Journal Entry 2:
Once upon a time, in what seems like a land far far away, kids actually grew up on fairy tales. The timeless Brothers Grimm tales were read out loud to kids by parents everywhere. Then Disney came along, revolutionizing the fairy tale world to a whole new dimension: movies. But the content was all about innocent stories, a few classic songs, and a nice hearty moral, leaving you feeling like the world is a simply wonderful place.
In class this week, we talked about the difference between children’s books and animated fairy tales, and if it was possible that these cinematic experiences were replacing early childhood story telling. Let’s assume that yes, movies have made a large impact on who we were as kids. So what? They were still fairy tales. The same basic themes and morals applied.
So where am I going with this? I’ll get right to the point with one simple question: If we’re so concerned about how we were brought up, what the hell is happening to the generation growing up these days? The friendly happy fairy tales that were (dramatic pause) “replacing” childrens books have become dated and, for lack of a better word, lame. They are the butt of the joke as fairy tale parodies like Shrek top the box office charts. Kids are seeing the Three Little Pigs being made fun of before they even know who the Three Little Pigs are!
Just think, what would the discussion be like in a VisCom class identical to this ours, except 10 years from now. Would they be asking if ‘good moral stories’ such as The Lion King were replaced by Finding Nemo? Would they even mention the concept of childrens books?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not launching a complaint here. Not once did I say this transformation is bad. On the contrary, find it fascinating. We are so nostalgic about the classic Cinderella fairy tale printed in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm that we don’t even notice the pace our culture is moving at.
It’s as if fairy tales were hit with a wave of post-modernism. There are striking similarities between famous pieces of post-modern art (Mona Lisa with a mustache) and Shreks version of Cinderella, or any other fairy tale for that matter. It takes a piece of history and comments on it with a less than subtle dose of irony. Fairy tales aren’t even being made anymore! Disney released a statement saying that Tangled (a telling of Repunzel) is the last ‘fairy tale’ they plan to make. Ever.
Just as our childhood will never be the same as our parents, future generations are going to experience even further distortions of what we once thought was ‘classic.’ Who is going to be around to say that Brothers Grimm fairy tales were classics in 80 years when the oldest generation alive grew up on Shrek. It is an interesting thought.