Wilkins' Tooth (was Re: Introductions)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Jun 24 12:20:47 EDT 2003


On Tue, 24 Jun 2003 14:42:00 +0100, Charles Butler wrote:

>Even so, I do believe it's a matter of degree. I think what DWJ is
>describing here is a happy medium between two undesirable extremes. At one
>end of the scale there's the practice (much seen in panto) of throwing in a
>few references that aren't necessary to the plot, that go over the
>children's heads, but are picked up by adult/sophisticated readers. I'm not
>too keen on this, partly because it seems kind of patronizing to be winking
>at adult readers over the little ones' heads, partly because (my formalist
>instincts showing here) I can't help feeling that if something isn't
>'necessary' it has no business being there! But I realise one can be too
>puritanical about this.

Sometimes this is the only thing that keeps parents sane when they're
enduring their children's entertainment.  :)  But that's part of the problem
when formalism clashes with postmodernism; the definition of "necessary" can
be defined out of existence.  The Muppet Show and the early Muppet movies
come to mind--were they for kids or for adults?  Or both, and the
sophisticated references are what was necessary for their ongoing success?
Sometimes I'd really really like to know what's going on in the
author/creator's head--what motivates the throwaway references.  In my boy's
Pokemon video there are two villains named Jesse and James.  When I
explained why this was ha-ha funny the kids told me that later episodes have
a Butch and a Cassidy as well.  This does strike me as unnecessary
sophistication--but I don't like Pokemon at all, so I'm probably just too
old.

Melissa Proffitt

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