Fairy Tales and Urban Legends

                Everything changes. Some things, computer technology for example, change very quickly. Other things change considerably more slowly. Cultures and the morals that those cultures hold sacred do change, but that change is very stubborn indeed. Same sex marriage and recreational marijuana use are just two exadownloadmples of cultural and moral change that happens slowly, and are still evolving even now. However, as we become more technologically advanced, we see those values and standards changing more and more rapidly. Inventions such as the internet and email allow us to spread our viewpoints and opinions almost instantaneously around the globe allowing the winds of change to blow faster through our civilization.

                Fairy tales and urban legends are definitely alive and well today. The way that these stories are delivered to us has evolved with each new technological advance. Fairy tales and legends were at first passed down from generation to generation orally. The invention of writing led to the invention of books; the printing press allows for fast, mass publications allowing for the creation of newspapers and magazines; trains revolutionize the postal service; radio delivers news and opinions even faster; television even faster with more information; the internet and email make communication instant. Movies in particular are an example of a modern media used to tell the fairy tales of today.

                There has been a trend in Hollywood lately to “reboot” movie franchises. In Convergences, Robert Atwon illustrates his example of changing morals in fairy tales by showing us two versions of Little Red Riding Hood. We have  chance to compare the original story with a later version, and see that although the overarobocopll moral remains the same, the re-write from years later adds more to the story. Robocop (1987) and its re-boot Robocop (2014) parallel the example given by Atwon. The moral dilemma in the original Robocop could be summed up as, “How much humanity should we sacrifice for mechanical efficiency?”   Twenty-seven years later, we find that the original film was quite prophetic concerning the use of drones for military and police work.

                The 2014 re-boot uses the modern imagery of the now common use of drones in the real world to reinforce the moral dilemma presented to us in the first film. Added to the newer version of Robocop is a satirical commentary on 24 hour cable news channels. This addition to the story presents us with another question, “How much do we trust the information we are given?” Like the addition of the huntsman character in the later version of Little Red Riding Hood, the additional storyline in the new version of Robocop adds more to consider in the changing times and what these stories are telling us.

 

Atwan, Robert. Convergences: Themes, Texts, and Images for Composition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. Print. 

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