‘Snow White and the Seven Shapeless, Formless, Nameless and Utterly Inoffensive Little… Things’

Once again, I invoke the ancient gods to succour me, in this moment of my ordeal… but… by Toutatis, that must be the single, goddamned STUPIDEST thing I’ve ever goddamn heard!

Seriously, though. Can you imagine any child –anywhere in the universe, and at any point in human history – being ‘captivated’, ‘enthralled’, ‘mesmerised’, ‘enchanted’ and/or ‘positively shit-scared’, by a story like… THAT?

Come on. It’s ridiculous, and you all know it. Because if the Brothers Grimm really had documented the original folk-tale that way – or in any other way, that pre-emptively (and magically) avoided offending the sensitivities of entire future generations – well… no children would ever have been brought up reading it in the first place, would they?

Let’s face it: ‘Nothing whatsoever happens to little girl’ doesn’t exactly add up to a riveting bedtime story plot, does it? It’s not going to inspire millions of little children, around the world, to implore their daddies or mummies to ‘read it to them again’...

And fair enough: I’ll grant you that Snow White may no longer have that effect on little children. (Let’s be honest: it hasn’t really aged very well… at all.)

All the same, however: if the original fairy-tale – assuming, of course, that there ever was an ‘original’ – really was as bland, and drab, and vacuous, and retarded, and utterly POINTLESS, as some people today would evidently prefer it to have been…

… well, Walt Disney would never have turned it into an animated movie in 1937, would he? Which also means that… we wouldn’t still be talking about ‘Snow White And the Seven Bloody Dwarfs’, all the way down to this very day!

Hang on, wait: actually, I’m the only one who’s ‘talking about Snow White’, aren’t I? And I’m guessing you’re probably just a little perplexed as to exactly… um… WHY.

So a little context may be necessary. I hereby declare that this article is going to be: a) something of a personal rant (and as such, I freely admit it may end up interesting none of you, in the end); and b) something of a mash-up of a conversation I had on Facebook yesterday.

But let’s just say, for now, that the reason I am writing it at all, is because… there is a limit to how much of our own culture, our own history, our own background, our own childhood, and our own literary and artistic canon, that I am personally willing to simply ‘flush down the toilet’… because it offends the sensitivities of people who are very clearly just looking for (and sometimes outright inventing) ‘things to be offended by’.

And guess what? I draw the line at ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, myself. Not, I stress, because it is some kind of personal childhood favourite of mine…  truth be told, I didn’t even particularly like it all that much, as a child. (I actually find it far more engrossing, and rewarding, to watch that film through adult eyes today).

But the much more pressing issue is that – for the umpteenth time – both the Disney movie, and even the Brothers Grimm version it is based on, are now being threatening with ‘cancellation’, in one shape or another.

As I write, there are calls for Disney to abort its live-action remake (and, as a sidenote, I actually agree… in the sense that I see no reason to actually remake that film at all: other than to fill the void of creativity that Hollywood – and cinema in general - seems to passing through right now).

But the reasons why some other people are objecting? It’s all simply… NUTS.

OK, let’s start with the ‘dwarfism’ angle. I won’t single out any critics who actually are affected by the physical condition that goes by the same name. (For obvious reasons, I can perfectly understand why they would feel the way they do, etc. etc.).

But, in all honesty… to describe ‘Snow White’ as “that f***ing backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together” (amusing though the description undeniably is); and, even worse, to object on the grounds that the movie is – wait for it - “ableist (!!!!) because several of the dwarfs are depicted as being stupid or clumsy…”

I mean… Lord grant me patience…

Sorry, guys, but… you don’t mean to tell me that you seriously (but SERIOUSLY) think those seven goddamn dwarfs – Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc, and all the ‘Heigh-Hoing’ lot of them… were all… (how can I put this?) MIDGETS?!!! That they were ‘dwarfs’, in the sense that they actually suffered from some kind of physical condition that impeded them from ever reaching ordinary, adult, human dimensions…?

I mean, for the love of Gimli, Son of Gloin! They’re DWARFS, damn it! They’re not ‘Representations of Disabled People’! What the heck… they’re NOT… EVEN…PEOPLE!

No, indeed. At the risk of unnecessary repetition… they are Dwarfs. They are the proud members of an ancient mythological race, spawned in the darkest, coldest depths of Germanic, Teutonic, and Scandinavian prehistorical narrative tradition… which means that they could conceivably be distant relatives, of the same dwarfs who forged the magical hammer Mjolnir, in the furnaces of the Underworld, for Thor, the Norse God of Thunder…

And yeah, I admit that you have to look a little hard, to see any vestige of this magnificent cultural legacy – this most quintessentially European of myths and legends – in the Disney movie, ‘Snow White’. Yes, it is true that they come across as being stupid, clumsy, dopey, etc…

But to take outright offence at them… to call them ‘f*cking backwards’… to object to their very appearance on the silver screen because… because…

… because you don’t even know WHAT THEY F*CKING ARE…!

Honestly, though. How can I even end this part of my rant? ‘Baruk Khazad! Khazad Ai-Menu!’ (That’s Dwarvish for: ‘Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves Are Upon You…)

[Note: for an explanation of why ‘Dwarf’ is spelt a little differently there…. read the appendices of Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’.]

Right, where was I? Oh, yes, the Dwarfs. Now: I’ll admit I might be making a bit of a Darrowdelf, out of what appears to be just a small pile of rocks, but… sorry, folks: this is actually quite serious, you know.

If we can’t make movies – or tell stories – about Dwarfs, because some people out there are just too goddamn ignorant to realise that ‘Dwarfs’ are actually a cultural product of our own civilisation… the implications are that we would be throwing away a massive chunk of our own cultural legacy. For if ‘Snow White’ is ‘f*cking backwards’, because it retells a classic story, from a time when the popular imagination was peopled with all manner of ‘faery-folk’… dwarfs, dragons, goblins, imps, mermaids, centaurs, unicorns…

… then so is everything else that has been built upon the same mythological foundations. (In fact, I fail to see why ‘Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, et al’ should be any more objectionable than ‘Oin, Gloin, Dwalin, Balin, Fili, Kili, Bifur, Bofur, AND Bombur.’ Not to mention the dwarfs in Wagner’s Ring Cycle… or in video-games like ‘World of Warcraft’…)

All of that would, very simply, have to go. And like I said: that is just too much of my own – and everyone else’s – entire collective consciousness, that we are being asked to simply ‘part company with’… for any reason at all: still less, on a pretext quite as utterly DOPEY as this one.

Speaking of ‘Dopey’, however… even the above objection simply pales to insignificance, compared to the most widespread objection to ‘Snow White And the Seven Dwarfs’.

The ‘true love kiss’ at the end...

OK, I’ll draw a deep breath, and endeavour, to the utmost of my abilities, to confront this perception problem as rationally, and lucidly as I can…

But… are you guys off your goddamn ROCKERS?! What do you mean, ‘Snow White never gave her consent to be kissed’?? What on earth are you even talking about… when you argue that that scene might ‘give kids the wrong idea about sex’?

Once again, I invoke the ancient gods to succour me, in this moment of my ordeal… but… by Toutatis, that must be the single, goddamned STUPIDEST thing I’ve ever goddamn heard!

For two reasons, please note. One… did these people even watch that movie at all? ‘Never gave her consent’, my dwarfish backside! Snow White does nothing but give her consent – willingly, vocally, and in an altogether unnatural falsetto - to precisely the circumstances with which that movie ends.

I mean… what did you all think she meant, when she sang (and at one point, she sings it so loudly that she even wakes up Sleepy)… ‘Some Day My Prince Will Come’?

Come and do what, exactly? ‘Ask her politely if it would be OK to give her a little peck on the cheek?’

Let’s not be idiotic about this. Of course, Snow White ‘gave her consent’. Of course, she wanted ‘her’ prince – and just look at how she already ‘possesses’ him, in her imagination – to kiss her on the lips. To sweep her off her feet, to mount her on his great white stallion, and ride her off into a sugar-sweet sunset…

She was gagging for it, I tell you! Right from the very start…

But even that is a rather insignificant detail because… apart from being ready, and willing, and simply raring to go, and all that… she was also… erm…


It’s all right there, in the movie. She ate the poisoned apple. We watched in horror, and she sank lifeless to the floor. And besides: she is even lying in a glass coffin in that last scene, for crying out loud! It’s Snow White’s goddamn… FUNERAL!!!

I mean… how much DEADER than that, can a person even be?

But in any case: so there lies Snow White – stone-cold DEAD – and we all know that the only thing in the entire Universe that can possibly bring her back to life, is an entirely innocent little ‘kiss on the lips’.

And what… you seriously expect Prince Charming to… to…

.. to ask for her ‘CONSENT’?!

Honestly. And to think they call the Dwarfs ‘f*cking backwards’…