Monday, July 14, 2008

Accusations Are Not Always Accurate

So this article popped up. Once again, the integrity and intentions of a man who worked children is being called into question. It makes some pretty startling accusations about our beloved Sir J. M. Barrie. I cannot speak fully on the veracity of what the article suggests. But I will say that I, for one, do not believe them. Yes, I had been fully aware of the “disturbing passages” and nature of The Little White Bird. I can’t say that a little alarm didn’t go off in my head as I read it. But then I remembered to see it with the vantage point of all the other information available. I agree with one of the ideas put forth in the article. Barrie did not try to elevate children to adult desires, rather he tried to return himself to their level.

As for the matter of Jenny/Jimmy (article will explain) I must say I wonder about this one. But perhaps here it is my adoration that does not want to think ill. Then again, have you ever seen Barrie’s handwriting? Maybe he didn’t read or copy it properly…misunderstandings do occur without motive.

I hope this article does not taint your view of the great man. As I said, I do not believe in his being lecherous. Not out of a blind love, but from having done research myself during my college credit Independent Study of Barrie.

Either way, his contributions to theatre and literature cannot be denied.
Furthermore, why are people so insistent on finding potential sickness behind the artists of the past? Doesn't that say something more about the current state of mind than theirs?


Danielle Mari said...

It just seems like we're way too late to be able to exonerate or condemn the man at this point. All we're left with is hearsay and interpretation these many years later. I think childless men (and women, too) who love children always put themselves in danger of this sort of scrutiny. I am conscious of the awkwardness I feel when enjoying the playfulness of someone else's kids. It's as though the parents look at me with immediate suspicion because I have none of my own. On the other hand, pedophiles succeed at their dark objectives not by being creepy dudes in vans, but by making themselves attractive to children. Pedophiles are often charming, childlike, and fly under the radar.
So who knows.

I'm with you, though- without firm evidence, why ruin his great gifts? I certainly would get no pleasure in reinterpreting Peter Pan from the POV of a pedophile. No thanks.

Good find, though- thought-provoking to be sure.

dbz said...

in addition, we also have a tendency to judge the past by today's standards and that colors many of our presumptions when discussing people's lives and faults. Perhaps it wasn't considered unusual for a childless man to closely associate with children in a surrogate-type fashion then. These days our opinions and conclusions are most definitely colored by current events and we presume monstrosity when in fact, it may be innocence.

Then again, we also make scads of money these days pointing the finger at people who can no longer defend themselves and calling them the monsters we hear about on the nightly news.