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Little Women: The Woke Version

Ever since the late 1860’s the excellent tale of a family with four daughters called “Little Women” has been in continuous publication and when you read it you will understand why.

Note: the director called for artists to create a poster but only allowed about two weeks to create one. I didn’t even complete my concept design development. That’s what brought me to buy and read the novel and why I have this primitive concept sketch to use here. Perhaps I’d never have read the book otherwise but I’m so glad I did.

Movies have been made, trying to capitalize on that story, for a very long time.

The latest as of this date, was just released and I saw it in the theater Christmas Day with family.

The title of the book rubbed me the wrong way as a kid who suspected it made fun of girls, but recently I read it cover to cover. It’s a great book!

Why was it not required reading in high school when Lord of the Flies was? It’s certainly more endearing and inspiring. Feels better too.

The 2019 movie version by Greta G. I propose to be retitled, “Little Women – The Woke Version” and left on the shelf.

I’m now looking forward to a version that does the original story justice. Maybe one of the older ones already did.

[ I saw the S. Sarandon verson days later and it’s better but still just uses the book as a reference while rewriting the dispositions of the characters. Maybe it’s just really really hard to retain the intent of the author and tell the tale in a couple of hours for visual consumers. Or maybe I’m expecting more than can be for the integrity of an interpretation]

This one gets worse the more I realize the gratuitous brainwashing involved. Example, Marmee quoted a modern political agitator by saying she’d long been ashamed of her country. The cat was out of the bag. The statement was slipped into a scene where she was providing charitable care to the union soldiers who lost family and limbs securing the freedom for people who had no hope without that intervention. No country trashing sentiment was found in the book.

Rather than follow the book, the director altered the time lines, removed context and depth from character interactions, and made up story components not found in the book. For the most part, the personalities were simplified then puppetized for agenda.

The next morning, as I reflected on the movie I burst out laughing at one particularly manipulative sequence, not because it was funny but because it pulled the curtain back so well.

The coming of age for Jo involved the struggle to resolve competing interests in her soul. She longs to succeed as a writer. She chafes at the societal construct that restricts the expression of her desires. She’s full of love and lonely and yet she doesn’t see a future with the male bodied childhood friend who adores her and would gladly marry her. So resolved is she that there probably isn’t a soul mate for her, she doesn’t acknowledge that she’s actually crossed paths with that very person.

I think the author of the story developed the foundations of their mutual attraction brilliantly. She presented a polite, agreeable foreigner who cared about people for an unexpected match with Jo.

In the movie, he became the poster boy for the oppressed ‘immigrants’ who really could only find understanding in California. Rather than because he was a great conversationalist and a thinker like in the book, he became a victim fleeing ignorant oppressors  who was very concerned about not offending anyone and could play the piano like an angel from God. Beth’s replacement. The room was stilled and everyone enthralled as he tickled the ivories of her piano with his oppressed digits. At that moment, the whole family knew Jo must have him.

He left in the rain to trudge on foot to the station and great happy efforts were immediately employed to secure his place in the family so he wouldn’t have to relocate. They went with Jo to fetch him back so they could live happily ever after close at hand. All he had to offer was his vote. I mean, his love.

Jo had dug in and written her block buster novel, then delivered it to the publisher who received it with this level of enthusiasm, “meh”. But the publisher, a stupid man, was besieged by his daughters to print the book. Giggling and wise, they demanded the rest of the story (Alcott originally published the book in two parts). With prodding from his girls his eyes were opened.

The authoress negotiated a sweet commission, kept the copyright, and was happy. She looked downright regal standing at a window overseeing her new world with a leather bound copy of her creation in hand. Very pretty too.

She inherited a big house and while the original story reveals that she had long dreamed of turning it into an academy for boys, including poor and troubled ones, in the movie she didn’t really know what to do with it other than sell, but became woke and created a properly inclusive school with the windfall acquisition. Then she married the immigrant and he was put to use teaching art to multiracial girl clusters.

What I learned from the sermon (movie, sorry):

Women are short changed, but superior.

Men are dumb, but useful. They need minders.

There’s only one kind of immigrant: under rated, rule follower, misunderstood, polite, harmless, brilliant, desirable, oppressed – all in one.

America is to be ashamed of. As the sheep say, “Baaaad Baaahd”

Girls just wanna have fun.

Women who “know” are angry all the time. They just manage so you can’t tell. Remember the bumper sticker, “if you’re not angry, you aren’t paying attention.”

Rich people are good if they share.

In fairness, I think the movie creator believes the story is a great vehicle to attach her noble beliefs. However, thus infected, the host sickens and may die. So I hope a decent, inspiring, non-woke version of the story gets made that doesn’t substitute the lofty and timeless insights of the book with  political pandering and shameless propagandizing.

For the record, California is never mentioned in the book but in the movie it was the mecca of hope. Ha haha! So modern.


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