Monday, December 19, 2011

Once upon a time...

Bruno Bettleheim's book, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, came out in 1976. A fascinating, freudian view of Grimm's (and others) collected fairy tales. The child can interpret these tales as life lessons. The book proved quite popular in college amongst several departments of students, quite soon after its release.

There is a mythic oral tradition that took centuries to find print. Many of these folk tales took an interested scholar to collect. Throughout european nations, and other cultures, similar stories existed.

Now, the typical english language formula that begins such tales is, 'Once upon a time...'. Some of these tales are illustrative of a certain lesson, others are open to exploration (psychic or otherwise). Some are scary. That fear is of meaning too, and to the child, perhaps, a different one.

ABC television has put on a programme, 'Once upon a time', in which it connects several such stories. Unfortunately, some of the people did a previous programme, Lost [a show i did not view], which played the viewer. A writer constructs his own universe, an untrustworthy one contradicts himself, and confuses his audience. I like the idea of the fairy tale universe, but not one that cheats, tricks and fools the audience. I read there is some carryover from Buffy, the vampire slayer. That is more encouraging. Buffy was quite good until it went beyond its carrying capacity. This new series suggests three years of episodes.

The two main protagonists are Snow White and her Stepmother, in the old land of enchantment; and in the new* it is Snow's daughter. The Stepmother [aka Evil Queen] launches a 'dark curse' that sends everyone to Maine [home of Stephen King]. This 'curse' is fascinating. It is mechanically created? and not by incantation? and its possession was twice transferred. Here it is nebulous [i caught the show in passing, and not in a full and careful viewing].

All the narrative, i am typing, may not be accurate. There is a demonic Rumpelstiltskin who may be the creator. The story presents the Evil Queen as the only one with memory. She is Regina the mayor in the new cursed land. She is a murderer in both. Why bother with a new world? Until Snow's daughter appears in town, the town is in stasis with only the boy, Henry, realising the story, and that is because he has read an illustrated book [who wrote the book?].

So far, the show is working well [for the most part]. I hope they don't mess it up.

The nature of the/a curse is a point of conjecture. Curse exists in both, verb and noun. The recitation of words to do harm, or evil; and the harm/evil itself. This condition is supernatural, or beyond that which the physical world allows, therefore, it is magic. The words are physical agents. Now children can accept magic, because they do not comprehend nature well enough; but we, also, live in a society that encourages magical thinking. That is both stupid, and dangerous. See the Republican Party.

A fictive world can make logical sense, and be artistically successful if it holds respect for the truth, which then applied would be internal consistency following logic. Creating an alternative reality, and accepting, and forcing it on others, as true is dangerous and has been evil.

Fairy tales can teach us truth. Magical thinking does not.

*Snow White: Where are we going?
Evil Queen: Somewhere horrible. Absolutely horrible.

and on a side note: Lana Parrilla is a very attractive evil

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