feeling at leisure to watch a disk. That device took a severe hit when we discovered a channel running the complete Babylon 5, and others running Danger Man (the Patrick McGoohan show which appeared stateside as Secret Agent. We have yet to find anything with Geoffrey Palmer which didn’t please, so would endorse Butterflies (with Wendy Craig) and As Time Goes By (with Judi Dench.)

                    • Donald Campbell

                      I canceled DirecTV and put the money saved into upgrading my satellite internet. I can stream a single TV. Certainly still not Family friendly. My best friend in the FIOS big city can have every TV running where the kids are xboxing simultaneously.
                      Other than one of those same xboxing kids jailbreaking my Fire TV, hooking it up my TV to test it, I’ve never used it.

                    • Chef is quite good. I don’t know if they did other seasons, but what we saw was wonderful. There’s a tagline about economics that’s priceless in context.

                      Never saw Butterflies, but As Time Goes By was a must-see.

            • There ain’t NUTHIN like an action flick with a 5-minute lecture thrown in.

            • I didn’t make it past the first episode of that show. It felt like something was missing, and I blamed it on poor writing (my noting that the misogynist villain of the first episode was working for a woman didn’t help matters). I turned it on again for the episode with the Flash guest appearence (since I still enjoyed that show at the time). But that episode wasn’t any better. The fact that it felt as if they’d shoehorned Flash into an episode in which he felt like a fifth wheel during an episode required for the season arc didn’t help.

            • Randy Wilde

              As I understand it, the character is not only transgender, but has superpowers which are inherited only through the female line? So how you identify overrides genetics, I guess.

              I’m hoping that I just wasn’t paying close attention and got it wrong… but this is Hollyweird we’re talking about.

    • Yeah, Ariel was/is a horrible little snot. I mean, I was briefly obsessed with the Little Mermaid when it first came out–but that was more because FINALLY A REDHEAD PRINCESS. But I didn’t actually like HER. (Nor did I ever want to dress up as her, for that matter.)

      And I think you pinpointed my very faint irritation with the casting: I don’t actually care if Ariel is black or not, but darnit stop erasing all the redheads!

      • My biggest memory from watching The Little Mermaid in the theatres was that the scene with Ursula scared my younger brother so much that he fled from the theatre, crying, forcing my Dad to go chase after him and sit outside with him. Dad enjoyed Disney movies so he went back with me, because I didn’t mind seeing it another time (the theatres then had intermissions and snack-selling ladies.)

        I figured that Triton would’ve been fine with Ariel’s little stash of treasures, but saving the human and falling for someone she didn’t even know, yeah even then I thought it was kind of stupid.

        • Heh. And even at NINE her protest of “I’m 16, I’m not a child anymore!” was met with “Uhhh…yeah you are…”

          • LMAO yeah! I was like “You’re not 18.” Dad burst out laughing that I couldn’t hold my suspension of disbelief that long. I think I was 9 too. Hehehe

            • That’s perfectly in keeping with the “coming of age” of the original story, however, and the specific age is more because of our current cultural obsession with age-related permissive statuses than anything else. Age of adulthood (not connected with things like puberty) is pretty arbitrary, after all. And in the movie, the big party and concert was kind of her “debut”, which could logically be considered part of a transition to adutlhood.

              • Oh yeah, I know. I mean, my culture has the debut still; at least for the middle class and above. I attended at least one, complete with the 18 candles and the 18 roses and banquet and princess ballgown for the debutante. But I’d been aware by that point of the Hollywood arbitrary adulthood being 18 (it was likely in relation to the R18 markers on some rental videos and movies), and since I knew Disney = US film industry… so.

                Mind, I was also a bit more aware that at 16 you were supposed to start behaving more like an adult (because that’s how it was for my older cousins) with all the responsibilities and expectations (but not yet all the leniency and pleasures) of being an adult, mostly to get them used to the former before indulging in the latter.

                Ariel still wasn’t behaving like an adult, even if she wasn’t a child any more, to my younger self.

                • *interested* A quinceañero (yes, I looked up the spelling!) someplace that isn’t ‘mezoamerica’?

                  Any idea of the origins, like those presentation parties for England?

                  • The thing we have seems to be a mashup of the quinceañero and the classic ladies’ debut, which doesn’t surprise me given the supposedly Spanish-era origins of the thing (I only vaguely heard that they were that, and that was all I heard, sorry) – they’re more popular amongst the wealthier economic classes, though it isn’t unusual for some girls to opt for something else. I opted to just have my dad take me shopping for books (and he got me a piece of 18k gold jewelry, a necklace, if I recall correctly), and a classmate of mine opted for a European trip with one of our other classmates, and they stayed with us in Paris for a few days,to a week.

                    The idea is, socially anyway, to try get a rather shy girl to overcome her shyness by being the focus of a whole party. (Since being demure and shy is considered a desirable virtue for young Filipina ladies, this whole thing didn’t make sense to me.)

        • we had that with Robert and the Hunchback of Notredame.

          • Hahaha, I took younger sibs to see that, and very nearly ended up covering their eyes during the villain’s song. Yeah, Disney, um…did we forget the ‘family friendly’ part…?

            Hunchback had fantastic music, at least. One of Disney’s best from that era–I’d have been happy to watch an entire film of just the gypsy king/leader/whatever he was singing, that guy had an INCREDIBLE voice. FPity the movie overall totally failed on the plot department, and also missing the whole point of what Hugo was getting at. (Disney really needs to twig to the fact that some stories really, really shouldn’t be Disney-fied…)

            • The story I heard was that Disney demanded a frame-by-frame review of that song to make sure the Esmerelda hallucination was clothed.

              Hunchback’s strength is definitely the music, and Hellfire (the villain song) is far and away my favorite. The Latin chanting in the beginning and underneath Frollo’s singing is the Confiteor — so at the same time Frollo is singing about “Beata Maria, you know I’m so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd” the congregation is singing “I confess that I have sinned in thought and word and deed.” That bridge where the choir of robes pop up? He’s singing “It’s not my fault” while they are responding “mea culpa!” It’s a great theological dynamic of the self-righteous “Christian” verses the humble real Christians. Several other tracks have great bonuses like this, including the intro where Quasimodo’s mother attempts to get sanctuary and attack on Notre Dame having the Dies Irae.

              That being said, there’ll always be a soft spot in my heart for the rhyme in “A Guy Like You”:
              We all have gaped at some Adonis,
              But then we crave a meal more nourishing to chew,
              And since you’re shaped like a croissant is,
              No question of, she’s got to love, a guy like you.

            • Disney recently did a Broadway version of Hunchback where they actually upped the age level and had Esmerelda and Quasimodo die. When they did it in Sacramento (and later Los Angeles), they actually cast a deaf actor to play Quasimodo* and had somebody else on stage singing while he signed.

              *True to the book.

          • Robby the Robot scared the crap out of 5 year old me. (Got better within a few years; Robot in Lost in Space was hilarious, though I wasn’t quite sure if it was supposed to be.) Forbidden Planet grew on me later; it was the first movie I rented once I bought a VCR.

      • How about the red-headed princess hwo is a snot but gets better?

        The Duchess has been obsessed with “shooting arrow” (since NONE of us can say her name, yay gaelic) since before almost before she could talk.

        • I get called Merida a LOT by my younger cousins. All of whom I took to see that movie. And I loved that that one WASN’T a romance, but a mother-daughter love story in which neither character was made out to be a villain.

  14. I don’t know anything about Disney movies because we never had that when I was growing up, but… they “improved” Enid Blyton’s stories?! Is nothing sacred?

    (I absolutely dread to think. “Trans girls” in the swimming pool at Malory Towers? The Secret Seven rooting out racial microaggressions, the Faraway Tree folk holding climate protests? Don’t tell me, I don’t want my childhood ruined…)

  15. Ah, could be worse then, but I dislike that kind of updating too. The thing is, those books were already thoroughly “outdated” in terms of technology, culture, etc. even when I was a child in the 70s/80s, and in any case were never a particularly accurate depiction of the average British child’s life (most of us didn’t go to expensive boarding schools or have families who owned an island!) That not only didn’t matter, it was a large part of their appeal. I didn’t *want* to read about situations that looked exactly like my real life in the present; the joy of reading was escaping into a fantasy world where people lived differently (I can see that certain ‘of their time’ things like naughty golliwogs and wicked gypsies would be a bit unpalatable these days (!) but phones and computers? Just why? Write modern stories AS WELL, sure, but leave the old ones alone!)

    • They were outdated in the sixties and seventies, when I read them.

      • Meh. What seems out of date is people’s imaginations. The Little House on the Prairie books are hopelessly outdated, as are all of Mark Twain’s work, and Hornblower’s tales (Aubrey & Maturin even more so) and Grapes of Wrath, Les Miserables, everything by Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, and uncountable SF authors.

        To say nothing of Jane Austen’s works. Oh, if only Lizzie Bennet has carried a cell phone that day she and her sister took refuge at Mr. Bingley’s manor! Or if she could have Googled Mr. Wickham!!

        Ye gods and little fishes! These books are called freaking classics because their stories stand the test of time, conveying something significant about the human condition in spite of the fact that they lack modern trappings.

        It isn’t as if the Harry Potter books accurately express the mores of our times, but millions of kids managed to grind their way through the books all the same.

        • I still loved/devoured Blyton.

          • Yeah, that’s just because you are in reality an upper-crust English schoolgirl and could thus identify with the characters. Nobody could possibly have imagination enough to identify with people totally estranged from their own experiences.

            • wait, what? I was an uppercrust English school girl in the… 30s? Damn it, I want the time machine back.

              • Randy Wilde

                I was going to ask if that was before or after you were a white male Mormon.

                But I guess with the time machine, before and after don’t really have any meaning.

          • Blyton is awesome. My mom grew up on Blyton (I come from a line of military families stationed in Europe) and hooked me on her books when I was little. Seems a travesty to modernize them. Besides, how would that even work? No cell signal in the room the bad guys trap the kids in?

        • The classics have essential moral vitamins. And iron. Usually the cannonball sort.

        • I don’t understand why younger readers are supposed to be unable to conceive the world without smartphones, when earlier generations didn’t expect Butch Cassidy or Paul Revere to have land lines…

          I suspect the true inability is in the imaginations of some writers.

        • I was listening to the cast album of Big River this afternoon, which at least pays respect to Huckleberry Finn. We saw it in a big-city community theater presentation (the obligatory pro played Huck) in the ’90s, but I can’t imagine it being shown now. SMH.

    • That was what I absolutely hated about Elizabeth Peter’s final Vicky Bliss novel: she updated it to ‘current’ time. She even wrote a whole forward on why she did it–because the previous books–of which the first had been published in the late 70s and the second-to-last before this one in 1994–had always been ‘vague’ as to year and she claimed they had always been more or less set when she wrote them, and hand-waved away the never-aging characters. Except…the technology/social leap from 1978 or so to 1994, while largish, was not nearly as drastic as that of 1978 (or even 1994) to 2008. And even in the 1994 one, even though it’s predecessor had taken place before the end of the Cold War, managed to avoid any mention of the USSR and, since it took place in Egypt instead of Europe, had no reason at all to mention it anyway (and did not rely on heavy tech references for the plot to work). And there were never big pop-culture references–or the ones that did exist were very general and not particularly dated and rare.

      But when you suddenly have the characters using cell phones/early smartphones and internet, and there are references to the Lord of the Rings films being dropped everywhere…that was incredibly jarring, and I felt highly unnecessary. They didn’t NEED any of that for the plot to work. For me, it felt so disconnected from the previous books that I’ve been strongly tempted to get rid of it and pretend it never happened. (Which is sad, because I adore most of Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels’ writing.)

      • I was never really into Vicki Bliss, but from what I heard from a friend who did read that one, it was less the idea that the novel was taking place in the current time and more that the author seemed to feel the need to rub the reader’s nose in it. It wasn’t just that Vicki had a cell phone, it was the author shouting “LOOK, SHE HAS A CELL PHONE! AND AN INTERNET CONNECTION. AND SHE’S GOING TO GO SURF THE WEB NOW! ON HER PHONE! BECAUSE DID I MENTION SHE HAS A CELL PHONE!!!!”

        • That was exactly it. She went from barely mentioning things that would date the book to dropping it constantly.

          I loved the Vicki Bliss books–but mostly actually I loved Sir John Smythe, who was such an entertaining hoot that I even loved him when I found out he’d actually been the villain (sort of) in one of the standalone books. (The Camelot Caper). I actually tend to skip the “first” Vicki Bliss book because John isn’t in it. (But I’ve always been a sucker for the “charming, debonair thief with the heart of gold” archetype.)

          • I just read all the Father Brown stories. I know what you mean. I wonder if Flambeau was the first.

            • Carrington Dixon

              Arsène Lupin seems to predate the Father Brown stories, but I agree that Flambeau is much more memorable. A little AL goes a long way for me.

    • I think I’ve complained before here about the update to “Down a Dark Hall,” where the entire conflict of the novel is that the heroine can’t communicate with her family and friends, so you can’t give her a cell phone, email account, Facebook page, etc. without also explaining why she can’t use those to bring the novel to a halt at 1/3 mark.

      There’s also the social problem that those devices have changed our expectations about how often we talk. It was just possible for me to accept that some parents in the 70s would be okay not hearing from their teenager for four months. It’s not really possible for me to accept the same thing about 21st century parents.

      So, yeah, just let your stories become “unintentional period pieces.” For the most part, it’s simply not worth updating them, and they’ll be better if they stay in the time they were originally meant to be.

      • I remember reading someplace that Sue Grafton didn’t bring her Alphabet mysteries any further than the 80ies (maybe 90ies?) because so many of her plots depended on the heroine not having a cellphone, and in research pre-internet was a good bit more complicated than calling up your favorite search engine/

        • I swear that’s one of the reasons Stranger Things works so well: it’s not just nostalgia (and really good writing), it’s because the lack of modern-day tech heightens the tension HUGELY.

          • I wonder….
            Write a story set in current time where the protagonist frequently gets bad information from search engines and wiki’s.

            “I don’t understand it. The Werewolf Hunters wiki said that werewolves are deathly allergic to arsenic.
            “Idiot. The other name for wolf’s-bane is aconite, not arsenic.”
            “Oops.”

        • At least with current technology (no idea how 5G will work for this), if you want somebody out of communication, try the following:

          Seriously rural (we have 1 cell tower giving spotty coverage 12 miles from us. The hogback in line-o-sight doesn’t help. Between Lakeview at the CA-NV-OR triple point and where OR 140 crosses into Nevada, there’s a huge cell desert, at least through 2014). To defeat geosynchronous satellite coms, force the characters to be out of sight of the sat; north side of a medium mountain or in a canyon will do it.

          Beyond that, you need a Faraday cage. A steel barn does a fair job at higher frequencies, though AM radio gets through. Still, not too many 160 meter ham rigs around. I do recall a 1960s era Carl and Jerry story (from Popular Electronics), where they modified a car radio to act as a barely adequate transceiver. The year it was done, tube radios were still around, but such antics might work through, say, 1970 with transistorized radios. My radio-fu is too weak to be certain.

          • Was still there last summer.

            • When I was considering another trip back east, the default vehicle would have been the one with the emergency satellite service. Not overly expensive, and considering the miles I put going over the Cascades recently, it added some peace of mind. *Most* of the dead zones we have for cell have line-o-sight to a satellite, and the exceptions have enough traffic.

          • “if you want somebody out of communication” At least Cell phone. Sat phone would get better coverage, but that is expensive.

            Most of Yellowstone.
            Cascades. Seriously anywhere on the PCT. Or for that matter most the highways.
            Most the way I-5 to hwy 101, on any highway.
            High country of Yosemity

            Then there is the phone broke, got wet, got … Call it the (NCIS) Gibbs effect.

            • TheOtherSean

              I was hiking a rather narrow, steep-sided valley in Pennsylvania and my I lost both cell service and GPS. Everything was fine at the lower end of the trail, where the valley was wider and shallower, or at the head of the valley, but down inside…. nothing. One of the valleys the Pennsylvania Turnpike passes through for a few minutes has no cell service and nothing on radio. There’s a stretch on I-74 between Cincy and Indy where cell service is spotty. There’s spots in the mountains in the Northeast where cell service is nonexistent – and that’s not even getting into the vast stretches of Western flatlands where there is no cell service.

              • Yes. Exactly.

                Sure. Anywhere metropolitan. Okay. I’m not 100% sure if there is cell coverage 100% of I-5 corridor (not like I checking when we’re driving it). GPS, sure. Cell??? Doubt cell isn’t available up the South Umpqua river east of Canyonville. Know it is spotty east up the North Umpqua river east of Roseburg. Spotty to non-existent, between I-5 to the coast on the highways (22, 126, 138, etc.)

                No. Do not trust cell coverage for emergencies when outside of any metro area in Oregon. Let alone Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, … and some minor metro areas is “stand in the right spot, lean just right, and maybe?”

          • Out of communication is much simpler. “Damn it! I forgot to charge my phone!”

  16. I’ll admit that I’d never thought of that interpretation of the Little Mermaid. I kind of like the idea of a fairy tale about how “Your first crush didn’t work out, but you can still grow and change and find your own soul” … but does the mermaid really have to die for us to get that? Couldn’t she have simply decided to stay human, grow up in the Prince’s court, and eventually fall in love with the chamberlain or someone? I always figured the story ended the way it did because Anderson was a manic depressive, and this was the closest he could get to a happy ending for them.

    As far as the racial thing goes…I don’t really mind, although given that Disney seems to be trying to make shot-for-shot remakes, it does seem a bit odd they’d choose someone so far from the appearance of their original Ariel. However, I do wonder how many of those eagerly mocking the “haters” who don’t want a black Ariel were among those who threw a fit at the Last Airbender movie using white actors.

    • ::tries to fend off a plot-bunny attack where the mermaid falls for the senschal::

      I’d read the heck out of that variation.

      (And forget the casting in the Last Airbender–that movie was just terrible, full stop. I haven’t even seen more than a few minutes of the animated series and I found it a terrible, boring, awful movie!)

      • Oh, I’ve already given in. I’ve started searching “Behind the Name” for good names for the mermaid and her sisters and figuring out exactly what the relationships between them are and how they encourage/enable her choices…

    • She didn’t die. She became a daughter of the air, i.e. a “higher” being. Because there has to be a sacrifice beyond not killing him.

      • See, now that works–but apparently the version/translation I read totally missed that point and she just…turned into seafoam. So grey goo, ugh.

        (When I was older, I got the ‘sacrifice’ part better than small child me, but they really should have included the whole daughter of the air part.)

    • No, because the people casting the characters found young actors that really did look like their characters. It was just interesting that that mean they were not of the supposed race of the make-believe pseudo Asian make-believe world. Who were not Asian. A very strange kind of selective outrage.

      No, those of us are annoyed at Black Ariel (outrage is a bit strong) because black-facing a Danish character in a Danish story by a Danish author for no other reason than obeisance to the Holy Narrative is tiresome and insulting.

      I was angry when they white-faced Ged. They’ve been pissing on our cultural heritage for too long for me to summon anything more vigorous than “there they go again”.

      • “…black-facing a Danish character in a Danish story by a Danish author for no other reason than obeisance to the Holy Narrative is tiresome and insulting…”
        This. obeisance to the Holy Narrative IS getting to be beyond irritating….

        • This!

        • Donald Campbell

          I am waiting for the sitcom with an Asian Father, Latino Spanish speaking only Mother and the “twins”, one Black, talks like a rapper, one White, British accent. Plus the older sister who is a different race in each appearance.
          All the cast outside the family, even strangers, act in no way that implies anything other than normal.

          • Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

          • Feather Blade

            There was a version of Cinderella a decade or so back that has allegedly race-blind casting.

            So you have Whoopi Goldberg as the queen, some white guy as the king, and some asian guy playing their son.

        • Of course sometimes we just ignore skin color and cope. One I can think of that gave me a brief pause back in the 80’s was Jessye Norman as Sieglinde in Die Walkure. This sort of made my head go boing as 1) The gent that played Siegmund (her twin) was paler than me and 2) Norse/Germanic mythology. But then Jessye opened her mouth and I stopped quibbling, she’s a one of a kind soprano. On a seperate issue though I concur that this removal of redheads has got to stop, this anti-ginger sentiment is poisonous 🙂 .

  17. Linking, simply because it’s a pretty Little Mermaid figure, and I like sharing pretty art whenever I can.

    Also alludes to the original version, not the Disney one.

    • I grew up with a small replica of the Little Mermaid statue that’s in Copenhagen Harbor. Grampa Pete probably picked it up on one of his trips to visit left-behind family.

      The original got a fair amount of abuse over the years. No idea if she’s still there.

    • Oooh, very nice. But at $ 165? Nah.

  18. I didn’t watch a movie in a theater till I was 14. (Asterix the Gaul.)

    *squees at the very idea*

  19. Incidentally, I utterly loath HCA.

    The stories seem like really depressing lectures that you’re then supposed to be grateful for.

    ….possibly in no small part because they’re currently given to single-digit kids, nowhere near the cusp of womanhood?

    • One of them, The Marsh-Kong’s daughter probably kept me from playing in traffic at a particularly low ebb. So I am going to respectfully disagree.

      They’re the stories you read when life IS pain, and nothing but, yet you hang on to hope and beauty anyway.

    • I had books of Grimm and HCA stories — possibly the originals translated, but I don’t know if they were toned down a little — relatively young, but I distinctly remember browsing through The Little Mermaid in a bookstore well before I saw the Disney movie (which didn’t happen until we rented the video, so that doesn’t strictly narrow it down to before it came out). The version I read definitely had the Spirit of the Air thing, although I didn’t read it as a higher type of being so much as a strange cruel trap. I assume the bit where their progress toward getting a soul was dependent on the behavior of the children observed was meant to encourage good behavior in the audience, but… um… my impression at the time was that this meant they would never, ever make it.

      ….Well, perhaps I was too young for the interpretation Sarah describes.

  20. “As wrong as J. K. Rowling’s Tweets that drive my boys insane. (“Wizards poop how? Just shut up, lady.”)” I take it that reqires an ‘unbinding” spell?

    • No. There are no bathrooms. They poop in their pants and magic it away. EWW

      • Feather Blade

        … is there any chance she was doing the “ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer” thing, or is that supposed to be an unofficial official retcon? Because I seem to remember at least one toilet room and the plumbing to make it work being a fairly major plot point in one of those novels….

      • Idea rejected. Dumbledore found the Room of Requirement full of chamber pots for a reason.

        • For a while I was really enjoying the Instagram account of the “Hogwarts IT Guy” who would bring up all sorts of random “how do basic things work in the wizarding world” points and questions. Like, stop making your passwords “Alohamora” because every other wizard is doing that, and “Is there some sort of contraceptive spell? Because there are an awful lot of poorly supervised post-pubescent kids around here.” and “It’s great that I can give money to an owl and get back a pizza, but how do I stop the owl guano from getting everywhere?”

  21. If I cared or still watched Disney, I’d certainly be opposed to the casting: because now there’s no way the character will be able to have any flaws and her immature, stupid mistakes will instead take on the feel of ‘girl power’.

    Not that there was much chance of a good live action remake anyway – observe what they did with casting Hermione in Beauty and the Beast – but now there’s no chance at all the heroine will be anything but perfect, no matter how objectively a screw-up she is.

    Well, no one ever went broke flattering women. Disney’s got that down pat.

    Unless it’s necessary to destroy the characters of the good fairies (as well as everyone else in the movie) in order to paint Maleficent as the hero.

    One might suspect that Disney’s movies are by, for and all about shallow narcissists.

    Just suspect, mind you.

  22. I’m more annoyed at the endless live action remakes than whatever rando they pick to do the acting. I don’t have any particular nostalgia for The Little Mermaid, but 2D animation is near and dear to my heart. I hate that the advantages the medium has over live action are being dismissed just for cash grabs.

  23. Disney sucks the subtle out of things. The results can still be charming, but they can disasters instead. I LOATHE the Disney takes on THE JUNGLE BOOKS (every one of ‘em). And I loathe the Disney POOH as well (Eeyore isn’t sad. Eeyore is sarcastic, and the other animals are too dumb to tell the difference.).

    OTOH, there really isn’t a lot of subtle to TARZAN, so the animated feature was pretty good. Oh, it strayed from the original more than a little, but it all worked and it didn’t have the potboiler feel of ERB’s writing.

    So, I like a lot of Disney, wish he’d kept his paws off of one or two things, and try not to get too worked up over it.

    • Their John Carter film was actually pretty excellent too–except for the part where they didn’t market it at ALL and then whined when it “flopped”

  24. I still share the sentiment of the anti-Eurodisney T-shirt that had Mickey guillotined. Death to the Rat!

    • Disney is Disney. They do some good films, and some bad ones. I’ve seen scant evidence that another studio would do better and lots that most would be worse.

      I will say that the only worthwhile film to come out of this passion for redoing their animated classics (so far) was MALIFICENT. Everything else has been ‘why did they bother?”.

      • Evidence: Studio Ghibli. When even the author says “I liked your version of my story every bit as much as my own” ~ Diana Wynne Jones.

        Based on Shadowdancer’s happy-making art share, I am now hypothesizing that cultures that don’t despise themselves have a better chance of success taking on another’s culture.

        Something to think about while dusting, at least.

  25. I’m reminded of a number of my friends that discovered that they are (a)lesbians and (b)have a foot fetish by watching The Little Mermaid and the first scene that Ariel waggles her new toes.

    Anyways, Disney ultimately has the only real success of a creative enterprise-people buy their product and make enough money to start another project. So, what I can hope is that it will inspire people to search for the originals and try new things.

    What annoys me? This new idea for advertising campaign by outrage. Especially the “geeks bad!” outrage that Disney thinks is a winning gameplan after The Last Jedi and Avengers:Endgame. Disney is forgetting who exactly the people are that will buy this first, and they are attacking THAT audience. Throw in the issues with Galaxy’s Edge and rumors that the plot for Phase 4 MCU is either going to be based around All New, All Different Marvel or Secret Invasion, which is Not A Good Thing from people that know the canon.

    (At least it isn’t Secret Empire…)

    And, it’s just how…shallow these people are. This is rookie controversy, this is rookie creativity. Where is the high quality stuff we’ve had in the past? Damn…

    • Donald Campbell

      I think the “geeks bad” is fallout from GamerGate. How *dare* they actually push back!!! We know what is good for them. They fail to realize that lecturing to an audience that already knows it is b.s. is not entertaining, nor enlightening.

    • Well, “Geeks bad!” worked sooooooo well in the redo of Ghostbusters. How dare you question the superior marketing skills of the superior marketers of the superior, fully Woke virtue signaling!

      My apologies to the wallaby.

  26. Meh.

    My take on the whole situation is that this is yet another example of how the suits are killing the goose which lays the golden eggs. The patronizing BS is getting so damn thick that it is turning into a miasma of literal crap.

    I really don’t give a rip about who portrays what, but I am more than a little aggravated when the same people who go onandonandonandonandon about “Whitewashing” when they have a white actor portray a traditionally non-white character… Don’t say a damn thing when the opposite happens. That, to my mind, is telling. And, it’s poisoning any of my feelings or respect for those activists, their causes, and the whole bloody melange of cultural dreck they represent.

    They got all pissy when someone put a white chick in to portray a character who wasn’t more than vaguely “asianish”, but now when a Danish fairy tale with a clearly Danish cultural matrix is being changed to a black, it’s all OK, and transgressive…? WTF?

    On the one level, I simply don’t care. This is ephemeral crap that is meaningless, but on another, it’s viscerally disturbing to observe the way the SJW types are essentially trying to rewrite the entire cultural matrix around us to wipe out any sense of “white identity” and “white culture”. The problem with the whole thing is that it’s not just going to eventually bankrupt Disney and their ilk, it’s going to so thoroughly pollute the commons that nobody is going to be willing to surrender an inch. It’s not about “black identity”, it’s about cultural dominance, and who’s on top. I dare say that were they to cast a white girl as Tiana in a live-action Princess and the Frog, there’d be hell to pay, because… I don’t know what they’ll do to justify it, but there would be, if that were to ever happen.

    Which is why Disney et al are rapidly moving themselves into the “enemy” column for a lot of people, and the end result of that is going to be a trip to the bankruptcy courts. Eventually–There’s a lot of ruin in a company like Disney.

    • If they take the character and the story and move it to a different location, say the Caribbean to go with Sebastian the Crab’s accent, is it any different than Akira Kurosawa taking King Lear and The Scottish Play and transporting them to feudal Japan and ending up with Ran and Throne of Blood?

      • If they did, I’d be down for it.
        Chances they’ll actually do that? Nil.

      • Nope! Once you get to archetypes, there’s a lot of room for creativity and “What if we try this?”

        OTOH, Kurosawa knew the receiving culture really well and cut the original pattern to fit the cloth. House of Mouse? Um, not so certain. The obligatory protestors? *Snort* Um, no. Although the idea of some of the white activists trying to tell a real voudoun practitioner what he or she is doing wrong leaves me torn between delight and visceral fear.

        • If it were possible to watch from a distance, it might be fun(*). How many universes away do you think would be safe?

          A comment from a former real voodoo practitioner: “It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe it, They believe it.”

          I’ll go for 4 or 5, myself.

          (*) Actually, no. Let’s not watch and hope they don’t try.

    • Its hard to “whitewash” a Danish story, when Danes are white people, and in the time period of the story there wouldn’t be a single black person in all of Denmark.

      Which means nothing to the SJW whiners of course. Historical accuracy? Respect for the source material? Racist!

    • About the whole “white identity/white culture” thing–honestly, I’d be okay with that going away, mostly because I’m less than convinced that superior Vitamin D processing capability is worth having an identity about.

      OTOH, the people who seem to want that the most have no problem with other racial identities, and did their best to try and make being white a source of shame before realizing that no one was going to get on board with that besides whiny oikophobic twerps.

      • Part of it is that there isn’t a white identity. There’s a bunch of stuff that’s in Europe, and the Mediterranean, and isn’t Russia technically in Asia not Europe, but…..

        They’re just racists who attack anything they associate with “white”– which means everything from Rome to Russia to Iceland and everything in America they HAVEN’T decided is “minority.”

        • As a result of those racists having a free hand in media, there’s a suggestion that one cannot feel good about oneself, or identify with western civilization without signing on board with white identity.

          Of course, the real dealbreaker for me is that the people who really care about that stuff are the likes of Aryan Nations, petty criminals, and losers who have nothing better to say about themselves than that they are white, and that there were once white people of worth and value. I have too much pride and bigotry to want to be associated with that sort. (Or should I say, pride and prejudice? Actually, no, I’m open about my bigotry with regard to recreational drug use.)

          I will say that if one is fairly sheltered, knowing in RL few even white people, and for many years not knowing any black people, much less black people from America, the arc of modeling America based off of looking through the lens of of recent leftwing propaganda bends towards white supremacism or some such.

          It’s not a fun experience, my parity checking kept on forcing me to rethink things, and remind myself of what I inferred intellectually, instead of feeling emotionally. I’m very glad I expanded my circles with one person in particular. I probably do need some more regular human contact that is neither automatically believing the leftwing propaganda, nor like here heavily engaged in reacting to it.

          Lot of folks take American history as a sign that God has favored the nation. If white Americans can stick to sane policy without going off into the weeds of greater support for violent white supremacism in this current information warfare environment, we will have some further evidence, this time for the historical period we are living in.

        • Exactly — they are ignorant and declaring their ignorance to be wisdom. There is NO “white culture” — there isn’t even a Brit Culture or a German Culture, there are many cultures within the overarching structure. More proof that they are racist, projecting their balefulness and resentment outward.

          While we are on it, there is no such thing as Hispanic Culture of African Culture and as for Asian Culture, attempting to reduce Chinese, Korean, Japanese Culture, Vietnamese, Balinese, Malaysian, Thai, Pakistani and Indian cultures into a single theme is so stupid only an AOC could do it.

  27. I think the thing that annoys me about this type of uproar is the assertion that we, the Great Unwashed, are not allowed an opinion. This is an instant replay of the Fantastic Four reboot of a few years ago.

    https://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.com/2013/05/five-reasons-i-should-punch-jf-sargent.html

    At that time, anybody who objected that making the Fantastic Four character Johnny Storm black was stupid got labeled a “nerd racist”.

    The movie came out. It was -stupid-, and sadly the stupidest thing about it was not the casting of Johnny Storm as a black kid. There were a lot of things worse than that. The movie tanked hard. The “nerd racists” were right, JF Sergeant was wrong, and only crickets were heard from him on the subject.

    Couple years later some school had a play about Martin Luther King and cast a white kid in the role. We still aren’t done hearing about that, and we don’t even know if the play sucked or not. Chances are high it did though. MLK is a white kid? Dumb.

    Live action Little Mermaid, the dumbest thing about it is not the casting of the little mermaid as a black girl in a DANISH myth/story. That’s dumb, don’t get me wrong, and its gratuitous pandering to the SJW crowd which is always annoying.

    But is it dumber than live action Aladdin? Live action Lion King? Dumber than live action Beauty and the Beast casting the woman EVERY KID IN THE WORLD -knows- is Hermione Granger as Belle? Dumber than A Wrinkle In Time? Can you believe what they did to that story?

    But none of that matters, no matter how egregiously stupid Disney is, because we are not allowed to have an opinion. We are a basket of deplorable racists if we don’t get back in line, shut up and say thank you for the pablum we are served.

    No problem. Casting Ariel with a black girl is dumb, and the movie is doomed to suck just like A Wrinkle In Time did when they cast a black girl as the lead and Oprah Winfrey as one of the three witches. They will lose mucho dinero, and I will laugh at them.

    Truth is truth, and this is a display of my middle fingers for good measure.

    • Yes – the problem is not the uproar over the racial furor. That kerfuffle is the distraction employed to sneak the real problem past us: the whole enterprise is misbegotten. We’re arguing about the sauce they’ve put on the steak when the problem is that the steak is nothing but gristle.

      Or, to quote a different film: “the issue here ain’t pussy. The issue here is monkey.” This Disney remake lacks the right stuff; it will be all wet.

      • It’s bad when you hear just the casting, and you already know where the movie is going. But you’re right, the real issue is they’ve got nothing in the tank. They’re re-making a cartoon, for God’s sake.

        It is almost as if they were screaming “STAY HOME YOU DEPLORABLES!!! WE DON’T WANT YOUR FILTHY DOLLARS!!!”

        Hell yeah, I’ll stay home. Save me $25 bucks for a movie ticket and gas.

    • JF Sergeant is just one of those people who have an outstanding need to be slapped.

      Or go work on a farm for a week.

  28. I always preferred Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson. Did anyone else ever read The Marsh King’s Daughter? That is one WEIRD story.

    • I’ve never heard of it until now, and I went out looking for it:

      https://fairytalez.com/the-marsh-kings-daughter/

      Is that it? I think it is, and you’re right… That is one seriously strange story.

      The more of Hans Christian Anderson that I’ve read, the more I’ve become convinced that he was one hell of a strange human being. I shudder to think about what his internal mindscape must have looked like…

      • Yes, that’s it! Utterly bizarre, isn’t it?

        • I can’t even come up with an antecedent for that one… It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard of in the realm of fairy tales.

          • It looks like two or three fairy tales stitched together with at least two different saint’s legends, slightly mangled.

          • I recognize a lot of motifs, but certainly never seen them stitched together like that. Plus the literary fairy tale filagree.

      • Same here. We had a copy of the complete HCA opus when I was I kid (probably still have it somewhere) and many of the stories were just … creepy. There was one about a girl whose lover was murdered by her brother,and she planted her lover’s head in a pot with a rose-bush (or maybe it was a rosemary bush) growing over top of the head, and her lovers’ soul eventually transferred into a fairy sprite who slept in the rosebush….
        yeah … THAT one was for kids, for sure!

        • You have to look at things in their proper context, eh? The ballads of that era, as collected by Mr. Childe (Child #10), had distinctly similar elements. I recall one about two sisters, one of whom murdered the other. The dead sister’s body was found by a travelling harpist who fashioned himself a new harp from her … rib cage(? – memory ain’t what it were, if it ever were) and strung it with her hair.

          On reaching the manor where the deceased’s family dwelt he earned his keep with a tune on his new harp and out came the gal’s voice, naming her sister her murderer.

          I’m not sure whether the moral is Don’t kill your sister or Let the dead lay, but either way it seems sound advice.


          Wiki relates that it has been adapted into prose and poetry by Patricia Wrede, by Mercedes Lackey and by Lord Tennyson, and sung by a plethora of performers, including Dylan, Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick, Jerry Garcia & David Grisman, Altan, Loreena McKennitt, Clannad, Tom Waits and more, under a variety of titles, including but not limited to: The Twa Sisters, The Cruel Sister, The Wind and Rain, Dreadful Wind and Rain, The Bows of London, The Only Tune, Grausame Schwester (German Heavy Metal Folk), and, Harp of Death.

          Don’t even look into the lyrics of Long Lankin.

          • The body parts in variants of that range from gruesome to worse.

            I prefer the ones where it’s a reed growing over the grave, and a pipe made from it. (As those who have read my works may have noticed. 0:)

            • I had reference to that story where the hair is supposed to be strung into the harp—and the ever-practical character talking about it says that hair would be no good for harp strings and would break.

          • Steeleye Span has the best version of that…..

        • Ah, like Isabella, or the Pot of Basil

  29. From what I can tell, here’s how Disney’s current movie policy works, and why:

    For one, acquiring existing franchises and focusing on sequels or tie-ins it a safe bet story-wise. If you think book publishers are overburdened trying to appease “sensitivity readers” and overly opinionated online busybodies, then the various “focus groups”, “target demographics” and all assorted garbage in the film and television world is even worse. You never know what original plot element or character design might rub the howler mobs the wrong way, so avoiding originality like the plague is the simplest route to take.

    Same goes for the current non-stop stream of live-action remakes – it’s a tried-and-true story, so any element not up to snuff with the hive-mind can be excused with the grandfather clause – it was already there in the first place. However, anything that can be spiced up – such as a black Ariel, or the remarkably diverse Renaissance France in “Beauty and the Beast” – is all well and good. Not despite, but *especially* if it stirs controversy.

    Because this is the second pivotal element – the films are not to be watched and/or critiqued for their quality as entertainment, but simply for making a statement. Anyone taking an issue with poor writing or bad acting can be dismissed as secretly racist, sexist or whatever, while the critic circles keep heaping praise for how progressive the films are, without ever having to say anything about the actual story or presentation. It’s the feature-length equivalent of “clappy humor” – jokes that aren’t funny, but simply criticize the popular targets of the day, and thus get claps of approval instead of actual laughter.

    All in all, I reckon I’ll sit out this particular creative period of the Mouse House. If anything, I’m more amused by the irony of them going for reboots and adaptations, thus appealing to people’s nostalgia, all while trying to shoehorn modern trends that they’d be the least likely to appreciate.

  30. Off topic, but something I think everyone here would understand: https://eldraeverse.com/2019/07/11/immortality-blues/

  31. Something new I noticed, and came here to say. Remember how Sarah pointed out that a of the bullshit Vietnam peace movement was actually the result of the WWII generation working through what FDR had done to them?

    Frankly, the bullshit the Democrats in specific got up to around then about ‘racists switching parties’ and crap was not only them switching from white supremacism to the state cult of the Soviet Union as a reason to be lying, cheating, thieving democrats. They WWII cohort of Democrats probably also had some issues with sub-consciously realizing that they had been scammed by FDR in a dangerous similar-to-the-Axis way,wanting to make changes to patch those vulnerabilities, and at the same time not being able to face the role they and their idols had played. It looks like it is actual displacement.

    • The parties DID switch sides. But only if you view it from the topic of money and power. In The Late Unpleasantness the Republicans were for high taxes and centralized gov’t power, and contained a shockingly high percentage of outright communists (and terrorists) The Democrats were for low tariffs (there not being income taxes yet) and a small, frugal Fed. gov’t that didn’t pick winners and losers or fund huge infrastructure boondoggles/payoffs, etc.

      The reason you don’t see that is you look at it from things like human rights and the treatment of minorities. But to the politically obsessed who are insisting the switch happened, those aren’t real concerns they are just the things you say to bait voters, not a core value. To them power and money are everything, so naturally they see the switch that you do not.

      • During the unpleasantness the GOP was an effin’ coalition put together to fight a frigging civil war. Not something you can define an ideology from unless you can define an ideology for the war. Absent Lincoln, the north would not have effectively contested the withdrawal of the south. (And Sherman’s forecast of US becoming Meixco would likely have come to pass.)

        Lincoln was the ideological core of the war. Lincoln would have been willing to compromise on slavery in order to avoid the war. Lincoln probably would have been willing to compromise on the high taxes/centralized big government stuff also, presuming that was more important to him than slavery, as opposed to being a means to an end. Lincoln’s ideology in the war was based on the idea that he was legitimately president, and the presidency contained certain powers under certain circumstances for certain ends. It was a theory within small r republican theory. A very particular reading of the Constitution. Whereas emotionally the CSA traded a lot on the mere 40% of the popular vote behind him being in office, an idea within small d democracy theory.

        Those ideas are more or less continuous in the parties.

        The switched places narrative has a lot to do with modern Democrats thinking that the white supremacist terrorism of the 1920s and 1930s is an inconvenient thing to own.

        • At least in theory, the compromise might’ve worked, too.

          Let slavery whither away naturally.

          …no way to know, now, though.

        • That makes no sense. The Republican Party was founded in 1854-56. How could it have been a coalition slapped together to fight a war that wouldn’t happen for another 4 to 6 years? And it was also certainly NOT a coalition put together around Lincoln’s cult of personality or campaign either. Lincoln wasn’t even the front-runner for the Republican 1860 nomination; Seward was. They only eventually settled on Lincoln because Seward couldn’t nail down a majority and Lincoln turned out to be a sort of “everyone’s second choice” acceptable compromise at the convention and he apparently ran an aggressive pr operation at the convention itself.

          Also, note that *I* am not saying that the attitude of the parties on race is insignificant. What I am saying is that if you notice the types of people who insist that the switch happened… they almost always tend to be the sort to whom centralizing power and money under them and theirs seem to be their real goal, and moral issues like race relations are a convenient club to beat opponents with or fashions to wrap themselves in to appear woke to the current popular definition of virtue. It is would not be surprising, then for them to really see a switch since it happened on the issues THEY are most concerned about.

          • *pained expression*

            What, you think folks only started going “them there Dems just ain’t right” AFTER the fighting started?

            http://www.ushistory.org/gop/origins.htm

          • The Republicans lost House seats in the 1860/61 elections, and their actual gains in the Senate were not that impressive either. Absent the Democratic screw up in the convention, Lincoln loses, then if they don’t panic and leave, then maybe they play things out a few cycles. If all that had happened, it wouldn’t be impossible that the Republican party would’ve broken up and disappeared. It is the Civil War that gives the Republicans the foundation to last.

            And if you are countin’ bleedin’ Kansas for terrorists, those also count for the Democrats. And as the prelude to the Civil War.

            Perhaps you could show me how the short lived institutions the Democrats created in the CSA significantly support that the principles you allege were more than means to an end?