Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Fairy Tales That Won’t Make You Twitch

Once upon a time I thought that fairy tales were amazing.  They taught morals and life lessons, provided some of the most enduring characters of all time and most importantly could be bought for cheap. Now, not only is it tough to find an original fairy tale at a book store, but the ones available have been so mutilated that they have officially landed the entire genre on my list of Kids Books that make me Twitch.
 The thing about real fairy tales is that they were written back when it was still considered ok to scare the crap out of kids.  But somewhere along the line people became a bit more squeamish about reading stories to their kids where people are eaten by a wolf (Little Red Riding Hood), lured to a cave to die (Pied Piper) or where an old man shows off his naughty bits (The Emperor’s New Clothes).  So somebody out there decided it was a good idea to re-write the classic fairy tales to be less violent, scary and pornographic.  Hence my frustration with fairy tales.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not the scariness or pornography that I miss in today’s re-writes.  I don’t want my kids learning that it is ok to beat someone up if they are mean to you like what happens in the original Three Billy Goats Gruff.  It is the just the way that the powers at be have gone about making the changes that bother me.  Instead of being eaten by the wolf, Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandma gives the wolf a good telling off and he leaves swearing that he will never try to eat a little girl again.  Instead of getting cooked in her own oven, the witch in Hansel and Gretel learns the importance of eating nutritious food.   Does anybody else see a problem with this?  I think we are sugar-coating things a bit too much for our kids.  If my kids meet a wolf in the woods I don’t want them trying to convince the wolf not to eat them.  I want them to run in the other freaking direction. I thought the original moral of Little Red Riding Hood was to teach kids not to talk to strangers (a.k.a. the wolf), rather than enter into persuasive arguments with them about the moral consequences of eating meat. 
If we are going to modernize fairy tales than we should be modernizing the entire fairy tale, not just the bits that make us squeamish.  Instead of Hansel and Gretel getting lost in the woods, they should get lost in the downtown of some major metropolis.  Instead of having some witch luring them away with candy it should be a celebrity luring them away with promises of fame and fortune and a new Nintendo DS.  After all, the celebrities are the ones with all the power nowadays and every kid knows candy will ruin your teeth and lead to childhood obesity.  And who needs breadcrumbs when they have a cell phone complete with GPS?  Once the kids learn that famous people are often crazy they will just send off a quick text to mom, she will track them using their cell phone's tracking device and be there to pick them up in 20 minutes.  This way, not only do kids learn not to talk to strangers, but they also learn that fame is not all it’s cracked up to be and Nintendo DS’s are highly overrated.
But then again, what do I know?  I am just a worn-out mom with a blog, who just finished cleaning out a potty full of poop and needed something to occupy her thoughts while doing so.  As an aside, if you didn’t already know, it is always good to distract yourself when cleaning up shit so that you don’t actually have to think about the fact that you are cleaning up shit.  Anyways, if there are any publishers reading this who are interested in my updated fairy tales, send me an email.  I won’t ask for much – currently I am working for free, so pretty much anything would be an improvement.  Then we all would live happily ever after because there would be that many more kid’s books that we could read without twitching.

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