Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Cinderella Story

In the plot-line of standard Cinderella fairytales, a heroine endures undeserved suffering until her ultimate redemption is realized. As a result of its fairytale nature, this "rags to riches tale" comes as a result of the intervention of magic and marriage to the young heroines life. However, "Cinderella" rise tales can happen in real-life. For application to realistic success stories, however, the magic and marriage of Cinderella must be taken more as symbolic.

Within every Cinderella tale, the Cinderella character is good from the start. In the fairytale world, this goodness is represented by her physical beauty. In real-life, this goodness could correspond to a hardworking nature or competence. However, due to situations, in both the real and fairytale world, this goodness is not initially appropriately realized. The maiden of the fairytale is forced to wear ugly, obtruding clothes and the Cinderella of the real-world may have been, for instance, born into poverty.

Eventually, after much suffering, magic enters and a turning point comes in the storyline. In the fairytale realm, supernatural forces provide the heroine with the resources and clothes to reveal her true beauty. In the real-world, however, this "magic" can be related to the opportunities that surface in ones life. Whether it be a job interview or a sports competition or an application form or personal relationships, suddenly a person has a chance to show their true worth. Situational forces no longer obtrude the virtues of a person, and he/she is able to come to everyones proper attention.

In the fairytale world, marriage serves as the ultimate redemption for Cinderella. From her lowly position as a housemaid, she is elevated by her marriage to extravagant living as the wife of a prince. In her society's eyes, this is represents ultimate success. In modern society, success is rarely correlated to one marrying a prince. However, "Cinderella"s of the real world experience the ultimate success comparable to the original's royal wedding. Whether it be a job or money or title or happiness, they too eventually reach what they are striving after.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Saw the Sign

Until the lecture on Thursday, I had never really considered the relevance ASL has to folktales/fairytales. However,  now I realize the many parallels between the two. Folktales and fairytales are narratives rooted heavily in oral tradition. As they are passed from mouth to mouth, they are subject to change. Every new performer of the tale is bound to, whether consciously or not, influence the story with their personality and background. The lack of reliance on written word gives folktales and fairytales a flexible and malleable nature. ASL serves as a visual representation of these attributes. Again, not written, ASL gives each signer a lot of leeway and a chance to show personality. With different movements and emphases, from body to body the ASL narratives are subject to change as much as a verbal tale would.

The most intriguing part of the Thursday lecture, for me at least, was the examples of physical word plays that are used in ASL. Never before had I considered ASL to be able to incorporate the same level of creative devices as spoken language. I naively believed that without sound, puns, alliterations and all other witty mechanisms of language were lost. I figured ASL humor relied predominately on slapstick humor and exaggerated movements. However, the examples of ABC and counting signing really floored me. Though some may consider it trivial, the clever spelling of "golf" simply served to me as an example of the incredible creativity humans are capable of even in spite of restricted conditions.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Reviewing Josh's Thing

For our peer review assignment, I had the pleasure of reading over all of Josh's posts.

The main thing that stuck out to me was a funny connection between his first and last posts. For the first blog assignment (the sort of introduction one) Josh mentioned that part of his decision to take the class was his fascination by the differences between the Grimm and Disney take on fairytales. He said that until high school he had not known that there were alternative, darker versions of the tale. This brings me to the irony of the last post in which he had to analyze the Rammstein's take on Snow White. If he took the class to find un-Disney-y versions of fairytales, he definitely got what he signed up for.

I generally found Josh's blogs to be very informative. He used a direct style to convey clear answers to each week's assignment. The only main problem that surfaced were none of his pictures actually show up- just a small technical problem. The only other thing I could think of to suggest would be to add a little more personality to the posts, as blogs are a form of creative expression.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Uncivilizing Fairy Tales

If Walt Disney's goal was said to be to civilize fairytales, Rammstein's goal would easily appear to be to "uncivilize" them back up. The music video, Sonne, features a sexually charged, drug reference-laced take on Snow White that was of questionable enough content that YouTube had a "viewer discretion advised" notice pop-up before it started.

In the German band's music video, Snow White is depicted as the object of desire for seven mining men. The men play a totally submissive role to her, as they are shown toiling to find "gold" to present their female master and groping for her attention. In return, Snow White plays for them the role of the Dominatrix. She is shown spanking and beating them for their sexual pleasure.

The "gold" that the seven men present Snow White with, appears as a drug reference. She lays out lines of it as if it were cocaine and also is seen with a syringe. In this take on Snow White, her coma is induced by an overdose of this glittery substance.

This rendition of Snow White is drastically altered from the original. Most obviously, some main characters are simply missing- including the Queen, the huntsman, and the prince. Their absence makes the plot irreconcilably different. Additionally, Snow White's role is entirely different in this video. In the original, Snow White is the epitome of submissiveness. Many feminists even argue this defining character trait is the reason for her glorification. Here, however, Snow White plays the unconventional, dominating role. Rather than doing housework for the dwarves, she serves as their master.

Despite its obvious differences, Rammstein's version does contain elements of the original tale. Though they served an asexual role in the original, both include the seven dwarf characters. Also, the video features several symbols that play a vital role in the original- including a comb, apples, and the glass coffin on the mountain. Finally, though Snow White is not a slave to male gratification in this film as she arguably is in the original, she still is not free. Her use of drugs can be viewed as a correlating dependency that leads to her potential demise.

Given the choice between Disney's "civilized"Snow White (or even just the traditional, slightly less family friendly version of Snow White) or the Rammstein's ranchy take, I'd certainly pass on the German band. The music video was just uncomfortable to watch and seemed simply to be a glorification of the perverse.