37. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

            Sit down and listen to how my dumbass nearly fell for a clever little piece of satire.

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for our Life & Times, a small book by James Finn Garner. It was originally written in 1994, one of the big first waves of political correctness.

As postmodernism goes, many things of the past were criticized, some with good reason, some not. Some products of the modern day were harshly judged, while others weren’t, depending on their reasons. Literature, comics, movies, video games, heavy metal and rap music, and such were judged. Tipper Gore and the likes tried to put restrictions on certain types of music a few years prior, and video games were to be the next target in coming years. Words went through their natural shift, some became offensive, some were the new safe terms, it’s the way things go. Well this Garner dude stepped up and decided to mock the trend, and wrote this story. He took classic fairy tales and threw in buzzwords, modified the plots, and made it look more politically correct on the surface. Until you actually sit down and read it, then you quickly catch on that it’s satire.

Now in my defense, with the way things go, I find this book to be an example of Poe’s Law. The line is so blurred that this could also easily pass for a real reconstruction of classic fairy tales. I fell for it, I took the bait.

It’s not even like fairy tales being made more family friendly is unheard of. How many people were told the original stories, filled with rape and murder, as kids? How many were told the ones with happy endings? It would only seem as a logical step, if parents felt a sense of political self-righteousness, to erase even more undesirable bits of old stories. Hell, retelling fairy tales is even used in TV shows and movies when they need a cheap copout (let’s ignore my fantasy screenplays, yeah?)

Let’s be honest here though, who can’t see someone looking at the hunter/woodcutter as a patriarchal, sexist, speciesist, insert-other-buzzword in the modern day? Or trying to retell fairy tales to be more inclusive? The satire comes to life more and more each day. So am I stupid for falling for it the first time? Well yes, I am, all I had to was read the author’s biographical statement in the back. But that’s not the point, this book is funny and I recommend it.


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