Saturday, March 24, 2012

TRUE? False.

I have been  keeping my distance from Twitter, for the record.  It's just too time-consuming. Or else I let it be, I suppose.  One of these days I'll figure out how to organize and handle it better.  But for right now, I check in every blue moon...and @jediahsoka, someone who found me via the net, sent me a link to this page.

It's called True Peter Pan.
It's a website apparently under construction, but at the time it had just been pretty much a placeholder wherein you could plug in your email for update information.  There's more to it now.

I'll be honest.  I find it (for lack of a better word) offensive.  How so?  Here's what it says on the site, the parts that raise my eyebrows are in red:

Ever since J.M. Barrie published his story of the boy who would never grow up, the public has been fascinated by it. But who is Peter? In Barrie's book, he is a self-righteous, obnoxious,brat. If we are to believe that Barrie has given us the true representation of Peter, then it's no wonder his mother locked the window so he couldn't get back inside! But what if so many people have a wrong idea of Peter? What if we have been deceived by parents, friends, and Disney movies?

This site seeks to dispel the old thoughts of Peter, by reporting news of other stories about the boy who couldn't grow up that show a different side of him. I will always be grateful to J.M. Barrie for bringing Peter to our attention, but what if Barrie's story misses key details?

PARDON?    If we are to believe that Barrie has given us the true representation of Peter...
Why on earth would we not believe that the CREATOR of the character gave us a "true representation" of him?  Can this BE any more disrespectful?   I suppose the implication is that Peter Pan is an actual person... and perhaps this "true" Peter is not as Barrie described.  That's a lovely notion (albeit a scary one) to have... but still, it just boils down to claiming a renowned author did not do his job correctly. [Not to mention the fact that Peter Pan flew away from his mother's window before she'd ever found out what a brat he can be.  And when she closed the window on him [as Pan views the situation] it's even more so true.  She doesn't even know of Peter still being alive it would seem, so how can she have made a judgment call on him like that? She couldn't. So....what does that line even mean?]

The only time (in my opinion) that a form of this has ever been acceptable is when done by Linda Woolverton.  Her Alice makes "claims against" Lewis Carroll's famed wacky works... such as it's not the 'Cheshire Cat' - his name is Chessur.  Alice, being a little girl, heard the name wrong and latched onto it as the closest thing familiar to her:  Cheshire, England.  (A la the cat-shaped cheeses from there to which Carroll referred.)  Many other examples abound.  All of them, though, can be chalked up to Alice mistook things the first time she ventured into the Wonderland/Looking-Glass World[s].  But that isn't saying Carroll got it wrong, per se.  Just that he reported it as Alice observed it.

In this instance, the very nature of the character/personality of Peter Pan is being called into question... with the idea that Barrie got it wrong.  What the hell?

Not only that, but in the Peter Pan Timeline on the site, it neglects to include Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens as the beginning in favor of the fault-ridden Barry/Pearson novels.  Again, what the hell?

Here's the blurb regarding the Timeline.  It's both worrisome and funny.

This is the "official" timeline of the books and movies in which Peter's story is most accurately told. Keep in mind, these are only my opinion, and most traditional Barrie fans will either laugh at me, or try and kill me. These books and movies are all considered to be "official" by True Peter Pan.

Including movies as official representations of literature?  Okay.... how about no?  Allowing for stories riddled with mistakes from the originals to count as official?  How about no again...

So, yes, this "traditional Barrie fan" is not laughing and tends to want to have the devilish streak in Pan that is being denied [one, I might add, that Barrie insisted upon] to seek vengeance.  But allow me to use a line from Barrie:  Of course he did not strike.  I suppose I have, though, but it's not as if it hadn't been expected by the one who put up the site.  He sat down on the floor instead and sobbed... No, not really.  But I do "weep" for the blatant disregard for well-crafted art.


Anon said...

There seems to be a fascination nowadays with the "official" story turning out to be "wrong", such that people can offer a "real" story as a substitute. Not sure where that comes from, exactly....

Doesn't mean we have to listen. If there's no reason to doubt the official story, or to believe the alternative, we don't have to listen.

ZZOzturk said...

Yanno, as a matter of speculation there is a sort of appeal for wanting to play around with the premise that Barrie deliberately didn't tell us key information. However, to imply that he somehow "forgot" is ludacris.

I am rather fond of the idea of searching for a "true essence" of Peter but doing it by ignoring the actual novels is impossible.

If I were this website creator, I would at least say why certain novels and sources were ignored. Or find a clever way to dismiss them.

I have nothing against this idea inherently but how can one come to any conclusions if they don't consider the source material? It would be rather like trying to find the gene for redheads in fish, with the premise, "fish have red fins, so I will find the redheaded gene."

I think there is a sort of "Peter is a real person and Barrie only got part of the story right," kind of feeling to this. Not my cup of tea but not an inherently wrong place to start either. But even given that premise, you have to report on what Barrie observed since he was the first to do so.

There are definitely times when an author contradicts themselves (I'm looking at you Ann Rice) (which Barrie does plenty outside of the novels) and then you can pick and choose which pieces of cannon material you want to make an argument for but to dismiss them out and out is sloppy. Also, we are given no criteria for why certain sources are viable (according to the website creator) and certain others aren't. I would be curious. If she/he wants to make the argument that Peter is actually a sweet good person, you can make that argument easily from the cannon.

Peter Von Brown said...

Anon - Yes, and that sort of mentality is best applied to fairy tales. Stories with which there is no one true composer (just various scribes of oral tradition, putting their own touches into the mix) Guilty of that myself, as you know!

ZZ - Brava! Well said. Well said indeed. If I hadn't had such a knee-jerk reaction, I might have written out what you have!

Regarding Barbie, good example. But it's my understanding that changing her to suit your own needs is sort of inherently built into her nature. She's meant for the imagination and reinterpretation. After all, Mattel has her becoming (or having been) a mermaid, for goodness sake. It's not as if there's a Master Timeline of Barbie. [And if there is...I'm impressed!]

It's also a little disturbing that people would want to "weed out" parts of Peter and change him to be a more lovely boy - isn't that sort of a reason he's PAN in the first place? No one's changing THIS boy, right?

And yes, Barrie does seem to contradict himself, which became the very grounds for Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between. But I went on the assumption that it APPEARED as if Barrie left out key information. When I plugged it in said elements, it all had to mesh with what had been established. Not ignored nor declared incorrect.

As always, thanks for being such a discerning Pan Fan!

Anonymous said...

I can understand your concerns, and I think most of your comments/questions/criticisms will be addressed soon. If you didn't know, TPP is still under construction, and that's why not everything is totally black and white yet. As you mentioned, things like Twitter eat up all our time, so I've been distracted from the website lately. Anyway, I think you will find your questions answered soon.

Lewelyn said...

I was reading Peter Pan and The Shadow Thief (second book in the Starcatchers series) and it Peter briefly encounters JM Barrie.
My guess it that this "true Peter Pan" is the Peter from those books. I haven't finished reading them but I suppose "their" Barrie will end up writing his play, which in that world is erroneous since the authors have completely reinvented the character and his backstory.

So I don't think it has anything to do with the original Peter Pan, hence the fact that their complete disregard for the original story.

Lewelyn said...

in* it, sorry

Peter Von Brown said...

Um... how did I read "Barrie" as "Barbie"? Good grief!

I must have been tired at the time... yeah, we'll go with that. ;)

The principle still applies though.