jueves, 19 de mayo de 2011

Politically Correct Snow White




Once there was a young princess who was not at all unpleasant to look at and had a temperament that many found to be more pleasant than most other people´s. Her nickname was Snow White, indicative of the discriminatory notions of associating pleasant or attractive qualities with light, and unpleasant or unattractive qualities with darkness. Thus, at an early age, Snow White was an unwitting if fortunate target for this type of coulourist thinking.

When Snow White was quite young, her mother was suddenly stricken ill, grew more advanced in nonhealth, and finally was rendered noviable. Her father, the king, grieved for what can be considered a healthy period of time, then asked another woman to be his queen.Snow white did her best to please her new mother-of step, but a cold distance remained between them.

The queen’s prized possession was a magic mirror that would answer truthfully any question asked it. Now, years of social conditioning in a male hierarchial dictatorship had left the queen very insecure about her own self-worth. Physical beauty was the one standard she cared about now, and she defined herself solely in regard to her personal appearance. So every morning the queen would ask the mirror:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who’s the fairest one of all?”

Her mirror would anwer:

“For all it’s worth, O my queen, Your beauty is the fairest to be seen.”

That dialogue went on regularly until once when the queen was having a bad hair day and was desperately in need of support, she asked the usual question and the mirror answered:

“Alas, if worth be based on beauty, Snow White has surpassed you, cutie.”

At this, the queen flew into a rage. She ordered the royal woodsperson to take Snow White into the forest and kill her. And, possibly to impress the males in the royal court, she barbarously ordered that the girl´s heart be cut out and brought back to her.

The woodsperson sadly agreed to these orders, and led the girl, who was actually now a young wommon, into the middle of the forest. But his connections to the earth and seasons had made him a kind soul, and he couldn´t bear to harm the girl. He told Snow White of the oppressive and unsisterly order of the queen and told her to run as deeply as she could into the forest.

The frightened Snow White did as she was told. The woodsperson, fearing the queen´s wrath but unwilling to take another life merely to indulge her vanity, went into town and had the confectioner concoct a heart of red marzipan. When he presented this to the queen, she hungrily devoured the heart in a sickening display of pseudo-cannibalism.

Snow White ran deep into the woods. Just when she thought she had fled as far as she could form civilization and its unhealthy influences, she stumbled upon a cottage. Inside she saw seven tiny beds, set in a row and all unmade. She also saw seven sets of dishes piled high in the sink and seven reclining chairs in front of seven remote-controlled TVs. She surmised that the cottage belonged to either seven little men or one sloppy numerologist. The beds looked so inviting that the tired youngster curled up on one and immediately fell asleep.

When she awoke several hours later, she saw the faces of seven bearded, vertically challenged men surrounding the bed. She sat up with a start and gasped. One of the men said, “You see that? Just like a flighty woman: resting peacefully one minute, up and screaming the next.”

"I agree", said another. "She´ll disrupt our strong bond of brotherhood and create competition among us for ther affections. I say we throw her in the river in a sack full of rocks".

"I agree we should get rid of her", said a third, "but why degrade the ecology? Let´s just feed her to a bear or something and let her become part of the food chain"

When Snow White finally regained her senses, she begged, “Please, please don’t kill me. I meant no harm by sleeping on your bed. I thought no one would ever notice.”

"Ah, you see?" said one of the men. "Female preoccupations are already surfacing. She´s complaining that we don´t make our beds"

"Kill her! Kill her!"

"Please, no!" she cried. "I have travelled so deep into these woods because my mother-of-step, the queen, ordered me to be killed".

"See that? Internecine female vindictiveness!"

“Don’t try to play victim with us, kid!”

(...)

we are known as the seven towering giants!” said the leader. Snow White´s suppression of a giggle did not go unnoticed. The leader continued “We are towering in spirit and so are giants among the men of the forest. We used to earn our living by digging in our mines, but we decided that such a rape of the planet was immoral and short-sighted (besides, the bottom fell out of the metals market). So now we are dedicated stewards of the earth and live here in harmony with nature. To make ends meet, we also conduct retreats for those who need to get in touch with their primitive masculine identities.”

“So what does that involve,” asked Snow White, “aside from drinking milk straight from the carton?”

“Your sarcasm is ill-advised,” warned the leader of the Seven Towering Giants. “My fellow giants want to get rid of our corrupting feminine presence, and I might not be able to stop them, understand? My men, we must speak our hearts openly and honestly. Let us adjourn to the sweat lodge!”

(...)

Meanwhile, back at the castle, the queen rejoiced at the thought that her rival in beauty had been eliminated. She puttered around her boudoir reading Elle and Glamour, and indulged herself with three whole pieces of chocolate without purging. Later, she confidently strolled up to her magic mirror and asked her same, sad question:

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who’s the fairest one of all?”

The mirror replied,

“Your weight is perfect for your shape and height, But for sheer OOOOMPH!, you can’t beat Snow White.”

At this news, the queen clenched her fists and screamed at the top of her lungs. For years, her insecurities had been eating away at her until now they turned her into someone who was morally out of the mainstream. With cunning and malice, she began to devise a plan to ensure the nonviability of her daughter-of-step.

A few days later, Snow White, to be sure she didn´t touch or rearrange anything, was meditating on the floor in the middle of the cottage. Suddenly there was a knock on the door of the cottage. Snow White opened the door to find a chronologically gifted woman with a basket in her hand. By the look of her clothes, she was apparently unfettered by the confines of regular employment.

“Help a woman of unreliable income, dearie,” she said, “and buy one of my apples.”

Snow White thought for a moment. In protest against agribusiness conglomerates, she had a personal rule against buying food from middlepersons. But her heart went out to the economically marginalized woman, so she said yes. What Snow White didn´t know was that this was really the queen in disguise and that the apple had been chemically and genetically altered so that whoever bit it would sleep forever.

The queen burst into tears.

“Why, what’s the matter?” asked Snow White.

“You’re so young and beautiful.” sobbed the queen. “How do you stay in such perfect shape?”

“Well, I meditate, work out in step aerobics three hours a day, and eat only half-portions of anything placed in front of me. Would you like me to show you?”

“Oh, yes, yes, please,” said the queen. So they started out with 30 minutes of simple hatha yoga meditation, then worked out on step for another hour. As they relaxed afterward, Snow White cut her apple in half and gave a piece to the queen. Without thinking, the queen bit into it, and both of them fell into a deep sleep.

Later that day, the Seven Towering Giants returned from a retreat in the woods, elaborately decked out in animal skins, feathers, and mud. With them was a prince from a nearby kingdom, who had come on this male retreat to find a cure for his impotence (or, as he preferred to call it, his involuntary suspension from phallocentric activity.) They were all laughing and high-fiving until they saw the bodies stopped short.

“What has happened?” asked the prince.

“Apparently our house guest and this other woman got into some sort of catfight and killed each other,” surmised one giant.

"If they thought that by doing this, they could make us slaves to our weaker emotions, they´re wrong" fumed another.

"Well, since we´ve got to dispose of them, let´s practise one of those Viking funerals we´ve read about".

“You know,” said the prince, “this might sound a little sick, but I trust you guys. I find that younger one attractive. Extremely attractive. Would you fellows mind…um…waiting outside while I…?”

“Stop right there!” said the leader of the giants. “These half-eaten apple pieces, that filthy-costume–this has all the earmarks of some sort of magic spell. They’re not really dead at all.”

“Whew,” sighed the prince, “that makes me feel better. So, could you guys take five and let me…?”

“Hold it, Prince,” said the leader. “Does Snow White make you feel like a man again?”

“She certainly does. Now, could you guys…?”

“Don’t touch her! You’ll break the spell.” The leader thought for a minute and said, "My brothers, I see certain economic possibilities arising from this. If we kept Snow White around here in that state, we could advertise our retreats as impotency therapy".

The giants nodded in agreement with this idea, but the prince interrupted, "But what about me? I´ve already paid for my retreat. Why can´t I, um take the cure?"

"No dice, Prince", said the leader. "you can look but don´t touch. Otherwise you´ll break the spell. Tell you what, though. You can have the other one if you want"


James Finn Garner
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times

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