Sunday, February 9, 2014

I've got a bone to pick with Beatrix Potter

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin has an awful moral to it. All of Nutkin's cousins (along with his brother Twinkleberry) act completely servile to Old Brown. And not only that, but they sacrifice other animals to him. For his part, Brown is a jerk and a bully and he revels in his tribute. And in the end of course he's violent. Squirrel Nutkin wasn't even trying to take Old Brown's nuts. He was just hanging out - playing marbles with berries and bowling with pine cones. And he just sang and told riddles. At worst he was annoying. But he's the only one in the whole story that's not a jackass or pushover. And in the end we're supposed to think that Nutkin got what he deserved for what - for annoying Old Brown the bully?

I don't know... this one may have to come out of the rotation.

Plus she calls paddles "oars".


  1. Old Brown is the state. Nutkin is the tax payer.

    What now!

    1. Nutkin is totally off the grid. If anyone is a taxpayer it's Twinkleberry.

      It works as a predatory state (although Old Brown never seems to demand anything... although perhaps it's implied). Granted it also works as a private transaction (it's his island they come to and they are offering something to gather nuts there).

      In either case it irks me because even as a private transaction they're so damn servile through the whole thing and Nutkin really doesn't deserve to get his tail bitten off.

    2. This lit crit stuff is easy. No wonder humanities PhDs get crappy pay.

    3. Would that they did. Not my observation.

      Fish said any English prof making less than 250K just isn't trying, and he said it over 20 years ago.

  2. Power demands deference even when there is nothing just about it. A rather adult moral.


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