"Many of the changes to Dahl’s books seem minor: 'I’d knock her flat' becomes the much more diplomatic 'I’d give her a right talking to,' for instance."
Published: February 19,
2023 | 08:16
"'You saucy beast!' becomes 'You trickster!' Other changes are just patronising. The Witches once imagined a woman 'working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman.' Now she might be 'working as a top scientist or running a business.' Are there no women cashiers now? Rather than going white as a shee,' the Queen’s maid in The BFG now goes 'still as a statue.' Dahl can’t even poke fun at a tortoise any more. In Esio Trot, tortoises can only read backwards because they are 'very backwards creatures.' How rude! Now they can only read backwards ... just because. And when Boggis, Bunce and Bean set out on their tractors to destroy the foxes’ home once and for all in Fantastic Mr Fox, the animals once noted in terror that 'The machines were black. They were murderous, brutal-looking monsters.' The tractors are no longer black, just in case a fox was being racist."
I own a cuddly tortoise sewn by my mother, which she gave me when I was 7. It has a floral shell, a red underbelly and black felt eyes. Even though I’m notoriously prone to losing things, I’ve managed to keep hold of that tortoise through sundry house moves and even changes of country. My mother died over 30 years ago, so I’ve now lived more of my life without her than with her. I find more comfort in that tortoise than I do in photographs of her, which are now so faded and dated, and emphasize how long she’s been gone. What consoles me is the permanence of the object she made — its unchanging nature, its stolid three-dimensional reality. I’d give up many of my possessions to keep that tortoise, the few exceptions being things that have their own allusive power, like my wedding ring....
She has a new book, we learn, "The Christmas Pig" — "a story of objects lost and found, of things beloved and things unregretted."
It's the day before Christmas. Are you thinking about things — things to give and receive, to want and not want?
How powerfully do you imbue things with magic — or do you have anything going amongst your possessions that you could even vaguely term "magic"?
"He was so afraid of girls that he made a secret study of them, and the more he studied them, the more he feared them."
Published: June 23,
2021 | 08:21
So reads an intertitle 1 minute and 19 seconds into the 1924 Harold Lloyd movie "Girl Shy" (which I watched because my son John identified it as his favorite movie of that year).
The character is what these days we might call an "incel." He's also, essentially, a pornographer, to the extent such a person could appear in a mainstream movie in 1924. He is writing "The Secret of Making Love" by thinking up a stereotypical female and dictating the right approach for the male to gain the quickest possible sexual access...
The access is indicated by his putting a check by her name in his little book. If you watch that clip, you'll see his visualization of the seduction of, first, the "vampire" (i.e., the vamp) and, second, the flapper. In case you'd like to know this pathetic little man's imagined mode of conquest, the vampire is seduced by ignoring her (negging?), and the flapper responds to his acting like a "caveman" (domestic violence?).
Of course, this is played (successfully!) as comedy, and of course, our little man — Harold Meadows — finds a real woman to love. Here, he tries to tell her about his book, gets carried away in rhapsodizing about the new direction of his next chapter, and is thwarted by a turtle who slowly drags him into the muck where he becomes embarrassingly gooey and sticky. He's sitting on the turtle, which I have to say represents his genitalia: