I’m Back from the Eye Doctor’s

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My pupils will be dilated like this all day, and that will be a problem. The good news is, I’m in no immediate danger of going blind and I don’t need new glasses: everything shipshape, glaucoma held at bay. I don’t have any bad news.

I was rescued from the waiting room just as I was about to dip into Treasure Planet, a hardcover children’s book version of the 2002 Disney movie. I only had time to notice two things: they’d turned Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island into a thesaurus of science fiction cliches, and transformed the character of Captain Smollet into a female.

They didn’t stand over Stevenson’s grave and make rude noises and disrespectful gestures, but only because that would have been superfluous, given the contempt they’d already shown for an immortal work of story-telling.

Look, if you want female action heroes, fine–write ’em, film ’em. But don’t trash the work of a dead author who’s not here to defend himself; and for the love of all things holy, don’t rewrite the classics! Created by a genius and modified by idiots: never a pleasing combination.

“Hey, why don’t we make an animated science fiction cartoon of The Iliad?”

“The what?”

The Iliad–the story of the Trojan War.”

“They had a war over Trojans? Couldn’t they just use another brand?”

“We could make Achilles a transwoman!”

“Ak-who?”

Make that “modified by illiterate idiots.”

‘Silent Night’ (Bing Crosby)

Well, our Christmas tree is up, it’s trimmed, our new stove is cooking a duck for Christmas dinner, the cats are asleep, and my stars, am I beat!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted Silent Night yet. Let us remedy that, forthwith.

As for that Pew Poll–well, Robert Louis Stevenson didn’t call that character in Treasure Island “Blind Pew” for nothing.

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Blind Pew… one of the villains

Do They Have to Wreck ‘Treasure Island’?

Wallace Beery as Long John Silver in 1934–still the best!

One of our favorite movies is Treasure Island, the 1934 version with Wallace Beery as Long John Silver and Jackie Cooper as Jim Hawkins.

But there are many movie versions of this story, and I thought Patty might enjoy receiving one for Christmas. So I looked at all the versions that have been filmed since 1950.

Not even classic films and stories are safe from knuckleheads who want to fundamentally transform them.

In one version, Dr. Livesey is portrayed as a coward. In another, Squire Trelawney is a treacherous rogue. In yet another, the doctor and the squire get together to cut Jim out of his share of the treasure, forcing him to side with Long John and the pirates. In a fourth, everybody’s rotten.

I don’t propose to add any of these to our movie collection.

Well, it raises a question, doesn’t it?

Has our culture been so debauched, so corrupted, that no one can even tell a story anymore? Not even a story that has already been written? Are they unable to face themselves in the mirror unless they’ve taken a wonderful, straight, adventure story and transformed it into a post-modern gaggle of nasty characters who all belong in jail? Is this what convinces them that they’re sophisticated?

This age is no longer able to tell the difference between sophisticated and sophomoric.

Wallace Beery, you still da man.