Friday, March 11, 2011

Deal With It

There was a kid at the library the other day who was whining his behind off. Apparently, he wanted to do something, and his mother told him he couldn't, which caused him to throw a tantrum, right in the middle of the library.

My usual response to whining children is that, if they're planning on providing me with whine, they should at least provide the cheese, strawberries, and crusty baggette too. It usually gets a laugh out of my coworkers -- and the exasperated parent. And it's enough that the kid usually stops whining -- at least enough to stare at you in a confused manner.

This time, however, it just ticked me off. Because you know what, Buddy? Sometimes, life isn't a bed of roses. Sometimes, you DON'T get everything you want. Life. Isn't. Fair. In fact, sometimes, life downright SUCKS. And the sooner you figure that out, the better.

And in the meantime, while you're figuring that out, I'll go and tell my friend, who just lost her baby, or my aunt, who is dying of cancer, or all the people over in Japan who just lost their entire homes and livelihoods that they really need to get some perspective on life, because what they're suffering right now is NOTHING compared to being yelled at by your mother for not behaving as you ought.

btw? Here are links to MSF/DWB, the Red Cross, and the Japanese embassy in D.C, so please don't hesitate to pop on over to any of those sights and give what you can.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Food for Thought

What makes something a fairy tale?

According to the University of Chicago, a fairy tale is a specific type of folk tale, which, according to Merriam Webster, is " a characteristically anonymous, timeless, and placeless tale circulated orally among a people."

This would seem to indicate (to me, anyway) that a fairy tale has no actual author -- that it is a tale passed down orally from generation to generation until someone finally decides to write it down. That it might take on a slant of a particular culture or people, but that there is no known person who originally told it. Which makes sense to me. Stories like Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin and Hansel and Gretel might all have first been originally written down by the Grimm brothers, but where did the original versions come from? They were probably all stories that mothers told their children, who told their children, who told their children, and so on and so forth, with each generation altering the story ever-so-slightly, until Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm came along and wrote down what they believed to be the "purest" form.

Which brings about the next question. If fairy tales are supposedly anonymous, with no clear-cut orginal author, why is The Little Mermaid considered one? That story has an author. Not just a transcriber who happened to be the first person to write it down. It has an original author. Moreover, it doesn't even follow the traditional, happy ending, girl-marries-boy-moves-to-palace-and-lives-happily-ever-after format. So why is it considered a fairy tale?

I think I'm going to keep my compilation of Andersen's works in the 830's from now on.