I'll come up with something in a minute.

Do you really know those characters?

I’m often confounded and amazed by how TV and movies work on people.

Take the dogmatism about vampires where people will demand, sometimes to the point out shouting that vampires cannot be in sun light, they don’t go out during the day, and even a sliver of strong UV rays will kill them. To which I say, “Yes, yes, unless of course you’re actually reading a book like… oh, I don’t know…Dracula! You know, fucking Dracula, where the whole literary vampire thing got started for all intents and purposes*.” And I’m then forced to explain about the half dozen or so scenes where Dracula is out and about during the day. Those scenes are at the bottom of this lovely Snopes article where they also explain that it’s a kukri and a bowie knife that end the life of the count in the book. (I have a kukri, but no bowie knife. How will I survive being attacked by vampires? Someone should really get me a bowie knife.)
*Yes I know Varney the Vampire was published before Dracula, but Varney can fuck off. Most people don’t even know it exists, much less can claim it had a direct influence on them.

Like wise the character of Tarzan is almost nothing like the popular idea we’ve been given by Johnny Weissmuller movies. While Tarzan does possess the strength and speed of a jungle creature, he’s also very smart and picks up languages quite quickly. He was never the “Me Tarzan, you Jane” thickheaded jock of the movies. Consider also that in the 24 books penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, he fights everything from Russian Agents to mad scientists. Hell, he even fought in World War One in Tarzan The Untamed. And yet, people think that Tarzan is supposed to speak in a slightly less intelligent manner than the average Indian in a mid-40’s western. It’s odd that “Me Tarzan, you Jane” endures so long, particularly since I do believe that actual line doesn’t appear in any of the movies.

Another one that I always find odd is Frankenstein’s monster. A lumbering, bestial idiot, made of equal parts strength and stupidity. A mute, or as someone who can only speak a few words, right? Barely above a retarded child, yes? The depiction in Van Helsing as an intelligent being who is always quoting books and things was ridiculous in the extreme, right? Oh my darlings, are you ready to be wrong again?

Again, we have someone who was badly abused by the movie industry. The monster is an erudite, intelligent, sensitive creature who wished to be accepted into the world, but was universally feared because of his incredible ugliness. He reads books, discusses thing intelligently, and is a portrayal of self-loathing intensified by interaction with other people. The more he learns, the more he despises his own creation. Had the book been written today, the monster would have worn black eyeliner and been into cutting as well. Seriously, give the book a good solid reading and you’ll find pure undiluted emo looking you square in the face.

There isn’t a greater point here, I’m just expressing that I find the fact interesting. Maybe there is some larger point about how people should read more, or at least look shit up on Wikipedia before they talk about shit they don’t know, but it’s buried under my opaque and self-satisfied writing style.

Also, Holmes never actually said “Elementary, my dear Watson.” in any of the books. Just throwing that in there for people who were disappointed that it wasn’t in the new movie.

January 30, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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