News for Dec. 11, 2005

Ape and essence

12/11/05, 11:24 am EST - Xoanon

DeWitt Henry writes: I didn't become a Kong-head as a boy, when I first viewed the 1933 film ''King Kong" on television, but 40 years later, when I was enjoying the video with my 5-year-old son, and my wife, a progressive educator, asked me to fast-forward past Kong's gnashing and stomping of natives. She objected to the film's blatant racism, sexism, and violence. Of course, fast-forwarding roused our son's curiosity and lent the film an aura of forbidden pleasure. Afterward we sat down together and attempted to rewrite the tale from the ape's point of view, emphasizing Kong's childlike innocence as he fondles the squeaking girl who reminds him of his mother, and as he proves his power against dinosaurs. This issue of framing a culturally offensive classic was a troubling one. [More]