37 Comments

  1. OMG! A fictional legend reversed to reality by reversing gender and center prop in time. “Archeverse” ?Spike heels are often used as ad hoc weapons (sword) )in a many “girl cop” shows. Who can make a list of tropes following that thread.

  2. Yes, the joke is the Matter of Britain as a reality show. Misspelling “Guenevere” is presumably accidental, rather than a failed second joke.

  3. To reopen a bts discussion among Usual John and the editors, do you see elements of the Cinderella story in this as well?

  4. “Geneviere” is the French version of the Welsh “Gwenhwyfar”, which is rendered in English in multiple ways including “Guinevere”.

  5. King Arthur proved himself to be the rightful king of England by pulling a sword from a stone.

    So, prospective queens are given a similar test. Women are obsessed with shoes. So, they are given the task of pulling a shoe from a stone. See, the shoe’s heel is embedded.

  6. @Powers, I was surprised and pleased to learn at some rather recent point, that one line of derivation of that name into modern times yields Jennifer.

  7. The Barbi-ish text holds its own in the “who’s the target”category. Why “in the North” though? Any thoughts?

  8. My other question was, are the women in the background all supposed to be contestants waiting to pull the Shoe from the Stone? Some of them, and particularly the white-haired woman, look a bit mature to be seeking a role as Arthur’s bride.

    I assume the reference to the “village in the north” is because the cartoonist was unaware that Guinevere is traditionally supposed to be from Wales.

  9. Yes, I would guess the other women in the background are other candidates, waiting their turn to try. But because (as Mitch points out) the theme of selecting by shoe suggests some spillover from the Cinderella story, it is tempting to take the other women as associated with the central figure, as family or something.

  10. There was a bit of an inadvertent synchronicity for me about this, as just this morning a Facebook friend posted an old speedbump cartoon about selecting King Arthur’s chef by means of a stony chef’s knifeblock.

    https://www.gocomics.com/speedbump/2017/02/22

    I had to point out the timing error in the speech bubble – no one would know the new king was going to be be called King Arthur until after some kid called Arthur pulled the sword from the stone.

    In the original story, a whole bunch of people try their hand at pulling the sword from the stone. Similarly in today’s CIDU a bunch of women are lined up to see who is shown to be blessed by being able to pull the stiletto heel from the stone.

  11. Terry Pratchett wrote somewhere that rather than being amazed by someone pulling the sword OUT of the rock, we should be looking for the person putting it IN the rock. Altho, wasn’t it Merlin or some wizard? Which might explain how it was done.

    We live on Jennifer Terrace – nice to now know the basis of that name.

  12. @ Andréa – I wasn’t able to find an explanation about how the sword got into the stone from any of the original sources, but in the movie “Excalibur”, it was driven into the stone by Uther Pendragon just before he dies.

    P.S. Whether or not the “sword in the stone” is identical to the “Excalbur” (which Arthur gave back to the lady in the lake for safekeeping) depends on which version of the story you are reading.

  13. It doesn’t help confused spellers that in the musical Camelot, Guenevere sings a song to St. Genevieve.

  14. Just imagining Prince Charming going through the village trying to find the woman who fits the glass bra.

  15. @ MiB – Glass is just an anachronistic modernization for film purposes. I’m sure the Germanic authors would have specified “bronze” for the brassiere, just like in all the famous operas .

  16. I once heard that her slipper wasn’t meant to be ‘glass’ at all, but ‘green’. It was a mistranslation from French to English, and it just stuck. It kind of makes sense as the words in French are only one letter apart (glass – verre, green – verte) and who ever heard of glass slippers? Seems impractical.

    I could look it up, but I like this explanation so I’m sticking with it.

  17. The Snopes article is too quick to discount the homophonic issue. In folk tales, oral traditions preserve old terms long past their usage in normal language, and the shift may have occurred as part of the oral transmission, long before the tale was transcribed in French, or translated from French into English or German (the Grimm’s version “Aschenputtel” is based in part on Perrault’s “Cendrillon“). According to German sources, the transcribed word “verre” (glass) was indeed originally “vair“, a type of fur (in old French). For whatever reason, the Grimms bypassed the issue entirely, and used golden slippers instead.

  18. And of course Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers were originally Silver Shoes, so there’s just an awful lot of inaccuracies in the fairy footwear department…

  19. … and the Silver Shoes, as she walks on the Yellow Brick Road, are supposed to be some sort of allegory about the Silver Standard vs. the Gold Standard, which should be obvious when we notice that “oz.” is the abbreviation for ounces, the unit in which gold and silver are measured

    An interpretation of which I am very skeptical, having also heard that Baum had two file boxes, A – N and O – Z, the latter of which inspired the name Oz.

  20. @ MiB – Even if there isn’t any definitive proof about how the name “Oz” was actually invented, the best reason for favoring the “file cabinet” explanation is that this story was offered by Baum himself (using three: A-G, H-N, O-Z). The Snopes article about the etymology lists a number of other possible candidates, but they place the “ounce” theory dead last.

  21. I have been told that there is a history for the gold-standard theory and it doesn’t trace back to Baum. FWIW.

  22. The Oz as Populist allegory is another of those things that gets debated. Some claim it doesn’t fit with Baum’s personal politics but the evidence other than the actual stories is scant for either side.

    Reportedly the slippers in the movie changed because they’d show up better in Technicolor. The history of the movie is convoluted and it’s another of those that came close to being scrapped. The early shooting had Dorothy in rather more “adult” attire and makeup, to the point where one film historian referred to it as “Lolita Gale of Kansas”.

  23. That’s an impressively anachronistic historian: the movie was released 16 years before Nabokov’s novel.

  24. A Lolita or “nymphet,” as Nabokov used the term, is a sexually attractive pubescent girl of about 12 to 14. The original costuming of Judy Garland, which can be seen at https://ozmuseum.com/blogs/news/the-songs-that-got-away-from-oz (scroll down), was not particularly Lolita-like, but it did make Dorothy look like Judy’s actual age of 16 – clearly much older than Dorothy is supposed to be.

    Casting child actors is hard; most children just can’t act that well. For The Wizard of Oz, a popular child actress of appropriate age, Shirley Temple, was considered; reportedly she did not have a sufficiently strong singing voice. Garland, an accomplished actress with a strong singing voice, was probably a better choice, even though she was inappropriately old for the part. We see the same issue with every movie and TV show casting 20-something performers as high school students.

  25. That’s an impressively anachronistic historian: the movie was released 16 years before Nabokov’s novel.

    It was a more recent historian.

  26. @ Brian – I understood that, but I still don’t agree with his objections to the dress (shown at the bottom of the article that Usual John provided). Just because that other costume wasn’t the one that was selected to become the one “the whole world has long since come to embrace, treasure, and carry in their hearts…” does not mean that the earlier image was “wrong”. There never was any reason to pretend that Judy’s “Dorothy” was the same age as Baum’s character in the book: she clearly wasn’t, neither in either of those dresses, nor in her actions.

  27. As I understand it, and it’s been a while since I saw the documentary, there was complaint within the studio on the matter.

  28. @ Brian – That seems more understandable. Standards for “propriety” were much stricter in the late 1930s. Even in the late 1960s, NBC felt it necessary to exercise a ludicrous amount of self-censorship (by today’s standards) over the producers and scriptwriters for Star Trek.

  29. Years before the Judy Garland version, Larry Semon made a silent version. It’s not very good; Semon was brilliant in his short films but just didn’t have what Chaplin, Lloyd and Keaton had when it came to full-length features. 19-year-old Dorothy Dwan played an 18-year-old Dorothy. The plot was a kind of mix of elements of some of the Oz books. Dorothy grew up on a farm never knowing that she was the heir to the throne of Oz until her 18th birthday when the secret was revealed.

    It wouldn’t be worth watching even without the tasteless racist humor that runs through it, starting in the credits, where Black actor Spencer Bell playing “Rastus” and “Snowball” is credited as “G. Howe Black.”

  30. That’s the one! I was wrong about the opening credits. Mr. “Black” gets his credit at 11:00, eating a guess what.

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