I was a cartoon kid. I grew up on them, devoting endless Saturday mornings to the careful study of the various nuances of Underdog, Top Cat, or Yogi Bear. But far and away my absolute favorites were anything that came out of the Jay Ward factory. Bullwinkle and Rocky, Tom Slick, Dudley Do-Right, Peabody and Sherman. I may not have understood every joke, in fact there were times I knew something was a joke but too “adult” for me, but I loved the way they just kept spitting them out.
One that I generally did get the jokes for was Fractured Fairy Tales. Take a story that even at the age of seven or eight I had heard a zillion times and put a funny modern twist on it. Add that great narration by Edward Everett Horton and I’d say I would be on the floor laughing but I was already on the floor and laughing.
I bring this up because whenever there is fighting between Israel and an Arab entity (be it country or terrorist group) as there has been the last two weeks inevitably there will be a wag out there opining that this is just two peoples fighting over which Middle Eastern desert sect wrote down the better/correct fairy tales.
Both sides fairy tales are fractured. As are so many of the fairy tales we tell.
Personally I’m an atheist. Where did the world come from? Don’t know, don’t care. I deal with what is, not what might be. I wish the rest of the people in the world saw things as I see them, I think we’d all be better off, but I’m willing to respect a person’s right to their own opinion. You want to believe in God, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, the Church of Bob, that’s your belief system and if it works for you then as the kids these days say, you do you.
Where I do have a problem is when you want to take your personal belief system and impose it on everyone else. I’m not in favor of universal excommunication of all religion, but if your religion says in effect “Only our fairytale is the correct way to live your life, follow or we will make your life worthless” then I’m going to have to say “With all due respect, bullshit”.
Throughout human history we have told these fractured fairy tales. Ancient civilizations were mostly structured by fairy tales. What is a king or royalty but a construct by which a fable is told that this person, by right of family or maybe because he pulled a sword from a stone, is to rule over the rest of the land. As humans have evolved many societies have done away with that particular fairy tale or at least turned it into a profitable center of entertainment.
Yeah, I’m looking at you QEII.
The fairy tales did serve a somewhat useful purpose back in the day. They taught children to not steal from their neighbors or to be careful of the wolf in the forest or to not judge a beast too quickly for he may be an enchanted prince (or at least a nice guy). They also gave hope in a time when many lives were frankly hopeless. Maybe your fairy godmother will get you to the ball or a handsome prince will wake you from a spell or that even an ugly ducking can turn into a beautiful swan.
Told today, I can get behind most of those fairy tales for precisely the reason they were originally concocted, especially if the child the tale is told to is given some time to allow the message to seep into his or her brain. Or if they are then allowed to stumble onto the Jay Ward version.
I will grant you that the god fairy tale has made some people’s lives better (though how many have died in the various names of god), I’ll even allow you your royalty fairy tale. Where I draw the line and have to shout you down as nothing but a deceiver is when you tell political fairy tales. Political fairy tales are told for no other reason than the desire to amass power over others.
We all know the political fairy tales, we are in an unprecedented era of them. We hear them all the time these days.
- Demoncrats are socialists who want to take your property away
- Hilary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor
- The January 6th insurrection was nothing but over aggressive tourists
- There was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election
- COVID will just magically vanish once the weather turns warmer
- Trump’s healthcare plan would be coming in two weeks
- A secret cabal of (choose one) Freemasons, Jews, the Illuminati, control the world
- Iraq had weapons of mass destruction
And on and on it goes. They start as just out and out lies and then morph into fairy tales, told again and again to not only support but give credence and rational to a particular action. They are used to get people elected to political office or to keep someone from getting elected. They are used to deflect responsibility and to “prove” who is really at fault. They are used to elevate, if only in the listener’s mind, one group of people over another. There is no moral, no useful lesson to be learned from them.
Worst of all they are used as an excuse. “It’s not my fault I never succeeded in life, the Jew bankers and the socialist Demoncrats and the welfare cheating blacks and all the rest conspired against me and here’s the proof — there’s a pizza parlor in DC running a child sex ring out of it’s basement”. And how does this dweeb know it to be the truth? Because it’s been drummed into his head in easy to understand words and phrases again and again by the pretty blonde woman on the TV.
Fox “News” is the reincarnation of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Yes, like El Grande Heffe der First Draft is correct in saying, mainstream media of late looks first for the gotcha and later for the facts, but Fox is miles beyond in their fantasy world of unscrupulous plots to destroy the American way of life. The fairy tales they weave are not meant to enrich or enlighten, they are meant to deceive, diminish, and destroy.
Samuel Johnson said “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”. Rupert Murdoch says “Listen to this. Once upon a time…”.