David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
What the Huck are we doing to great stories?

January 17, 2011:  What the Huck are we doing to great stories?

In the spirit of the recent release of Huckleberry Finn, in which the infamous "n-word" has been replaced by the word "slave" so that the book might be more widely read, here are some changes I would propose to works of literature and film.

Kate Chopin's The Awakening should be given a new ending.  Edna, as she looks out at the sea and contemplates suicide is confronted by her guardian angel, Clarice, who challenges her belief that suicide is her only option.  Edna turns away from the sea and returns to her husband and kids.  When members of her society call Edna a bad mother, Clarice challenges them:  "are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself?"   When Leonce dies of a stroke, Edna and Robert can fulfill their romantic desires.  We could re-title the book, "It's A Wonderful Awakening of the Lambs."

The myth of Pygmalion can be rewritten to show the male chauvinist pig that Pyg is.  After Aphrodite gives his sculptured beautiful woman life, she immediately proceeds to shave her head completely bald, and storms away from him muttering in a harsh, Irish accent: "I haven't traveled this far to become no man's woman."  His creation goes on Saturday Night Live and rips up a picture of Pygmalion, screaming "fight the real enemy."  She then disappears into obscurity and Pygmalion dates Jessica Simpson.

The plot of Psycho can be made more sensitive to the modern viewer.   Norman posts his video of Marion showering on "YouTube," which causes Marion to give the Bates Motel a scathing review on Travelocity.com.  Angry because his mother told him that running a motel was beneath him and that he should be a doctor, Norman buys an AK47 from a box store where the clerk doesn't even seem concerned that Norman is talking to his non-existent mother the whole time he is there, and shoots Marion and four others at her place of work.  The media goes on a firestorm about the posting of negative reviews on Travelocity, and Dr. Phil is called into work with Norman, a televised session that culminates in Dr. Phil shouting, "Norman.  I don't care what your mother said.  You're a big boy now.  What are you going to do about it?"

It is the highest rated show in the history of Dr. Phil.