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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Ok, I am taking a little break from angst and image editing. My fun link for the day is via Boingboing, from the councilman who resigned in Klingon—not just the romanji, but in the full-on Klingon alphabet. (Better yet, his boss the mayor didn't miss a beat: his response was ‘Live long and prosper’. Ha!
Today's image may be blurry, but at least the background isn't full of folds!
And given our currently falling temps—the wizard watched in fascination as the thermometer slowly dropped below zero, a polar bear is entirely appropriate, no?
We have a lot of snow and it's gorgeous. (The fumes and noise from all the snowblowers drove me back inside. Ok, if people are too
lazy busy disabled to shovel their own snow, fine, but I think those things should a) not seize the lungs of all us shlubs still wielding shovels[i.e. not two-cycle engines] and b) quiet. Yes, that would make them more expensive. Well, then the owners would be paying the cost, instead of externalizing it to the rest of the neighbors. However, it seems unfair to put such a burden on someone living off disability...I know, the city could just buy a several-thousand dollar tractor like device and pay someone to do all the walks—which, during my childhood is exactly what our little town did. \Rant.)
This stocking required pretty heavy image manipulation so the background wasn't totally horrid; hence the delay. Guess I should've posted the languagelog entry about reindeer talk on the _Frozen_ discussion, but I still think it's worthwhile:)
Especially as we seem to be have a very great deal of snow. It's quite christmasy, on this 11th day of xmas.
I was gonna try and do 12 days of stockings (or, at least as many up to 12 that remain to be shown), but it's taken me several days to
piece together remember the history of this one, and the following one (which still requires some serious gimping to be presentable.)
Speaking of children's xmas stories (or tales now treated as such) I recently went and saw Frozen with f2tE, which had heard it was acceptably feminist, and even passed the Bechdel test. I presumed (correctly) that it was their interpretation of The Snow Queen.
I probably read the original as a child, but my favorite version is of course Joan Vinge's hugo award winning sf novel of the same name (and lucky me, I have the Leo and Diane Dillon cover, too.) There's no question in my mind that somebody at Disney read Robin McKinley's version of Beauty: it is from her book that Belle gets her love of reading and the big draft horse Philippe (a black and white Shire horse named Greatheart in the original). I wondered if Vinge's retelling influenced Frozen.
I thought it might be useful to reread the original and so I did; as fairy tales go, it's rather long, and somewhat meandering. I was struck by a couple of things: how well Vinge's version followed the original (which mostly had gone over my head); and Anderson's fairly obvious anti-Reason undertones. I found a feminist reading of the story but I probably should've done my search on an atheist one:)
Leaving aside the implication that education and reason inclines one to a cold, unfeeling heart (with its complement, pure
innocence um, ignorance a godly heart will triumph over all) I do agree with the reviewer who bemoans the fact that despite being written well over a hundred years ago, with almost all female characters, not one but two girl children who have the gumption to seek adventures on their own not to mention it's the boy who gets rescued, we really did ought to be having equally feminist tales now, in these supposedly enlightened times.
Frozen, like its predecessors Brave and Tangled, does seem to be moving in that direction: I actually think this film owes as much to these other two that came before it as anything else (without, it must be admitted, having done much but look over Amazon and Wikipedia's lists of the various adaptations). Tangled was for me problematic in many ways, not least because I thought the story centered too much on Flynn, not nearly enough on Rapunzel; but I know many people identified with her, owing to over-controlling parents: this was very real to them. Someone, they said, must have actually experienced this. And Rapunzel showed a certain level of grit.
Brave was a step up: again about a mother and daughter, who love each other, but have very different goals (and ideas about Merida's future.) As an embroideress, I particularly appreciated the non-combative way the daughter had to solve her problems. —Moreover, she was squarely at the center of the film.
Frozen continues to inch forward: this time the story centers on two sisters. (Vinge's version plays on this as well: the original Snow Queen seems more to be a force of nature; in the Vinge version of the story Moon Dawntreader, the girl who goes to rescue her childhood friend, Sparks, is a clone of Areinrhod, the ageless Winter Queen, who hopes her clone will continue her rule when the 150 year ‘Summer’ season commences; in that sense they are sisters. The Vinge version also transmutes the princess and specifically the intelligent-but-poor prince-consort who assist Gerda in the original into BZ Gundhalinu, a member of Kharemoughi ruling class (and my favorite character;) The robber girl also duly makes her appearance, assisting Moon and BZ's escape from the cold north, so that they can successfully return to the capital city, just as she did in the original. The magical woman becomes the maskmaker, and instead of causing Moon to forget Sparks, instead is instrumental in Moon's becoming the Summer Queen.)
We know why the Original Snow Queen is powerful; and why Areinrhod is powerful (she controls access to an immortality-granting substance); but why Elsa is a powerful ice magician is never explained in the Disney film. The broken shards of the evil mirror, that lodge in people's heads or hearts, (the blood of the mers, who are slaughtered in the Vinge version) duly make their appearance, but instead of lodging in the girl's protagonist's (male) friend, Elsa (accidentally) inflicts them upon her sister Anna.
The story still suffers from default male-ism. One can kind of see why, since there is a bit of love triangle going on with the younger princess, the two aspirants for her hand are male (Dizzy not being advanced enough yet to feature queer characters in leading roles). But the reindeer and the snowman— particularly the snowman, since it was created by Elsa—could have been female, or better yet, ambiguous. All the villains were male. The helpful Finn and Lapp women of the original were subbed out for a cranky (and of course male) shopkeeper. Come to think, the robber girl/Lapp/Finn women all more or less get rolled into Kristoff, the love interest. The magical woman is a troll paterfamilias. The reindeer Sven remains male.
However, the core of the story is the love the sisters have for each other. And though certainly easier to predict than Brave, the plot does have some minor twists (not to mention snarking on earlier Disney classics: ‘You got engaged after one day? Didn't your parents teach you better?!’ Heh!
The character design was more of that ‘3D’ manga/anime big-eye style; the snow was nicely rendered, the costumes were nice, and everyone was white-white-white, not altogether surprising, since the story is set in the far north. When, I wonder, is Dizzy gonna start mining all those African fairy tales?
So, my conclusion was that this story probably owes more to other influences than the Vinge, which, given the many inches of snow we've been having, I'm inclined to reread:) In the meantime, have a fairy-tale stocking.
Other parts of the world have some interesting traditions. Given my fascination with Asia, it's not surprising that I'm all about fireworks or listening to temple bells. When I was in better shape, I once did 108 sun salutations at the local yoga studio; that was kinda cool. —But I just like the general idea of cleaning up, sweeping out bad feelings, and clearing out old debts, which doesn't seem to be so much of the US tradition—just this watered down New Year's resolution stuff, which is basically treated as a joke.
Hm. In the interest of tidying up, I guess I'll just continue with the 12 days of stockings. And oh yes, Happy New Year, everybody!
Today's stocking is based on a Robin McKinley fairy tale. It's also one of those posts that has stretched out for years —I got it started a while back, and then lost track. Really, so much easier to post about stockings after christmas. Before, I am usually way too busy making the darn things.
Unless otherwise noted, text, image and objects depicted therein copyright 1996--present sylvus tarn.Sylvus Tarn