'Disney-izing' George Orwell
and Mark Twain?
Did anyone notice that on TNT's production of Orwell's Animal Farm a few moths ago the story was changed? They touted the story as a glimpse at the inanities of Soviet communism--which it did quite well. If I remember correctly, however, in the book, there was a raven or black bird that would occasionally blather about Sugarcandy Mountain or some such place Orwell used as a simile for heaven.
The gist I got from the book was that the communist system was crappy and corrupt, while heaven was just a vacuous fallacy used to offer hope to the down-trodden--nothing more. It seemed that Orwell's point was quite pessimistic, neither option offering much real hope of improving the animlas' plight. I though about why TNT would omit the Raven's character and then I realized yet another example of American television Christianifying (sorry) and diminishing great works of literature. I guess Ted Turner couldn't maintain the integrity of the book and its minor digs at Christian beliefs. Rather pathetic.
This is not the first classic to be mollified by American television. I still have not read any of Mark Twain's stories thanks to Disney's banal adaptation of Tom Sawyer etc... for television. I always thought the whole book was the boring story about these kids floating down the Mississippi as the television show portrayed--without the biting social commentary of the social problems of that time.
I would like to hear any comments you or your readers have--also, if I am mistaken about the bird in Animal Farm please offer corrections.
From: "Positive Atheism" <email@example.com>
To: "Diamond Jim"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section : ANIMAL FARM on TNT
Date: Saturday, August 19, 2000 5:30 PM
I have not read or seen Animal Farm but have read Tom Sawyer -- as early as the fourth grade and as recently as earlier this year. It is an easy read, and a good reader should be able to cover it in two or three evenings.
After reading Twain as a child, I went from being tossed around in a neutral, agnostic fog to actually knowing where I stand on religion. Twain enabled me to stop being polite to religion -- at least within the confines of my own mind.
To Disney-ize Tom Sawyer would be to change it entirely, according to the following letter to a librarian, who was complaining that censorship types were trying to remove Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn from the children's section of the library and denouncing Huck's character, affirming that he "warn't no more quality than a mud cat":
21 Fifth Avenue,
I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn for adults exclusively, and it always distresses me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean; I know this by my own experience, and to this day I cherish an unappeasable bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again this side of the grave. Ask that young lady -- she will tell you so.
Most honestly do I wish I could say a softening word or two in defence of Huck's character, since you wish it, but really in my opinion it is no better than those of Solomon, David, Satan, and the rest of the sacred brotherhood.
If there is an unexpurgated in the Children's Department, won't you please help that young woman remove Huck and Tom from that questionable companionship?
(Signed) S. L. Clemens
Unfortunately, it would be better to pose this question on a George Orwell forum than on this one.
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