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Once Upon a Time

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CHAPTER ONE

Once There was a Time
An Introduction to the History and Ideology of Folk'and Fairy Tales

To begin with a true story told in fairy-tale manner:
Once upon a time the famous physicist Albert Einstein was confronted by an overly concemed woman who sought advice on how to raise her small son to become a successful scientist. In particular she wanted to know what kinds ofbooks she sll ould read to her son. "Fairy tales," Einstein responded without. hesitation. "Fine, but what else should I read to him after that?" the mother asked. "More fairy tales, "Einstein stated. "And after that?" "Even more fairy tales. " replied the great scientist, and he waved his pipe like a wizard pronouncing a happy end to a long adventure.
It now seems that the entire world has been following Einstein's advice. By 1979 a German literary critic could declare that fairy tales are "fantastically in."\ In fact, everywhere one turns today fairy tales and fairy-tale motifs pop up like magic. Bookshops are flooded with . fairy tales by J.R.R. Tolkien, Hermann Hesse, the Grimm Brothers, Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen, a myriad of folk-tale adaptations, feminist and fractured fairy tales, and scores of sumptuously illustrated fantasy works such as The Namia Chronicles by C.S.

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Lewis or the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. Schools and theaters perform a wide range of spectacular fairy-tale plays for the benefit of children. Operas and musical works are based on fairy-tale themes. Famous actors make fairy-tale recordings for the radio and other mass media outlets. Aside from the Disney vintage productions, numerous films incorporate fairy-tale motifs and plots. Even porno films make lascivious use of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Little Red Riding Hood," and "Sleeping Beauty." Fairy-tale scenes and figures are employed in advertisements, window decorations, TV commercials, restaurant signs, and club insignias. One can buy banners, posters, T-shirts, towels, bathing suits, stickers, ash trays, and other household goods plastered with fairy-tale designs. The internet is filled with all kinds of multi-media fairy tales, hypertexts, illustrations, reviews, bibliographies, and anthologies. One need only type in "fairy tale" on Yahoo, and there will be several thousand hits.. Clearly, the fantastic projections of the fairy-tale world appear to have become "in," consuming the reality of our everyday life and invading the inner sanctum of our subjective world. Yet, one could ask whether fairy tales were ever "out." Haven't fairy tales been with us for centuries as a necessary part of our culture? Was there ever a time when people did not tell fairy tales? Just a superficial glance back into history will tell us that fairy tales have been in existence as oral folk tales for thousands of years and first became what we call literary fairy tales during the seventeenth cent~ry.2 Both t~e oral and the literary traditions continue to exist side by Side today, mteract, and influence one another, but there is a difference in the roles they now play compared to their function in the past. This difference can be seen in the manner in which they are produced, distributed and marketed. Profit mars their stories and their cultural heritage. Folk and fairy tales as products of the imagination are in danger of becoming instrumentalized and commercialized. All this has been accomplished within the framework of the modem culture industry. As Theodor Adorno has remarked: The culture industry fuses the old and familiar into a new quality. In all its branches, products which are tailored for consumption by masses, and which to a great extent determine the nature of that consumption, are manufactured more or less according

to plan. The individual branches are similar in structure or at least fit into each other, ordering themselves into a system almost without a gap. This is made possible by contemporary technical capabilities as well as by economic and administrative concentration. The culture industry intentionally integrates its consumers from above. To the detriment of both it forces together the spheres of high and low art, separated for thousands ofyears. The seriousness of high art is destroyed in speculation about its efficacy; the seriousness of the lower perishes with the civilizational constraints imposed on the rebellious resistance inherent within it as long as social control was not yet total. Thus, although the culture industry undeniably speculates on the conscious and unconscious state of the millions towards which it is directed, the masses are not primary but secondary, they are an object of calculation; an appendage of the machinery.3 It would be an exaggeration to argue that the culture industry in the Western world has total control over cultural production and reception, but it certainly has grown in power and has a vast influence on the consciousness of consumers through the ideology carried by its products. Thus, the emancipatory potential aesthetically conceived in the folk and fairy tales is rarely translated into social action, nor can the tales nurture sufficient discontent to make their effects reasonably certain. This is not to say that folk and fairy tales were always developed with "revolution" or "emancipation" in mind. But, insofar as they have tended to project other and better worlds, they have often been considered subversive, or, to put it more positively, they have provided the critical measure of how far we are from taking history into our own hands and creating more just societies. Folk and fairy tales have always spread word through their fantastic images about the feasibility of utopian alternatives, and this is exactly why the dominant social classes have been vexed by them, or have tried to dismiss them as "Mother Goose" tales, amusing·but not to be taken seriously.4 Beginning with the period of the Enlightenment, folk and fairy tales were regarded as useless for the bourgeois rationalization process. However, the persistence and popUlarity of the tales, oral and printed, suggested that their imaginative power might

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be more useful than previously realized. So it is not by chance that the culture industry has sought to tame, regulate and instrumentalize the fantastic projections of these tales. As I have stated above, it is best not to exaggerate the hold that the culture industry has maintained over its products and our consciousness. However, it is only within the context of the culture industry that we can learn something about the history of the folk and fairy tales, or rather, why we are so little aware of the history of the folk and fairy tales. In a recent reconsideration of Adorno's culture industry thesis, Shane Gunster has concretely demonstrated how we cannot avoid a commodified understanding of popular and high culture today because we cannot avoid the market conditions. of exchange. Participation in the act of exchange becomes a direct source of pleasure itself, rather than simply an instrument to be used in its acquisition. Conversely, we become incapable of achieving pleasure the practices and activities from which it is derived are mediated through the market: the exchange process becomes the gatekeeper for any and all forms of satisfaction, extracting our half-conscious loyalties as its toll. One is left with a broad collective libidinal investment in the core economic structures of modern society, buttressing the staying power of capitalism beyond anything Marx might have once envisaged.s This double-bind situation has become more and more apparent to critics troubled about the wave of commercialization and commodification sweeping over both the folk and fairy tales. Here are three good examples of concern expressed by perceptive writers worried about the fate of the folk and fairy-tale tradition and narrative in general: Like so many folk crafts whose means of production have been expropriated by technology, the folktale in most of its traditional genres has become a marketable commodity, ripped untimely from the socio-cultural setting in which it once flourished. And, to complete the process, what is left of the tales returns to contribute to the epidemic self-depreciation infecting the mod-

ern conscience. Children subjected to the biases of standardized schooling and mass modes ofentertainment no longer want to be "told" stories that might depart from the "correct" versions printed in books or on film. And their educators, wary of offending the complex psychology of the child's development. learn to trust modernized editions of folktales, if indeed they tell them at all. The stories grow too heavy to be sung. They lose the right to roam about from mouth to mouth and be transformed each time they come to rest in a storyteller's heart. 6 In this century at least, so many people know fairy tales only through badly truncated and modernized versions that it is no longer really fairy tales they know. The enemy, thus, is historical provincialism, the attitude that pretends one's native latterday eyes and instincts are bound to be enough to gain an understanding of fairy-tale literature. Of course our eyes and instincts are all we have to work with, but they can become more alert and better attuned just by reading many fairy tales, from many different places, with as much slowness and patience as can be mustered. Some sense of historical change can help here. ' The world is becoming with accelerating swiftness a single culture, and- narrative has always been rooted in localisms-the personal, the family, the tribe, even the nation. In a unitary worldwide civilization perhaps narrative discourse has little or no significant function. Walter Benjamin thought that story was obsolete in societies in which mechanical reproduction is popular as well as feasible. But even he did not foresee the extent and rapidity with which reproductive technologies would spread. In a world capable of instant electronic transmissions and rapid and inexpensive reproduction of images, for example, the patience required of a narrative audience, its willingness to let a story unfold at its pace, may not be a valuable attribute. s Over the last three centuries our historical reception of folk and fairy tales has been so negatively twisted by aesthetic norms, educational standards and market conditions that we can no longer distinguish

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folk tales from fairy tales nor recognize that the impact of these narratives stems from their imaginative grasp and symbolic depiction of social realities. Folk and fairy tales are generally confused with one another and taken as make-believe stories with no direct reference to a particular community or historical tradition. Their own specific ideology and aesthetics are rarely seen in the light of a diachronic historical development which has great bearing on our cultural selfunderstanding. Once there was a time when this was not the case. Once there was a time when folk tales were part of communal property and told with original and fantastic insights by gifted storytellers who gave. vent to the frustration of the common people and embodied their needs and wishes in the folk narratives. Not only did the tales serve to unite the people of a community and help bridge a gap in their understanding of social problems in a language and narrative mode familiar to the listeners' experiences, but their aura illuminated the possible fulfillment of utopian longings and wishes which did not preclude social integration. According to Walter Benjamin, the aura of a work of art consists of those symbolical properties which constitute its autonomy.9 In fact, folk tales were autonomous reflectors of actual and possible normative behavior which could strengthen social bonds or create more viable ones. Their aura depended on the degree to which they could express the needs of the group of people who cultivated them and transformed them through imaginative play and composition in "socially symbolical acts," to borrow a term from Fredric Jameson. 1O In many respects the aura of the folk tale was linked to a community of interests which has long since disintegrated in the Western world. Today the folk tale as an oral art form has lost its aura for the most part and has given way to the literary fairy tale and other mass-mediated forms of storytelling. Of course, it is important to bear in mind that storytelling in many different forms is still alive and that there has been a significant renaScence of storytelling within the last twenty years, as Joseph Sobol has pointed out in The Storytellers' Journey: An American Revival. II But this revival and clearly all forms of talk and storytelling are subject to the exchange conditions of the marketplace. Very little has been written about the transition of the folk tale to the fairy tale. why this occurred, and how. Since the development is

so complex and has its unique tradition in different couqtries, I shall limit myself in this introduction to broad remarks about the general history and ideology of folk and fairy tales in the Western world. The theses introduced here should be considered tentative; they are endeavors to grasp the social meaning of transformation. They are intended more to stimulate further thought about the subject and to provide a framework from which more thorough historical accounts of the transition of the folk tale to the fairy tale may be written. The essays which follow this introduction will substantiate my general arguments and focus on specific topics which have a direct bearing on how we read the tales today. Originally the folk tale was (and still is) an oral narrative form cultivated by non-literate and literate people to express the manner in which they perceived and perceive nature and their social order and their wish to satisfy their needs and wants. Historical, sociological and anthropological studies have shown that the folk tale originated as far back as the Megalithic period and that both nonliterate and literate people have been the carriers and transformers of the tales. As August Nitschke has demonstrated, the tales are reflections of the social order in a given historical epoch, and, as such, they symbolize the aspirations, needs, dreams and wishes of common people in a tribe, community, or society, either affirming the dominant social values and norms or revealing the necessity to change them. 12 According to the evidence we have, gifted narrators told the tales to audiences who actively participated in their transmission by posing questions, suggesting changes and circulating the tales among themselves. The key to comprehending the folk tale and its volatile quality is an understanding of the audience and reception aesthetics. Gerhard Kahlo has shown that most of the folk-tale motifs can be traced back to rituals, habits, customs and laws of primitive of precapitalist societies. Just a knowledge of the etymology of the words "king" and "queen" can help us grasp how the folk tales were directly representative of familial relations and tribal rites. "The kings in the ancient folk tales were the oldest of the clan according to the genuine, original meaning of the word, nothing else. The word, Konig Old High German kunig comes from kuni-race, which corresponds to the Latin gens and designates the head of the primordial family."13 This

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is also true of the word queen or Konigin, who was the dominant figure in matriarchal societies. Moreover, such acts which occur in folk tales as cannibalism, human sacrifices, primogeniture and ultrageniture, the stealing and selling of a bride, the banishment of a young princess or prince, the transformation of people into animals and plants, the intervention of beasts and strange figures were all based on the social reality and beliefs of different primitive societies. Characters, too, such as water nymphs, elves, fairies, giants, dwarfs, ghosts were real in the minds of primitive and civilized peoples, as Diane Purkiss has shown in At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, and Other Troublesome Things '4 and they had a direct bearing on social behavior, world views, and legal codification. Each historical epoch and each community altered the original folk tales according to its needs as they were handed down over the centuries. By the time they were recorded in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as literary texts, they contained many primeval motifs but essentially reflected late feudal conditions in their aesthetic composition and symbolic referential system. The folk tales and fairy tales collected by the Grimm Brothers can serve as an example here. The initial ontological situations in the tales generally deal with exploitation, hunger and injustice familiar to the lower classes in pre-capitalist societies. And the magic of the tales can be ~quated to the wish-fulfillment and utopian projections of the people, I.e., of the folk, who preserved and cultivated these tales. Here the notion of the folk should not be glamorized or mystified as an abstract concept representing goodness or revolutionary forces. Socio10gic~lIy speaking the folk were the great majority ofpeople, generally agranan workers, who were non-literate and nurtured their own forms of culture in opposition to that of the ruling classes and yet often reflecting the same ideology, even if from a different class perspective. In addition, the upper classes cannot and should not be separated from the folk because they intermingled with the lower classes and were also carriers of the oral tales. Often they retold tales they heard from peasants and workers without altering the social class perspective very mUCh. It is difficult to document exactly what transpired within the oral tradition between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries because we lack records, but one thing is certain: the folk tales

were widespread, told by all classes of people, and very much bound by the material conditions of their existence. If we take some of the folk tales gathered by the Grimm Brothers such as "Rapunzel," "Rumpelstiltskin," "The Bremen Town Musicians," "Snow White," "Mother Holle," and "The Seven Ravens," we can readily see that each narrative begins with a seemingly hopeless situation and that the narrative perspective is sympathetic to the exploited protagonist of the tale. This aspect has been elaborated by Dieter Richter and Johannes Merkel: "The basic structure of most folk tales is connected to the social situation of the agrarian lower classes. By this we mean that the passivity of the hero is to be seen i~ relation to the objectively hopeless situation of the folk-tale audiences. These classes had practically no opportunity to resist the increasing exploitation since they were isolated in their work, geographically spread out, and always stood as mere individuals in opposition to their lords and exploiters. Thus they coul~ o~ly c~n­ ceive a utopian image of a better life for themselves. This hlstoncal meaning of folk tales becomes even more evident if one compares the folk tales with the stories of the urban lower classes at the beginning of this new epoch. These stories were incorporated like the folk tales into bourgeois children's literature and were placed side by side with the folk tales in the Grimms' collection."ls As short farcical tales (Schwank-Miirchen), these narratives reveal a more optimistic point of view in keeping with the more active journeymen and workers who told them and altered older versions to fit their own experiences. Clearly all folk tales take their departure from a point in history which it is necessary to relocate if we are to grasp their unusual power in the present and their unique influence at all levels of culture and art. When we look at more refined and subtle forms of cultural expression, it becomes obvious that folk tales and folk-tale motifs ha~e played a major role in their development. For example, Shakespeare s plays were enriched by folk tales,16 'and one could return to Ho~er and the Greek dramatists to trace the importance of folk-tale motifs in the formation of enduring cultural creations. However, what is most interesting about the historical development of the folk tale is the manner in which it was appropriated in its entirety by the aristocratic and bourgeois writers in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eigh-

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teenth centuries with the expansion of publishing to become a new literary genre which one could rightly call the fairy tale (Kunstmiirchen). As a literary text which experimented with and expanded upon the stock motifs, figures and plots of the folk tale, the fairy tale reflected a change in values and ideological conflicts in the transitional period from feudalism to early capitalism. All the early anthologies, Le piacevoli notti (The Pleasant Nights 1550-53) by Giovan Francesco Straparola, Lo cunto de Ii cunti better known as The Pentamerone (1634-36) by Giambattista Basile, Histoires ou Contes du temps passe (Stories or Tales of Times Past 1697) by Charles Perrault, and Les Contes des fees (Fairy Tales 1697) by MIne Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy demonstrate a shift in the narrative perspective and style which not only altered the original folk perspective and reinterpreted the experience of the people for them but also endowed the contents with a new ideology. This was most apparent in France at the end of the seventeenth century when there was a craze for fairy tales written by such aristocratic ladies as Mme d' Aulnoy, Mlle Lheritier, MIle de la Force, MIle Bernard, and Mme de Murat. 17 A good example of the drastic change of the folk tale for aristocratic and bourgeois audiences is "Beauty and the Beast."IB The transformation of an ugly beast into a savior as a motif in folklore can be traced to primitive fertility rites in which virgins and youths were sacrificed to appease the appetite and win the favor of a drought dragon or serpent. Parallels can be found in other tales and wall paintings during the Ice Age when people worshiped animals as protectors and providers of society. It was also believed that human beings were reincarnated after death as animals or plants and could intercede for the maintenance of a social order. Their magic power provided balance and sustenance for people opposed to forces which they could not comprehend. In 1740 Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve published her version of "Beauty and the Beast" in Les Contes Marins. It was 362 pages long. In 1756, Madame Leprince de Beaumont published her shorter but similar version in Magasin de enfans, ou dialogues entre une sage gouvemante et plusieurs de ses eleves, which has served as the basis for the numerous popular English translations widely circulated right up to our times. 19 Both versions are didactic stories which totally transform the original meanings of the folk-tale motifs and seek to legitimize the aristocratic standard of living in

contrast to the allegedly crass, vulgar values of the emerging bourgeoisie. The theme of this aristocratic tale involves "putting ~e bourgeoisie in their place." If we can historically recall-and thiS means suppressing the images of the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the ~east. which Americanizes the tale and shifts the class struggle to derugrate common people-the tale concerns a very rich merchant whose children become arrogant because of the family's acquired wealth. Indeed, with the exception of Belle, all the children aspire beyond their class. Hence, the family must be punished. The merchant loses his money and social prestige, and the children are humiliated. Yet, they remain haughty and refuse to help the father overcome his loss, particularly the two older daughters. Only Belle, the youngest, exhibits modesty and self-sacrificial tendencies, and only she ca? save .her father when he is in danger of losing his life for transgresslOg agalOst the beast, Le., the nobility. As a model of industry, obedience, humility and cha~tity, Belle saves her father by agreeing to live with the beast. Later, impressed by the noble nature of the beast (appearances are obviously deceiving, i.e., aristocrats may look and act like bea~ts, but they have gentle hearts and kind manners), she consents to give him a kiss and marry him. Suddenly he is transformed into a handsome prince and explains that he had been condemned to remain a beast until a beautiful virgin should agree to marry him. So, the good fairy now intercedes and rewards Belle because she has pref~rred virtue above either wit or beauty while her sisters are to be pumshed because of their pride, anger, gluttony and idleness. They are to be turned into statues and placed in front of their sister's palace. Surely, this was a warning to all those bourgeois upstarts who forgot their place in society and could not control their ambition. The lesson to be learned from this tale involves, among other things, the instrumentalization of fantasy. As Jessica Benjamin. has ointed out, "an instrumental orientation implies a relation to objects "20 P and to one's actions which uses them purely as a means to an en d . If "social activity is reduced to an qrientation toward calculable and formal processes, which, in tum, eliminate the question of social intentions and implications of human action,"21 then the projections of the imagination can only be turned in against themselves and repressively desublimated. Concretely speaking, this means that products of the imagination are set in a socio-economic context and are

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Breaking the Magic Spell used ultimately to impose limitations on the imagination of the producers and receivers. The mediation between the imagination of the prod~cer and audience becomes instrumental in standardizing forms an~ Images of the fantasy in that it seeks to govern the independent resIstance of the· imagination to such instrumentalization. Fantasy in its split sense-as the word fantasy is generally used in everyday speech-was a product of the bourgeoisie. In this regard the word did not designate the conceptual and intellectual productive power which has a unified and specific labor process with its own laws of motion at its basis. This productive power was first schematized much more by extraneous rules-:those of the capitalist utilization process. Thus, what was later to be called fantasy was primarily the result ofseparation and confinement. From the viewpoint of utilization, all that which appeared to be especially difficult to control-the raw work, the leftover potential of undeveloped wishes, conceptions, the brain's own laws of motion which could not be placed in bourgeois categories-was represented as fantasy, as the gypsy, as the unemployed among the intellectual faculties. In truth, this fantasy is a specific means of production which is needed for a labor process that does not take into view the capitalist utilization process but seeks the transformation of human beings' relationships to one another, to nature, and the re-appropriation of the dead work of human beings bound by history. That is, fantasy is not a certain substance as one says "he has too much imagination," but rather it is the organizer of the mediation, i.e., of the special labor process through which human drives consciousness, and the outside world connect themselves. If this productive power of the brain is split in such a way that it cannot follow the laws of motion of its own labor process, then this leads to a crucial hindrance of any kind of emancipatory praxis. 22 The splitting of the fantasy is at the core of the instrumentalization process. Th.e ways in w~ich the fantasy and products of the fantasy have been mstrumentahzed by the culture industry are fully illustrated in Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge's work Offentlichkeit and

Once There Was a Time

Erfahrung, and I shall deal with this problem in relation to the folk and fairy tale more fully in another essay. What is important to consider here is that there were already definite tendencies to utilize the fantastic images of literature in the seventeenth century in an instrumental way and that folk tales were subjected to a "civilizing" process of reutilization that belied the original social function of the tales. In the case of "Beauty and the Beast," not only was a folk tale motif transformed and adorned with baroque features by the imagination of the writer, but the literary mediation controlled the production, distribution and reception of the tale. As a written, innovative, privately designed text which depended on the technological development of printing and the publishing industry, the fairy tale in the eighteenth century excluded the common people and addressed the concerns of the upper classes. It was enlarged, ornamented, and filled with figures and themes which appealed to and furthered the aesthetic tastes of an elite class. Moreover, the new class perspective began to establish new rules for the transformed genre: the action and content of the fairy tale subscribed to an ideology of conservatism which informed the socialization process functioning on behalf of the aristocratic class. The fantasy of the individual writer coated the ideological message with personal ingredients. But it was European absolutism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which determined the structure and mediation of the fairy tales. The example or lesson of "Beauty and the Beast" is an extreme one and must be further studied in relation to the French tradition. I purposely selected it to demonstrate the most obvious way in which the folk tale was "mass-mediated" and changed by technology to serve the interests of the ruling class in French society of the eighteenth century. Not all writing of fairy tales was as one-dimensional and class-biased as Mme de Villeneuve's and Mme Leprince de Beaumont's "Beauty and the Beast." However, the transformation of the oral tale into the literary fairy tale does mark a significant historical turning point in the arts, for with the rise of such technology as the printing press the possibility to instrumentalize products of the fantasy and govern their effect on the masses was made manifest. To clarify this point, let us look at the characteristics distinguishing folklore from literature:

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Folklore
Oral Performance Face-to-Face Communication Ephemeral' Communal (event) Re-creation Variation Tradition Unconscious Structure Collective Representations Public (ownership) Diffusion Memory (recollection)

Once There Was a Time contact among themselves, exchange ideas and imaginative projects, and organize around their interests. Yet, who could read in the eighteenth century? Who controlled the printing and distribution of the texts? Once thefolk tale began to be interpreted and transmitted through literary texts its original ideology and narrative perspective were diminished, lost or replaced. Its audience was abandoned. As text, the fairy tale did not encourage live interaction and performance but individual readings. The perspective became that of the author who either criticized or affirmed the existing social conditions. No matter what the viewpoint was, there was a switch in class emphasis to either the aristocratic or the bourgeois. Upper-class taste and control of publishing influenced the narrative perspective as well. The distribution was exclusive due to the controls over production and the limited reading audience. Social experiences of all classes and groups ofpeople were becoming more and more mediated through the socialization process and technological changes in production and distribution. The rise of the fairy tale in the Western world as the mass-mediated cultural form of the folk tale coincided with the decline of feudalism and the formation of the bourgeois public sphere. Therefore, it quickly lost its function of affirming absolutist ideology and experienced a curious development at the end of the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century. On the one hand, the dominant, conservative bourgeois groups began to consider the folk and fairy tales amoral because they did not subscribe to the virtues of order, discipline, industry, modesty, cleanliness, etc. In particular, they were regarded as harmful for children since their imaginative components might give young ones "crazy ideas," i.e., suggest ways to rebel against authoritarian and patriarchal rule in the family. Moreover, the folk and fairy tales were secular if not pagan and were not condoned by the Christian Church that has its own magical narratives to propagate. So the writing and printing of folk and fairy tales were opposed by the majority of the middle class who preferred didactic tales, homilies, family romances and the like. On the other hand, within the bourgeoisie itself there were progressive writers, an avantgarde, who developed the fairy tale as a form of protest against the vulgar utilitarian ideas of the Enlightenment. If we recall Max Horkheimer and TheodorAdorno's study ofthe Dialectic ofthe Enlightenment,23 we can see that the struggle against what they called the instrumentalization of reason had great

Literature
Written Text Indirect Communication Permanent Individual (event) Creation Revision Innovation Conscious Design Selective Representations Private (ownership) Distribution Re-reading (recollection)

~hese lists may lead to the false impression that there is a clear diviSIOn betwe~n folklore and literature. For instance, many texts were read aloud In a communal event; many oral takes were innovative and ~ew. ~at is important to remember is that there is a symbiotic relat~onshIp between folklore and literature. As fields of cultural production they often overlap and mutually support one another. Within ~ach field, how,ever, there are some more clearly defined characteristIcs that, I belIeve, these lists bring to light. In stUdying them it ~ecomes clear that folklore thrives on the collective, active Partici~a­ tlOn ~f the people who control their own expressions. Literature as the pn~ted form individual and collective products offantasy brings an entirely new dImension to the way people relate to their own cul~ral expressions. The technology of printing by itself is not the deciSIve factor in analyzing the development of the fairy tale in relation to. the culture industry but rather the formation of a new group of m~ddle-class r~aders, ~he growth of literacy among the people of ~IS class, and. I~S creatIOn of a public sphere which began organizmg and exercIsmg control over most forms of cultural expression. Con~equently, folk art when appropriated by middle-class writers and publIshers underwent drastic changes in its printed mass-mediated form.

0:

Of cours~, one should not forget the dialectics of the situation: mass productIon and distribution of the texts helped people increase

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Once There Was a Time

significance for the rise of the innovative fairy tale of the romantics, particularly in Germany. Even in the United States, the lines of opposition in the ranks of the bourgeoisie regarding the instrumentalization of reason and fantasy can be seen in the differing attitudes toward the fairy tale and imagination. While championing the cause of the creative individual in his fairy tales, Hawthorne ranted against the female writers of moralizing fairy tales, and Poe sought to frighten rationalistic bourgeois audiences with his fantastic tales that chilled a Victorian mentality. In England the battle over the moral worth of the fairy tale was especially fierce. As Michael C. Kotzin has pointed out in his book Dickens and the Fairy Tale': The cause for which the Romantics spoke came to have gre~ter urgency as the conditions which provoked them to defend the fairy tale intensified during the Victorian period. Earnest, artless, middle-class Evangelicalism increased its influence; the educational theories of the Enlightenment were succeeded by those of its even less imaginative descendant. Utilitarianism, and the age of the city, industrialism, and science came fully into being. These conditions of England were objected to by Carlyle and by such followers and admirers of his as Ruskin and Kingsley. In discussing the fairy tale these men followed the Romantics by stressing its imaginative value in the new world. But they also reverted a bit to the position of the enemy: the educational values they pointed to in the tales, while not usually as simply and exclusively instructional as those the Enlightenment advocated, are more conventionally moral than those which had been defended by Wordsworth and Coleridge. With their statements in defense of the fairy tale (made more publicly than those of the Romantics had been), the Victorian men of letters probably contributed to its new status. In those statements and elsewhere, they reveal the synthesis of appreciation of the imagination and moral posture which characterizes the Victorian acceptance of the fairy tale. 24 Kotzin's remarks on the historical development of the fairy tale in nineteenth-century England are significant because they outline how the bourgeois public gradually accommodated and instrumen-

talized fantastic art production to compensate for some of the ill effects industrial regulation and rationalization brought on by the rise of capitalism. This development in England had its parallels in most of the advanced industrial countries of the Western world. The resistance at first to the fairy tale during the Enlightenment stemmed from the tales' implicit and explicit critique of utilitarianism. The emphasis on play, alternativ~ forms of living, pursuing dreams and daydreams, experimentation, striving for the golden age-this stuff of which fairy tales' were (and are) made challenged the rationalistic purpose and regimentation of life to produce for profit and expansion of capitalist industry. Therefore, the bourgeois establishment had to make it seem that the fairy tales were immoral, trivial, useless and harmful if an affirmative culture of commodity values supportive of elite interests were to take root in the public sphere. In the early stages of capitalism, the imagination had to be fought and curbed on all cultural levels, but toward the latter part of the nineteenth century, when capitalism had firmly established its dominant norms, the fairy tales did not have to be as furiously opposed as in the initial stages of the Enlightenment. They could be instrumentalized in more subtle and refined ways as the technological power for manipulating cultural products in the bourgeois public sphere became stronger. Consequently, the aesthetic standards and social norms became more tolerant in a repressive sense. Either fairy tales themselves were rewritten and watered down with moralistic endings, or they began to serve a compensatory cultural function. "Beset by a changing world, the Victorian could find stability in the ordered, formulary structure of fairy tales. He could be called from his time and place to a soothing other world by the faintly blowing horns of Elfland. He could be taken from the corruptions of adulthood back to the innocence of childhood; from the ugly, competitive city to beautiful, sympathetic nature; from complex morality to the simple issue of good versus evil; from a different reality to a comforting world of imagination."25 In other words, the tremendous increase in the regulation of daily life as a result of capitalist rationalization began to atomize and alienate people to such an intense degree that amusement in the sense of distraction had to be promoted to alleviate the tensions at work and in the home. The development of a culture industry which could instrumentalize products of the fantasy for increased production and

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Breaking the Magic Spell

Once There Was a Time

profit and also for softening the drudgery of the work-day, disciplined schooling and dull home routines began to assume firm contours in the nineteenth century. In particular the fairy tale offered an escape and refuge from the brutalizing effects of socialized and working reality administered by laws and norms of a bourgeois public sphere which had already become perverted to outlaw what it once tried to promote as democratic decision-making and rational discourse. This is not to argue that the fairy tale was totally absorbed and manipulated by the growing capitalist culture industry. In the first place, the folk tale in its many different generic' forms along with dance, music, and other forms of performance was still the dominant cultural mode of entertainment among the common people in the nineteenth century. But, with urbanization and the expansion of the publishing industry the mediation and transformation of the folk tale as fairy tale took on greater proportions and has affected the general public's view of the folk tales in the twentieth century. If we were to look back at the more significant tendencies in the nineteenth century, we could note the following: 1. After the Grimm Brothers published the first two volumes of their collection in 1812 and 1815, folk tales were gathered, transcribed and printed for the purpose of establishing so-called "authentic" versions. This was usually done by trained professionals who often stylized the tales, changed them, or were highly select.ive. Once gathered, the printed tales were rarely read by and CIrculated among the original audiences. 2. Folk tales were rewritten and made into didactic fairy tales for children so that they would not be harmed by the violence, crudity and fantastic exaggeration of the originals. Essentially the contents and structure of these saccharine tales upheld the Victorian values of the status quo. 3. Folk tales were transformed into trivial tales, and new fairy tales were composed to amuse and distract audiences and make money. Fairy-tale plays became fashionable, especially fantasy plays for children by the end of the nineteenth century.26 4. Serious artists created new fairy tales from folk motifs and basic plot situations. They sought to use fantasy as a means

for criticizing social conditions and expressing the need to develop alternative models to the established social orders. 5. As new technological means of the mass media were invented, they incorporated the fairy tale as a cultural product to foster the growth of commercial entertainment or to explore manifold ways in which fantasy could enhance the technology of communication, and how the effects of fantasy could be heightened through technology. All the above tendencies have been operative in different forms of mass-mediated culture in the twentieth century. If we were to take the dates of key technological inventions such as photography (1839), telegraph (1844), telephone (1876), phonograph (1877), motion pictures (1891), radio (1906), television (1923), sound motion pictures (1927), internet (1983), and digital imaging, we could trace how each new invention enabled the mass media to utilize the fairy tale along two broad dominant lines: (1) for the negative purpose of affirming the interests of the culture industry to curtail active social interchange and make audiences into passive consumers; (2) for the positive purpose of communicating and unifying cultural products of fantasy necessary for developing a more humanistic society and for stimulating audiences to play an active role in determining the destiny of their lives. Needless to say, the instrumentalization of the fairy tale and·fantasy via the mass media has evolved commensurately with the power and growth of effective controls in the interests of the culture industry. As Richard M. Dorson has stated: Only in hidden pockets of our civilization, deep in mountain hollows, out on scrub country flats, or among extreme orthodox sects like the Amish and Hasidim, impervious to modern ways, do the undefiled word-of-mouth tradition and face-to-face audience still persist. The enemy of folklore is the media that blankets mass culture: the large circulation newspapers and magazines we read, the movie and television screens we watch, the recording industry whose disks we listen to. So runs the lament.Wbat is distributed to the millions, after an elaborate, expensive packaging process, does seem the antithesis of the slow drip of invisible tradition. 27

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Breaking the Magic Spell

Once There Was a TIme

What Dorson calls the "invisible tradition" is the actual common people's cultural version of their own history without the mediation of the culture industry which intercedes and interprets the experience of the people according to its marketability. The major accomplishment of the mass media in the twentieth century in regard to the instrumentalization of the folk and fairy tale resides in their power to make it seem (unlike publishing) that the voice and narrative perspective of folklore emanate from the people's own voice of cultural expression and heritage. The mass produced books, magazines, comics and newspapers were not able to accomplish this. It was the radio, then movies, and ultimately TV which were able to draw together large groups of people as the original folk-talenarrators did and to relate tales as though they were derived from the point of view of the people themselves. Mass-mediated fairy tales have a technologically produced universal voice and image which impose themselves on the imagination of audiences. The fragmented experiences of atomized and alienated people are ordered and harmonized by turning the electric magic switch of the radio or TV or by paying admittance to the inner sanctum of a movie theater. Whereas the original folk tale was cultivated by a narrator and the audience to clarify and interpret phenomena in a way that would strengthen meaningful social bonds, the narrative perspective of a mass-mediated fairy tale has endeavored to endow reality with a total meaning except that the totality sometimes assumes totalitarian shapes and hues because the narrative voice is no longer responsive to an active audience but seeks to manipulate it according to the vested interests of the state and private industry. The manipulation of fairy-tale images and plots should not be considered as some kind of a sinister conspiracy on the part of big business and government. As Herbert Schiller has pointed out: "The process is much more elusive and far more effective since it generally runs without central direction. It is embedded in the unquestioned but fundamental socia-economic arrangements that first determine, and then are reinforced by property ownership, division of labor, sex roles, the organization of production, and the distribution of income. These arrangements, established and legitimized over a very long time, have their own dynamics and produce their own "inevitabilities."28 As a consequence, the inevitable outcome of most mass-mediated

fairy tales is a happy reaffirmation of the system which produces them. It is now time again to return to questions raised at the beginning of this essay: Have we reached a point in the history of the folk and fairy tale where the emancipatory potential of the tales will be totally curtailed by the technology of the culture industry? Can the fantastic symbols be brought fully under control and instrumentalized in the service of bureaucratized socio-economic systems in both West and East? Does globalization mean homogenization? To answer these questions, we must bear in mind that folk and fairy tales per se have no actual emancipatory power unless they are used actively to build a social bond through oral communication, social interaction, dramatic adaptation, agitatorial cultural work, etc. To the extent that the folk and fairy tales of old as well as the new ones form alternative configurations in a critical and imaginative reflection of the dominant social norms and ideas, they contain an emancipatory potential which can never be completely controlled or depleted unless human subjectivity itself is fully computerized and rendered impotent. Even the mass-mediated fairy tales which reaffirm the goodness of the culture industry that produces them are not without their contradictory and liberating aspects. Many of them raise the question of individual autonomy versus state domination, creativity versus repression, and just the raising of this question is enough to stimulate critical and free thinking. The end result is not an explosion or revolution. Literature and art have never been capable of doing this and never will be. But they can harbor and cultivate the germs of subversion and offer people hope in their resistance to all forms of oppression and in their pursuit of more meaningful modes of life and communication. The ultimate cultural value of folk and fairy tales today depends on how we convert technology to give us a stronger sense of history and of our own powers to create more just and equitable social orders. Technology itself is not the enemy of folk and. fairy tales. On· the contrary, it can actually help liberate and fulfill the imaginative projections of better worlds which are contained in folk and fairy tales. As we shall see, the best of folk and fairy tales chart ways for us to become masters of history and of our own destinies. To become a human being, according to Novalis, one of the great German fairy-

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Breaking the Magic Spell

tale writers, entails art, and the fantastic and artistic designs of folk and fairy tales reflect the social configurations which lead to conflict, solidarity or change in the name of humanity. Paradoxically the magic power of folk and fairy tales stems from the fact that they do not pretend to be anything but folk and fairy tales, that is, they make no claims to be anything but artistic projections of fantasy. And in this non-pretension they give us the freedom to see what path we must take to become self-fulfilled. They respect our autonomy and leave the decisions of reality up to us while at the.same time they provoke us to think about the way we live. Einstein saw this, and it is no wonder that he had such a high regard for folk and fairy tales. Like his theory of relativity, they transfonn time into relative elements and offer us the hope and possibility to take history into our h~nds.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

...ONCE UPON A TIME IM HOLLYWOOD In the beginning of 21st century, there was a place where the young ones are being controlled by a power called “the FATHER”. That guy is really complicated to understand, sometimes he lets you go out and stay at your friend but sometimes he gets mad and fires the place where he controls, which is called HOUSE. You can never know if you really want to escape from the house, not just because of you economically need him, you know you love that guy but you cannot know if you want to live in the same house. In this piece of writing, you’ll read my journey of escaping from this hell and the results of that getaway. After this journey is finished, nothing is going to be the same. The Father was “the Architect” of the house and system of my life, but hope was with me and I, I let the force be with me. If I took the blue pill, the story would end. I’d wake up in my bed and continue to live like a slave, but I took the red pill, to fight for my independence, to fire my ropes. That afternoon, I arrived next to the Father, I just wanted him to let me go out for one night, and I just said him: Father, please give me my freedom for one night. He asked me: What will you use your freedom for, are you going to study and bring me higher grades? I stopped and said: No, father. He asked: So what you’re gonna do? Save the world? Then something exploded in my heart like something. I said: No daddy, I’m gonna smoke, listen to music, and at the end of the night,......

Words: 997 - Pages: 4