Once upon a time, I have found peculiar book. Yes, physical, actual book from, as author eloquently wrote, processed tree carcass. It’s title was…
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
James Finn Garner
Let’s spoil things already and tell you one thing. This is satire. Excellent, hilarious satire from deep nineties, when new leftist culture and ideas were just born and no one yet heard about genderfluid or was getting upset because some fanart depicted dark-skinned fictional character in slightly too white hue (probably not even intentionally). These were older, simpler times of political correctness. So nostalgic.
Involuntary suspension from phallocentric activity
Book contains revised versions of many well-known fairy tales, like Little Red Riding Hood, Chicken Little or Snow White. As promised, these stories are updated to modern times. Not just in technology, like mineral water or radio collars. Main thrust is ideological and political.
Let’s start from newspeak like “womon/womyn” – certain radical feminist’s version of word woman, created because they do not want word man in name of female gender. For some reason it didn’t caught on, though they are still trying. Latest is “womxn”, how do you even spell that?
Stories are full of words and descriptions that range from nicer-than-usual (“What are you, specially abled or something?”), through unnecessary inventions like new names for jobs (“woodchopper-person” is just first one), to downright hilarious (“witch was very kindness-impaired”).
Interestingly, many various neologisms are instantly understandable. You know what charge of being “lookist”, “colorist” or “sizeist” means without any context of story, even if you did not know about those words before. It is certainly made easier by fact that many traditional aesops are simply described in terms of politically correct language, or rather parody of it.
When author introduces stereotypical people (for example “economically-disadvantaged tinker”), he often then spends entire paragraphs on politically correct remarks, like that of course he does not imply all tinkers are economically marginalized, or that if they are, they deserve to be so.
Do you think I could make a livin’ by signin’ up for medical experiments?
Stories tend to have different ending that classic counterpart, often with plot twists, always in accordance with political goal of given story. For example, in The Three Little Pigs it is creation of democracy with free education, universal health care, and affordable housing for everyone by little pigs via slaughter of their wolf oppressors.
Other example? Tragic results of trying to swindle Pied Piper out of his promised pay for getting rid of undesirables (“murderers of nondomestic animals, former clients of the correctional system, and off-road bikers”) in town of Hamelin. It was done by creating even worse undesirables – children spouting conservative ideology. Now that’s scary!
Fairytales within sometimes take on issues that everyone should be agreeable on, like environmental destruction or frivolous lawsuits. Key word is should. People may frown at proposed solutions, though. Choking to death greedy real estate developer (former frog turned back to human by kiss, of course… but they expected prince, not businessman) for planning to level entire woody neighbourhood so that office park/condo/resort complex can be build in it’s place seems excessive.
Macho dance of destruction
If you ask me which story was best, I would say Cinderella, though Snow White was also pretty good. They had all necessary components: they were funny, interesting and had fitting moral. Book is short, but brevity is soul of the wit as they say. You can always get other books from this series if you want more.
In general, I recommend this book for everyone. Except maybe for actual little children.
If, through omission or commission, I have inadvertently displayed any sexist, racist, culturalist, nationalist, regionalist, ageist, lookist, ableist, sizeist, speciesist, intellectualist, socioeconomicist, ethnocentrist, phallocentrist, heteropatriarchalist, or other type of bias as yet unnamed, I apologize and encourage your suggestions for rectification. In the quest to develop meaningful literature that is totally free from bias and purged from the influences of its flawed cultural past, I doubtless have made some mistakes.
– James Finn Garner