Questions, Intuitions, Revisions:
Telling and Re-Telling Stories About Ourselves in the World
A College Seminar Course at Bryn Mawr College

Forum 5 - On the fairy tale conference plus ...

Name:  Paul, Anne, Haley
Subject:  thinking together
Date:  2002-09-30 10:39:54
Message Id:  3025
We enjoyed getting together with everyone Sunday evening, and look forward to our next cluster-wide meeting.

For this week's posting, we again offer you two choices:

1 - You can look back: reflect on Sunday's session (if you were able to be there) or on forum postings  to date (if you weren't).  What story from a student colleague has most  interested/affected you, and why?

2 - Or you can look forward: imagine that you painted the watercolor to the right
which is the image for the next section of our course. Stepping back from your creation: what do you see? What have you painted? What are you saying in your painting?

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Enacting Ideas Physically
Date:  2002-09-30 15:05:16
Message Id:  3036

I came to our fairytale symposium last night fresh from taking my daughter to an inspired performance of Cirque du Soleil, so was particularly conscious of the possibilities for understanding that can be opened up when narrative ideas are enacted physically.

Because we'll all be reading Brecht's play "Galileo" together next week, I took particular note of an example of this which was mentioned in the front-page review, in the Arts and Leisure section of yesterday's (9/29/02) NYTimes, of the Mary Zimmerman production of Philip Glass's opera "Galileo Galilei," which is being performed @ the Brooklyn Academy this week. I won't be able to see that show, but write about the opportunity here in case anyone else might be tempted--it sounds wonderfully playful, in particular scene 6, in which, as Galileo lectures on the topic of

"the motion of balls on an inclined plane...several students shape lengths of string into the geometric forms he's describing and roll balls to demonstrate the physical principle he's explaining. Then, as he finishes speaking, their string-running and ball-rolling turn into what Phillip Glass... calls 'kind of a romp.' They do somersaults, skip rope, perform handstands...."

Name:  Ro. Finn
Subject:  musings about mayhem
Date:  2002-09-30 16:58:30
Message Id:  3038
Hi Guys
Fresh (well, actually still sluggish) from the evening of fairytale enactments -- and juggling more life than usual this week (a close friend in NY lost her mother last night), I'd like to comment on a story told that has me still thinking... that of the ravage of Princess Krispie, the gluttonous hoards and Prince Treat. The enactment was totally super, and I thank those of you who put so much good effort into our entertainment. It was good to put faces to names, meet you... and to witness Paul in that awesome jester's cap.

Now to my dark musings on this story.

The story entails a mass rape, a society where chastity belts are the norm for young women of "priviledge" in order for the adults of that society to maintain untainted premium value on those goods, -- and ultimately, trickery and deception, where the prince does not rescue... at best, we would have to call it date rape. And the underbelly of the story reveals that ordinary women have no value whatsoever -- not even enough to merit a blue belt; theirs is a mass grave... emotional or otherwise. The princess gets a private demise. In its frivolity, it is doubly cutting. Not only do the characters in the story act out this system of values, we in the audience become their accomplices, because it really was light, charming and clever. Gosh.

Maybe it was the Rocky Horror Show touch (connecting with the audience by handing out sweet little things at the end), that kept me thinking about this story, I dunno... half way through it, though, I was wondering if any of the writers/actors had experienced any of what they were delivering... or known anyone who had. What was the message... the lesson that merited mayhem?

All of us use theatre, fantasy and storytelling to get past really bad things that happen in life... or things that we fear could happen -- to ourselves and to others. But this particular fantasy left me cool, a cold chill on my spine. It was celebrating mayhem.

This is not a judgement, just a lone report. And I cannot articulate for you the reasons I felt abused and saddened by it... if it all comes clear, I promise I'll let you know. And I applaud your courage for doing that story and mine for writing about it here. Peace.

Name:  orah minder
Subject:  reading into stories
Date:  2002-09-30 16:59:53
Message Id:  3039
I enjoyed hearing the stories on sunday night. It was interesting having heard two of the stories read by the authors and then speaking with the authors today in class about their 'bellelheimian' interpratations of their own stories. One thing that we discussed in our small groups was how different phrases can be perceived and aspects can be read into the text that the author did not intend. In one person's story the phrase 'shacked up together,' was used and the other was, 'she played the lute for him.' [I may not have the exact phrases correct-i apologize to the authors.] The authors said that these two phrases were not intended to be sexual but when read by an outside audience they can be perceived as sexual. The question is: did the author really intend for them to be sexual and subconsiously make these lines ambiguous?
We all [i hope everyone does, i know i do] make those painfully embarrasing mistakes in our speech that are followed by awkward silences and then an uproar of laughter. We turn red and want the earth to open beneath us. The gigglers snicker, "what are you thinking about?" and we meakly reply that we did not intend for it to come out that way. And really we DIDN'T mean it to come out that way, but it did. Is there something in the unconsious that makes those embarrasing things come out? Did were subconsiously mean to say them? Freud would say yes. I would say no, but i'll keep thinking aboout it.
Name:  Abigail
Subject:  fairy tale conference
Date:  2002-09-30 17:48:05
Message Id:  3045
i quite enjoyed the fairy tale conference! when i told the girls in my dorm where i was sunday night, they all wished that they were in our c-sem because it sounded like so much fun.

the fun was found in the form of mediated mayhem - the intellectual equivelant to controlled chaos :) - amid talking coins, funky hats and other assorted props, lots of laughter, and a certain sticky treat that i will never view in quite the same way again.

i thought it was interesting that the story of the rice krispie treat was told as a life of learning, a fairy tale, and an anne sexton version of the fairy tale. this is a great exercise to prove that we understood the more serious works that we read in class. to tell the truth, i was amazed that a sugery snack could even be the basis for such a wacky set of tales, but the fact that it worked proves just how creative we are!!

the varitey of tales, some funny, some serious, some sentimental, made for an eclectic, enjoyable evening.

and somebody tell me where i can get a cloak like that!! :)

Name:  Kristen Coveleskie
Subject:  Fairy Tale Conference
Date:  2002-09-30 18:30:36
Message Id:  3046
Last night's fairy tale conference was a real treat. I really enjoyed all of the tales both spoken and acted out. I especially like the therapy session after the story with the coin. Fairy tales often have villains, but we never really get to see their side of the story. Seeing the mother as more of a victim of this evil cycle puts the story in a whole new light. Her actions are given meaning and the story all of a sudden becomes more human. I also thought that the three tales of the Rice Kripsie Treat were very creative, especially the Anne Sexton version. I never imagined a simple act such as eating a Rice Krispie Treat could feel so wrong. The best thing about this conference was that I came out with some new perspectives and insights.
Name:  DGibfried
Subject:  Diane Gibfried
Date:  2002-10-01 00:04:27
Message Id:  3054
All I want to know is, is Sleeping Beauty still asleep?
Name:  Ro. Finn
Date:  2002-10-01 06:59:19
Message Id:  3056
...I don't know, Diane, but Yes, Virginia, there is a big bad wolf, and sometimes the very normal we are it.

As an aside, ever do much thinking about the word 'normal'? It could be that half the population isn't -- normal is described as being average. Mathematically, it's the arithmetic mean, ie, "the value obtained by dividing the sum of a set of quantities by the number of quantities in the set". So, if 51% of a population wear their socks to bed, they're normal? Hmm. On the other hand, biologists define normal as "functioning or occurring in a natural way; lacking observable abnormalities or deficiences." Who defines "abnormalities or deficiences"? More Hmm.

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Moving on from Fairy Tales....
Date:  2002-10-01 09:40:55
Message Id:  3058
Comments: the next section of the course, where we will be revising one of the stories our culture tells about the nature of the world....
this "Nota Bene" from the September 20, 2002 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Ed anticipates discussions upcoming next week about creationism and the science curriculum....

'Contentious Curricula: Afrocentrism and Creationism in American Public Schools' By NINA C. AYOUB

Sociology makes for strange bedfellows in Amy J. Binder's Contentious Curricula: Afrocentrism and Creationism in American Public Schools (Princeton University Press). Afrocentrism and creationism have radically different ideologies and constituencies. But they share similarities as movements vying for influence and invoking pluralism.

Ms. Binder, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, argues that the two are more than ethnographically interesting phenomena. She hopes to help turn the sociological theory of social movements in new directions, rethinking concepts of insider and outsider, for example, and focusing on how "organizational routines" in school systems and similar institutions can help or thwart challengers. "Organizations are not the unitary, purposive, rational entities that so much of the social movements literature depicts them to be.
After a brief history of both movements, Ms. Binder describes cases in which Afrocentrists attempted to revise school curricula in Atlanta, Washington, and New York State.

Atlanta at first seems an Afrocentrist success story. In 1989, an Afrocentric "infusion" program was adopted. But teachers, she writes, were given no clear incentive to use the curriculum since it would not be covered in standardized tests. Those who disagreed with the approach could ignore it. In Washington, she argues, a similar "dilution" of Afrocentrist victory occurred when a proposal was accepted but limited it to one program in one school. New York State, in contrast, did not even make symbolic concessions. Still, the movement got a hearing. Afrocentrists, Ms. Binder argues, framed their issue in terms that had "resonance" for educators: black-student achievement in schools. Their ammunition also included accusations of "racist" or "race traitor" for their opponents, she says, and crucially, they sought to revise curricula in subjects like history that were considered "negotiable."

For creationists, science would prove far less malleable. Ms. Binder offers cases of creationists' ultimate defeats at the state level in California, Kansas, and Louisiana, and at the local level in Vista, Calif. In Vista, creationists won three of five school-board seats, but their members were eventually recalled from office in a campaign led by teachers. One of those recalled explained: "God put me in and God removed me." Ms. Binder has a less cosmic view. Christian conservatives on the board, she says, were unable to convert their political positions into institutional power. "Gaining access to the putative 'inside' ultimately bought creationists very little."

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Storytelling as Destroyer
Date:  2002-10-01 09:44:46
Message Id:  3059
Actually? before we leave fairytales....yet another short very relevant piece ("Melange") from the September 27, 2002 Chronicle--"Memory, Once Removed":

The act of making something from what is already there always involves a simultaneous creation and destruction. While breaking the land and planting it with the seeds of Eastern Hemisphere grains resulted in a beautiful sea of amber waves, this act vanquished the native prairie plants. While the creation of the State of Israel provided a homeland for the Jews, it meant the destruction of Palestine as a geopolitical entity and as an identifiable homeland for those Palestinians whose families have dwelt there for several millennia.

While Korczak Ziolkowski's statue of Crazy Horse on his horse might well be a worthy tribute to this hero, it has ravaged the 600-foot-high granite mountain near Custer, South Dakota, into which it is being carved. In 1998, 500 tons of granite were blasted from the mountain so that work could begin on Crazy Horse's horse, whose head was 22 stories high.

Even what seems like the purest, most self-contained type of creativity -- turning the events, images, and ideas of one's life into a written story -- is a destroyer. Writing about one's memories, trimming, padding, moving them around, reshaping them until they fit a readable or "tellable" form, changes those memories in great or small ways. What the writer remembers after her act of creation is not her memory of the event that is the subject of her essay or story, but the written account of her memory.

-- Lisa Knopp, adjunct lecturer in creative nonfiction at Goucher College, in The Nature of Home: A Lexicon and Essays, published by University of Nebraska Press

Name:  Bridget
Subject:  The Picture
Date:  2002-10-01 13:03:24
Message Id:  3062
I used to play chess with my dad. I wasn't ever that good and after about a year of it I got tired and never played again. I like this picture because makes the chess board look a lot more exciting than the boring board that I remember. I like it too because immediately when I see it I think of my dad and I like my dad.
This picture also makes me think of Harry Potter because he had an encounter with a chess game and this chess board also looks enchanted and magic is what Harry Potter is all about.
If I would have painted this picture it would have a lot to do with my dad. He taught me to play and expanded my horizens a lot as I was growing up. I think that's what the colorful cloud at the top of the picture would represent... my expanding mind. The triangles are prettier than regluar chess pieces and more colorful. That's how the pieces would be if I made my own chess set.
Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Cirque de Soleil run extended
Date:  2002-10-01 15:15:30
Message Id:  3065
I was entertaining my class this morning w/ an account of Cirque de Soleil, and several members asked whether the show in Philly was over. Got back to my office to find that the run's just been extended, should you be interested...


We are thrilled to inform you that due to tremendous audience response, we are extending the run of Cirque du Soleil's™ Varekai™ with 19 additional performances! Get tickets to see our latest production under the Grand Chapiteau in Philadelphia. Varekai is a show of astonishing splendor and energy that has broken sales records in every market it has visited since its world premiere. You won't want to miss it. Get tickets to see Varekai today!

Name:  Rachel Steinberg
Subject:  Fairy Tale Conference
Date:  2002-10-01 21:55:46
Message Id:  3079
I definitely enjoyed Sunday night. It was fun seeing what the other classes had been up to and whether or not they were as loony as ours! I loved hearing fairy tales that others had written.
My favorite part about Sunday night was the reaction to my classes performances, particularly the Anne Sexton version of the rice krispie treat. Out intention in giving out the treats at the end was for people to question eating them, and to feel dirty about eating them. I never actually expected that to happen. I was so surprised that some people really did feel uncomfortable about eating them, but I was also pleased. That was the reaction we were aiming for.
Maybe next time someone is about to eat a nice rice krispy treat snack, they'll think twice! One never knows what stories are behind what one eats!! Hmm....ponder that... Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Going Cosmic
Date:  2002-10-02 11:07:26
Message Id:  3083

To help guide you in the transition from the internal frontier into which the study of fairy tales took the world WAY beyond, which we will be contemplating for the next few might read Carl Sagan's "Reflections on a Mote of Dust" aka "The Pale Blue Dot" Humbly yours, Anne

Name:  Elena
Subject:  response to colleague's story
Date:  2002-10-02 19:56:47
Message Id:  3096
I'd like to share my thoughts about Nadia's fairy-tale. For those of you who weren't lucky enough to read it or hear about it, I will briefly summarize it. Three triplet girls grow up to become beautiful women. A prince comes along and they fight over him with such malevolence that an outside force, the creator of the cosmos, must seperate the sisters. The creator of the cosmos makes one the moon, the other the earth and the third the sun (right?). For the rest of their lives, the only time they ever see eachother is during a solar eclipse, which of course happens very rarely.
The reason why this story appealed to me is b/c it bordered between, what I thought, myth and fairy-tale. The idea was so original and creative that it could be a myth. Also, there was one overarching moral taught by it. But it was a fairy-tale b/c of the fairy-tale-like elements in it.
Bettleheim mentioned the difference between myth and fairy-tale. He wrote that myths were more negative than fairy-tales. Indeed, the only myths I can recall (about menitars,(sp?) rapes and oedipus,) end tragically. Whereas fairy-tales always have that happy ending.
But since Nadia's fairy-tale ends tragically, then did she write a myth?
Name:  Ro Finn
Subject:  Note regarding Rachel's post
Date:  2002-10-02 20:12:52
Message Id:  3097
Hi Rachel.. and all other interested cluster-mates,

In reading your comment about the Sexton/Krispie fairytale, something struck me... here's a quote from it:
"Our intention in giving out the treats at the end was for people to question eating them, and to feel dirty about eating them." What struck me was your choice of the word "dirty".

That is,reportedly, how the victim of such a crime feels, but not the perpetrator. Did you mean for us all to identify with the victims? And, if so, what would we be/feel if we ate one of the treats at the end?

I'm tempted to see if you and some others of us would care to get together to wrestle with Krispie questions informally. Who knows...There may be more surprises lurking in the story as it unfolds.


Name:  Gwenyth Cavin
Subject:  CSem Meeting
Date:  2002-10-03 00:05:11
Message Id:  3099
I really enjoyed our conference on fairy tales on Sunday. I thought acting out the fairy tales made them really entertaining to watch/listen to. I particularly liked the one about the 3 stools. Everybody has something in their house thats old or beat up but holds special meaning, and hearing a unique story about such a commom idea was neat. I also liked (along with a lot of other people) the therapy session at the end of the one of the gold coin story. Again, it was was interesting to hear the other side of the story from a different perspective. Good new spin on that!
I also really enjoyed performing our fairytale. If you all remember, I was the narrator and magical blue fairy. ha ha ha. It was fun to be goofy and act everything out and make you all laugh. However, I thought at first, our fairy tale of the life of learning of the rice krispy treat was going to be pretty lame, but it turned out great and I'm glad we did it.
I hadn't read the Anne Sexton fairy tale version before that night, so it was new to me too. I thought it was really well done and Paul had the great idea of giving out the rice krispy treats afterward which provided reinforcement of the "yuckiness."
I took the extras home and the whole box is sitting on my desk. I can't bring myself to eat one yet so I gave them to my roomies and sort of laughed like I have some inside joke now. ewwwww.
Name:  Diane
Subject:  Fairy Tales
Date:  2002-10-03 16:10:34
Message Id:  3102
In the McBride's group, among the various stories was a story of sexual abuse. It was a stark account of sexual abuse to a child and it was told from the point of view of the victim in a way that could have been the kind of account relayed to a policeman or a psychotherapist. Initially, this story was selected for presentation on the Fairy Tale Night over at English House. We (McBride C-Sem class) had problems with doing this story for several reasons, because we collectively felt that this kind of an account can have psychological consequences which we did not feel equipped to deal with (after all this was not a support group and we are not psychotherapists) and in fact that C-Sem and story telling was not the appropriate venue. Because of the way it was told, we also felt that it was "not a fairy tale".

I confess that on reading this story, I felt anger and resentment for having been subjected to this horror story. It was more than I wanted to know. It did seem like a "point of energy" so shocking and horrible and unjust that it needed more than anything to be "handled". And it felt like psychotherapy rather than a writing class. Other McBrides also voiced their unease and so we elected unanimously not to present this story.

Still, feeling the consequences of "not" doing it was also uncomfortable.. The silence was deafening. "Does Sleeping Beauty still sleep?" and it seems that she does. Was this censorship? Or were some things art and literature and other things not art and literature. And did this mean that it should not be told? I mean, where do we stand then, with the three monkeys with their hands over their ears, eyes and mouths? There had to be a way to speak the truth which this woman courageously presented to us.

Having recently attended a production at the Fringe, entitled Carmen Fenuebre, which dealt theatrically and allegorically with the horror of war, confirmed for me that it can be done. There is actually a gang rape scene in this production, with a woman in red who is tied with ropes around the waist, which is held by several soldiers on different ends of the ropes. They pull her this way and that and consequently slug gulps of wine and then spit the wine out onto her. They become more and more rowdy. Unstated, the message is clear. It was a cruel scene. (although it was actually only people pulling another person on a rope). At this point in the production I felt sick to my stomach and wanted to somehow put a stop to it. But there was power in the poetry that I believe could not have been present in a police report of a gang rape.

Do we need to be seduced by allegory in order to accept truths that are too difficult for us to grasp? Or too easy for us to deny? Is there an easy access door for the truth in our right brain?

At my desk at work, I began to make little sketches of puppets and sets that might frame this piece in some new way. Then I remembered a piece that Simon and Garfunkel wrote back in the 60s. They juxtaposed the Evening News Broadcast about the Vietnam War onto the song "Silent Night". People listened to the grim news everyday, but they were desensitized. Hearing it next to Silent Night made it ten times more potent. And I started to think "what if?"

We play some lyrical music and an all out princess steps out. She dances across the stage and softly brushes her hair and does princessy things. Then she goes to sleep on her flowery bed... all this is juxtaposed on the soft, purposeful reading of the McBride's tale.(...and then Uncle Rod called me into the basement...)
Then, when the reading is through, we each go up and put a veil over her... until she is completely covered up. We have put Sleeping Beauty to sleep and her Bedtime Story is a story of sexual abuse.

Do you think that makes the point? Some folks in the class suggested that she NOT sleep. That she somehow finally wake up.

Name:  Rachel Steinberg
Subject:  dirty
Date:  2002-10-03 22:40:49
Message Id:  3108
Ro- In terms of dirty, I did mean that you should identify with the victim, and also the perpetrator at the same time. You should feel for the rice krispie treat as you tore away her blue chastity belt and "ravaged" her, and you should have felt her pain after hearing that story. But at the same time, you know how good they taste so you should identify with the perpetrator in wanting to eat the treat.
As for an informal gathering, we discussed it in class and i'm sure our professors will work out a time.
Hope that clarifies stuff!
Name:  Margaret Ketchersid
Subject:  A whole bunch of stuff...
Date:  2002-10-04 00:16:53
Message Id:  3110
When I look at this week's painting I think of Murray Head and people dressed up as chess pieces twirling around singing, "One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free" and on and on until I start screaming my head off.

Usually I come on here right away and post but I have to say I didn't really feel like writing anything this week. I have not wanted to spend much time reflecting on this whole Princess Krispie/sexual abuse story thing but it has been on my mind. So here goes with my thoughts.

I was not disturbed at first about the Krispie story--I thought it was highly entertaining--and I had no feelings one way or another about eating the one that was passed out, except maybe that homemade ones taste a lot better. It crossed my mind that I didn't experience the anticipated effect but all I really thought about after the conference was that my husband had just brought home Nascar Thunder 2003 for the Playstation2 that day and I couldn't wait to get home and kick his ass all over Pocono Raceway.

After reading Ro.'s original post I reflected a little more and began to feel uneasy. We talked a bit about this in class... I am also curious about how conscious the authors/actors were about what they were presenting. Different people have found different parts of the story alarming but for me the ending was the most upsetting. Here we have a mass rape, and when I think about the degradation and really, inhumanity of the Princess Krispie/Prince Treat interaction, all presented so flippantly, I'm horrified. Anne suggested in class today that these scenes may recognize that part of human nature we might not want to accept. I believe that any one of us is capable of killing another person in a passion or becoming enraged or whatever, but I think it's a special breed that can willingly degrade another by raping them. So, yes, anyone can be a killer, but not everyone can be a rapist. I don't believe that particular evil is in each and every one of us. And no, I'm not saying it's better to kill someone than rape them, I just see rape as being MORE alien to our humanity than murder.

So, back to my question... I can see how the Krispie class could read Anne Sexton and come up with this story. But I wonder if anyone reflected on what it was ultimately saying. It's a little scary to think about a group of women (and by this I mean all of us who were there) laughing about the rape and degradation of women. For myself, I'm disgusted not only that I laughed at the time and didn't immediately see anything disturbing enough to bring up at the meeting, but also that while driving home, when it came up in my mind I just pushed it away because I wanted to think about video games.

I wasn't present for the discussion about the abuse story but I was relieved we weren't going to do it, and I thank Ro. and Diane for speaking out, since I didn't have the courage to do so. I would suggest something a little bit different for the end of Diane's visualization of that story. I imagine that the abuse experience is what puts Sleeping Beauty to sleep, so I see the perpetrator as the one who is covering her up.(Not necessarily with blankets--they seem too comforting) Or maybe she's covering herself up as protection against the pain or from the world. I see the fairy godmother(s)(her therapist in the story) then removing the blankets one at a time as Sleeping Beauty slowly came back to the land of the living.

Name:  Margaret Ketchersid
Date:  2002-10-04 00:32:08
Message Id:  3112
Hi Rachel,

I saw your response to Ro. when I posted my comment and I wanted to respond to what you said about the perpetrator. You said that (and my memory is bad so I'm approximating) since we know how sweet and good a rice krispie treat is we could identify with the perp how bad he had to have her. But rape is never about how good a woman looks or what she's wearing or even how she's acting. It's all about power, anger, domination.
If you guys were using Princess Krispie's beauty to justify Prince Treat's actions I hope you'll reconsider your position.

Name:  Diane G.
Subject:  Sleeping Beauty
Date:  2002-10-04 06:06:50
Message Id:  3114
Thanks Margaret!
The intention of "covering her up" was to show what fairy tales actually do. It was to make the point that by telling these stories ... in a way we are as Anne said "inscribing" them over and over... And it put the "coverers" in the uncomfortable position of mimicing the actions of the perpetrator... (kind of like the Krispy treat activity)

But you are saying, "Let's wake that princess up!!!! And, I see your point, and I agree!!! Thanks for providing a way to do it.
Hurrah for fairy godmothers... the enemies of sleep.

Name:  Ro. Finn
Subject:  Krispie Krunch Kontinued
Date:  2002-10-04 06:47:58
Message Id:  3115
Hi Rachel, Everybody

Thanks for the reply to my post. Actually, I wasn't envisioning a scheduled meeting of classes, just an informal get together of those of us who are interested in some more wiggling of this particular plate of jello.

Margaret, my earlier post... that the big bad wolf 'r us' sometimes, was me trying to say that all of our stories -- the sweet ones and the sour ones, the tough ones and the tender ones -- are 'normal' expressions that have risen to our surfaces. Once risen, I'm hoping it's OK with everybody if we choose to spotlight any of them and see what shows up. The more I think about it, the more I'm grateful that the Krispie story was performed. THANK YOU!

Name:  Claire Mahler
Date:  2002-10-04 13:18:25
Message Id:  3117
Goodness. I am entirely surprised and impressed by the controversy over the rice krispy treat presentation from Sunday evening. As a part of that class, I can verify that our purpose with the story was indeed to "gross people out" when we passed out the treats at the end. We were going for that shock value, not really thinking about the story itself in depth. The cumulation of various ideas quickly thrown out created our tale rather than exacting precision drawing from combined personal experience.

However, I have been thinking about this since our class discussion on Thursday over the supposed "misunderstanding" of our skits. The other girls and I were just kidding around, creating a creepy Sexton-like version of the tale, but I have been struggling with this idea. We meant no harm, but what does it say about us as individuals and us as a part of our culture if we joke about such horrible things? It makes me feel ill to think that we have been socialized to completely ignore the atrocities and the implications thereof and use events such as rape simply to play around. I know that I can get kind of defensive about certain issues (such as mocking suicide because my cousin committed suicide 2 years ago)--I feel very uncomfortable with it. At the same time I understand that oftentimes people's only way to cope with trauma is to joke about it (ie. Nazism, Holocaust, gang fights, international warfare, etc.), and I know that if everyone is completely politically correct at all times much of humor would be sucked out of our lives, but then again, think about what's being said! As you can probably tell, I myself am still trying to figure out in my own mind what an acceptible balance would be (if one can be found...) and would appreciate any response in terms of your opinions on the subject. Thanks for plowing through all of that!

Name:  Margaret Ketchersid
Date:  2002-10-04 15:59:32
Message Id:  3122
Hi Ro. and everyone,

I'm not sure if I understand what you mean. What I hear you saying is that anything a person might come up with in a story--or that their unconscious mind might throw in there-- is "normal", so by extension, ok (for the story at least, not to be acted upon perhaps). And then that it should be ok with everyone else, too.

I hope you didn't think I was suggesting that people shouldn't be able to choose to have their work scrutinized, because that isn't what I meant to come across. But if it's put out there the authors or even other readers have to accept that some people may NOT think it's ok.

This Krispie thing hits very close to home for me and I am starting to feel a little irrational about it. I vaccillate in my feelings about the experience. At this moment I am angry and deeply offended that someone could see such a shaming and violating act as fodder for silliness. This is where I draw the line and say, no, I don't think this is ok. Do I think the story should have been written? Of course! But once written, what kind of reflection did it inspire in its authors?

My response to the presentation has me in a complete tailspin. I will be thirty-five years old in November and I have been struggling with this issue for twenty-three years. More than half my life! Yet I laughed, too. But I didn't even see it until it was pointed out on this forum. I am so appalled at myself that I have hardly been able to sleep. I am an adult and it is my reponsibility to take care of myself. Therefore, if I felt threatened or upset by anything being presented I should have removed myself. However, it was so entertaining that it makes me think of being lulled to sleep and then being awakened by someone beating you with a stick. To say I feel re-victimized would be overly dramatic, but I certainly feel manipulated, and resentful about it. To top it off, I read that Paul suggested handing out the treats! I hope I'm mis-remembering that because please, I don't want to go there. It makes my head feel like it's going to explode.

This is why I would like to know how aware the authors/actors were of their story. Am I grateful the story was told? No. As consumers, we have a choice in what books we read, movies we see, what we do with our time. In c-sem, we did not have a choice to read Ann Sexton or not. We had to read it, no matter what the psychological fall-out might be. At the fairy tale conference, we had no idea what would be presented, and I for one resent people trying to manipulate my feelings about something that I have been wrestling with for many years and that completely altered my life forever, and not for the better. I say, that is absolutely NOT OK with me, no matter how "normal" it might be for someone else to put it in that type of story.

One last thing and then I will stop. I knew I would be challenged intellectually when I came to Bryn Mawr and that the circumstances of my situation dictated that just being here would bring up many difficult emotions. I just don't see an English class as the forum for experiments in psychology.

Name:  Alex Frizell
Subject:  Sunday
Date:  2002-10-05 14:52:17
Message Id:  3135
In regards to Sunday-
I was very pleased with how our conference on Sunday went. However, I am sorry to find out that ourr group may have insulted someone. That was the farthest thing from our minds. Yes, we did want to gross everyone out, but never insult someone. We wrote the original Rice Krispee life of learning and laughed about it. WE then did what we had done with our own lives of learning- made it into a fairy tale and made it into an Anne Sexton Fairy tale. We wanted it to be in her style. SO thats what happened. I reallyl didnt think that anyone would be grossed out, like we had wanted. I just never relaly looked any deeper than the surface of our story. Unlike Anne Sexton's work, I really don't think that our story was meant to have any deeper meaning.
I really enjoyed hearing everyone's fairy tales.
HAve a great day everyone.
Name:  Ro. Finn
Date:  2002-10-05 15:44:26
Message Id:  3136
Thanks for your kind note. I, for one was not insulted by the performance, but I have this pesky habit of doing what my mother used to call "wiggling the jello." I love that you guys gave all of us something to really think about in our own ways. Frankly, more of the same will surely happen, and I'm all for it. Politeness/correctness is highly overrated sometimes.
ps.. Anne, Hayley and Paul, our white-water raftings have been expertly steered.
Name:  Paul Grobstein
Subject:  richness ... and appreciation
Date:  2002-10-05 17:54:01
Message Id:  3138
" mediated mayhem ... controlled chaos "... "expertly steered"? Consciously, subconsciously, unconsciously?

As my kids were growing up, I felt a need for a "family rule" (in the absence of any connection to established religion), and so emerged:

Thou shalt not deliberately hurt another person

The "deliberately" was and still seems to me important. One can resolve not to "deliberately" hurt someone else, but I don't think there is any way to live and grow without sometimes inadvertently hurting someone else. And when that happens, one apologizes and learns. And so I do, and so I have. My thanks to Ro. Finn, to Rachel, to Claire, to Margaret, to Dianne, to everyone contributing to my education.

I do think that's what we're about, learning from each other ... and do think that indeed means (indeed requires) that we sometimes find ourselves saying/doing things that hurt others. Sometimes because we don't know what it means to them and, yes, sometimes because we don't know, until we've said it, what it means to ourselves. We can't get along without the unconscious, and shouldn't try. Its too rich a resource. It is, of course, also a risky one. My own feeling is that the payoffs outweight the risks, at least among people who are genuinely able and willing to learn from each other.

My sense from class, from Sunday, and from the forum is that I am in fact among such a group of people. My thanks for that too. As for the steering of this particular white-water raft ... I'm happy to grab an oar now and then but would be sometimes bored and other times terrified if Anne, Haley, and the rest of you weren't also willing to do so. Finding myself neither bored nor terrified on this particular trip, I'm delighted to be along.

Name:  Jessie
Subject:  fairy tales?
Date:  2002-10-06 11:38:38
Message Id:  3147
This is unrelated to the assignment for this week, but I was reading an article online that was discussing the new movie version of Pinocchio, and after spending a month on fairy tales, I found this funny. Enjoy!

"For Italians, Carlo Collodi's 1880 book, "The Adventures of Pinocchio," is more than just a classic tale for children. For generations, the story of how a naughty, headstrong puppet transforms itself into a responsible little boy has been a rite of passage, a kind of morality primer on how to grow up." (CNN)

Name:  kristina copplin
Subject:  Fairy tale Conference
Date:  2002-10-06 12:55:23
Message Id:  3152
Reflecting on last Sunday's conference...
The most interesting part of the gathering was how diverse everyone's fairy tales were. It's really amazing how different people's imaginations are and it made for some really well written and creative fairy tales. Also, I think the rice krispy tales made me consider how re-telling a story can often alter a viewpoint. Honestly, I'm not sure if I can ever look at a rice krispy treat in the same way- it's interesting how hearing someone's interpretation of something can change someone else's perspective so much. Overall I thought everyone had really great stories to share and the conference made me realize how even though writers may take different approaches the outcome is still just as meaningful.
Name:  molly c
Subject:  Regarding last Sunday
Date:  2002-10-06 16:26:42
Message Id:  3157
Regarding last Sunday, I did not find myself having a very strong reaction to the entertaining little ditty about the Rice Krispie Princess. I just didn't take it very seriously and for that I think I may have lost out a little bit - on the other hand, how much seriousness did the tale warrant? I am glad that those who did have a reaction were willing to share because it has deepened my experience and made my time more valuable; but in the end I'm also glad to be able to put the story down and say, 'eh, no big deal to me personally'.
It was somewhat interesting to be drawn into a rhetorical conflict through the gift of my very own Princess-Krispie-in-chastity-belt, but that conflict would not influence my decision to eat a treat and so it was instantly moot. It struck me as a simple gimmick that generated more afterthought than fore.
I think one of the most striking things about fairy tales is that they were passed down orally for so long, evolving into tales which met the needs of listeners so precisely well because they were more fluid than the written word. That said, I think it is a bit much to compare the fanciful one-time telling of a group story to a true fairy tale, and further to read into it as such. We give ourselves too much credit!
Name:  risa
Subject:  that &*^%#!! Rice Krispy Treat thing
Date:  2002-10-06 16:52:15
Message Id:  3159
This is a comment i should have posted a bit ago:

I for one totally felt like Paul's class really did their skit without all of these entangled thoughts about the meaning of the RK treat and simply tried to work in the style of Sexton. Why is it that having to go over and over this is its own dark re-telling? And how many re-tellings until the actual, inteneded story is gone? And what is the need to re-tell the re-telling of the interpretation of the intention that has not yet been disclosed or understood? At this point i only remember the private re-tellings of it and the story has had its power taken away by a wild co-opting that i think is stretching the meaning beyond what i feel it was meant to accomodate(as clearly indicated in several posts).

Paul's class- we who are over 30 need to remember-- is a young class; and i for one am not now going to judge them and hold them accountable for things they could have in NO WAY intuited having been alive these brief, tender years(comparatively). It is simply not okay to expect them to have this enormous vision when THAT is what they are supposed to be learning here, and maybe instead of interogating their story, we should be aksing ourselves what we would like them to know about the world and about being female and offer that to them instead of forcing them to process the worst things that can happen to those who are women. I would think carefully about what they are to infer from us from this, because if you want to talk about re-telling a story- what is the point of co-opting THEIR story for OUR damage? What service have we really done for them? And have- in making the point the processing-- shown them anything greater?

have we dragged them through this processing having changed the focus from their story to our damage? When my sister called me and told me a terrible & sad story about the Holocaust she had read about in one of her high school classes (because apparently they only tell terrible and sad stories about the Holocaust)my response was, "...yeah, but I have another story about the Holocaust that is pretty amazing.." and filled her head with vivid images of female led resistance movements, perilous episodes of courage, faultless integrity, compassion, and heroics performed by women i knew growing up and those i read about. Yeah, i could have made her process the Holocaust with me, but what would have been the point of that? Sometimes i think the re-telling is way of co-opting the power of who owns the story and i do not think this was a co-opting that broke open any system of oppression, in fact, i think this re-telling is instituting one.

I think age and expereience play out as an unfair advantage here and those of who have that should be aware that people who are younger than us cannot be forced into our paid-dearly-for consciousness. From the earliest postings one can still see that no one in Paul's class had such a far emotional trajectory anyway so now i wonder, what did this processing do for them? what have we really shown them? have we presented any alternative views of being a woman? this seems like it would be important to know if we give something to them if we expect to take them along on our processes.

Name:  Bonnie Balun
Subject:  Reflection on Sunday
Date:  2002-10-06 16:53:33
Message Id:  3160
Sunday evening's fairy tale session was both enjoyable and difficult for me. My favorite fairy tale was the one about the five princesses. It was humorous, insightful and brimming with creativity. I waited with anticipation for it to unfold. I also enjoyed the tale about the girl whose parents wanted her to excel at one thing, but she was good at many things. I thought of my nine year old daughter and made a mental note not to push her. It cannot be denied, we can learn a great deal from one anothers stories.
I was upset and agitated at the end of the Rice Krispie Treat drama but I didn't know why. I had a difficult time following the plot from where I was sitting in the back of the room, so I concentrated on the physical actions of the characters which spoke volumes. I saw things die, I saw a cute/silly fairy telling a tale about a prince overtaking a princess. Then I saw a beautiful girl speaking about a blue/wrapper chastity belt and being "ripe." I asked, "What is this about?" and the reply was "greed." But as I was driving home on the NJ turnpike, still agitated and puzzled, I realized that the "greed" section had lasted about 3 seconds. The rest of the story was about something else that had to do with sex, young women being "taken" and "ripe." What upset me the most was how it was told in a cute/silly/flippant manner. Anne Sexton's stories are horrific but the "voice" of her work is not cute or silly.
On Tuesday I was surprised to learn that the McBrides had decided not to perform the piece on sexual child abuse. I agree it was a difficult piece to read. The first time I read it my checks got red, my heart raced and I was disturbed to distraction. It was more information than I wanted to know. I feel that way every time I watch the news and another child has been abducted, raped and murdered. In the past few years, we have seen in the media an increase in sexual child abuse stories. It is not that there are more children being abused, but more cases are being reported on national news. Critics of this say that "copycat" offenders will abduct children in order to be on television. This may be true.
But as more stories are reported each year, the actual number of child abuse cases decreases each year! It is as if the nation (our culture)is taking a stand against child abuse. Americans are talking about these stories across watercoolers and in factory lunchrooms. They are talking about how child abuse is wrong, how these stories make them sick, and the word is getting around that it will not be tolerated. Children, once thought of as second class citizens, now have a voice.
Subject:  more on the Krispy controversy
Date:  2002-10-06 17:53:52
Message Id:  3164
Honestly, to begin I was shocked that people took the Anne Sexton version of our Princess Krispy tale so seriously. My initial reponse was this:
I wonder if people remember that we wrote that version last, taking our fairy tale and coming up with a way to "Sexton-ize" it. Our class discussion of Sexton's book centered around three main points: how she turned seemingly happy endings into negative ones, how she made the stories very sexual, and how she used a lot of food imagery and related food to sex. We took these points and used them to turn our fairy tale into a Sexton tale (happy ending w/ Prince turns unhappy, act of consumption of food becomes sexual, etc.). That is why the story ended up the way it did. It was a coincidence that the main character was a food item - therefore it ended up that it was her getting sexually consumed. As the primary author of the actual poem which was read at the conference (we all came up with the ideas for the 3 pieces, then 3 people from the class went home and actually wrote them out), I apologize if I/we offended/disturbed anyone.

That said, I think the "controversy" (if it can be called that) over the tale of Princess Krispy has been an amazing example of how the audience/reader can get something from a story that the author didn't intend (or didn't THINK he/she intended). On one hand, even though we the authors did think of it as funny, I was surprised that people were laughing at the story (maybe it was "nervous laughter") because our aim was to disturb in some sense, but certainly not as profoundly as some of you have expressed. As others from our class have said, we were really surprised at the fact that our goal (people not wanting to eat the Treats) was actually accomplished.

The most interesting part of all this to me however, is that now I have gone back and thought to myself: maybe I did mean something deeper when I wrote the poem. It became a bit more clear to me when reading Rachel's comment - she wrote something about thinking about what you're eating and how you never know what has happened to that thing before it reaches your plate. As a vegetarian and passionate believer in animal rights, this statement struck a chord. Maybe when I was turning what we had said in class into the performance piece, my feelings about the cruel mass exploitations of animals used for food subconciously entered into my interpretation of the story??

Well who knows, just throwing some ideas out there. Someone mentioned having a follow-up conference or small group meeting on some of these subjects. I would certainly be up for that - after all it's not easy to convey all you have to say through cyberspace.

- Joy : )

Name:  Ro. Finn
Date:  2002-10-06 18:19:03
Message Id:  3165
Hi Risa,
Not believing in coincidence, your comments about WWII are amazingly timed. I'm in the midst of writing some poetry that is about the Danes during WWII and their rescue of all but a few of their 8000 Jewish countrymen. A few years ago, I did some photography in the fishing villages along the Baltic shore of Denmark. I cherish the stories and images from that experience. There are many amazing stories that need to be told. You're right.

Your points, in general, are well-taken. I'm hoping that we move on, having learned whatever we can from all that we shared, not just from the KT story. The women in our cluster seem to fend for themselves just fine, all of us. Without causing deliberate harm, I want to resist seeing older/younger as a difference that could stifle our explorations together.

Name:  Adina
Subject:  rice krispy treat discussion
Date:  2002-10-06 18:48:35
Message Id:  3166
Often, when I call my parents from here and tell them about college, I begin my sentences, "This might sound really teenager-y, but..." to which they usually reply, "Stop saying that! You ARE a teenager."

That is the way I felt when I began reading this week's discussion. Honestly, I felt extremely guilty and a little bit stupid. But, as Risa has pointed out, we (Paul's group) really are teenagers. What we have written IS typically teenager-y, but maybe it's just part of our development as teenagers and as people. We really didn't think about the fact that our performance might offend people or trigger painful memories. For me, it was even a way of coping with Anne Sexton's poetry (that version of Rapunzel shattered my childhood memories of one of my favorite stories). By writing this entirely fantastical story, we were almost distancing ourselves from some of the cruel realities of life, whilst still being (we think) creative.

Name:  Jessie
Subject:  Ordering and Re-ordering the World
Date:  2002-10-06 19:23:11
Message Id:  3168
so, it appears that not many of us chose to write about the painting. I was unable to attend the fairy tale conference, and I unfortunately do not understand all the drama surrounding the infamous rice krispie treat. I have been fascinated by all of your reactions, and as i ponder the next assingment-why we are motivated/reluctant to re-tell stories-i wonder if a)what happened last sunday is a story to be re-told, and b)whether conversations such as these encourage or discourage us from telling stories.
Right now, though, I need to talk about "my" painting. As chaos moves to order, the colors change from bright and interesting to more mundane, subdued. It reminds me of flying. Up in the air, during a sunset, the colors are all mixed together, fading in and out. But below, the farms and buildings are "grounded" in a sqaure and rectangular checkerboard. Excitement, for this painter, exists only in the disorder, in the chaos and beauty.
Name:  risa
Username:  rrice
Subject:  Clarification
Date:  2002-10-06 21:06:34
Message Id:  3176
Margaret- just so you know when i refer to "our damage"- it is collective. In the broad, huge, vast sense that it means but we wish it didn't.
Name:  Joy Woffindin
Subject:  one last comment
Date:  2002-10-06 22:23:33
Message Id:  3178
I have something else to add about the conference. In response to Bonnie's comment:
"The rest of the story was about something else that had to do with sex, young women being "taken" and "ripe." What upset me the most was how it was told in a cute/silly/flippant manner. Anne Sexton's stories are horrific but the "voice" of her work is not cute or silly."

Actually the 3rd section of our performance (the Anne Sexton style one, which was the only one that had to do with sex) was not performed in a "cute" way. We were wearing black, had the lights turned out - what is cute about that? It was you the audience that chose to laugh at our performance. We did not tell you how to react to the poem. Though we as a class were not taking the whole thing completely seriously I was pretty shocked at how people were really cracking up as I read.

Oh well. I think this subject needs to be laid to rest. All I can say is, we were talking about the eating of a Rice Krispy Treat (NOT a person) and did with our story exactly what Anne Sexton did with fairy tales - that is to take mostly happy stories and turn them into something dark and (in some cases) truly sick. Personally I know a lot of us objected to Anne Sexton's treatment of the subject and if one's problem is with her to begin with that's fine, but all we were doing was completing the assignment to write in her style. End of story.

Once again I apologize if what we did was offensive, but like Risa said, we are merely teenagers in a frosh English class. We weren't trying to make some profound societal commentary (at least I don't think we were!), and I'm really sorry this little performance seems to have caused so much turmoil. I don't want to feel guilty that we wrote/performed what we did, but I almost do now because of the drama that has arisen from it. So once again, so sorry to whomever was offended - and I think we should talk about something else now...

Name:  Margaret Ketchersid
Username:  Anonymous
Date:  2002-10-06 20:11:50
Message Id:  3170

I don't necessarily think there has been a re-telling of the "controversial" fairy tale. Maybe it's just reflection. For myself, I can read something but not "get it" until later on. Or understand how significant it is to me. I'm guessing that when you were speaking about co-opting the story you were speaking of me, so since I have already turned the focus from "their story to my damage", let me say this: I did not originally intend to put that out there and my earlier posts bear that out I think. But when you say there might be something to say other than the worst that's been done to women, what would you have me say? Just my being here illustrates that people can overcome. But how would anyone understand the concepts of overcoming or hope if they didn't know where you came from? However, it's probably an unfair question for me to ask since my intent in posting that message was not to enlighten anyone but just to relieve my own internal pressure.

As for not holding them accountable, I agree with you to a point. It doesn't mean that they should be shielded from the results of their efforts, though. But Paul, I think, should be held to a higher standard. He has lived long enough to know better, if that is your judgement criteria. And I'm sorry, there's something creepy about finding out that he suggested they pass out the treats, since we now know it was intended for us to feel dirty. Actually, I'm not sorry. I'm pissed. It bothers me to find out that someone was consciously trying to manipulate me so that I would feel dirty. Not whether they succeeded or not, just that they tried to do it. In that instance, intent is everything. Yes, I read his apology (with its justifications).

Part of the problem for me comes down to not being able to choose the c-sem I would like to take. When I read the syllabus for this course I was very concerned and spoke to Rona about it. I would never choose this as my first course returning to college, based solely on what I have had to try to put to rest in order to get here. But there you go. Nothing I could do for it.

I want to be able to say I'm sorry to people who were upset by what I wrote. But, I'm not sorry, and what I really feel like saying is
Fuck this! This whole segment of the course, from life of learning to analysis of my fairy tale was not an intellectual exercise for me, I'm glad it was able to be for some of you.

Name:  Margaret Ketchersid
Date:  2002-10-07 01:10:04
Message Id:  3185
Hi Risa,

Thanks for your clarification and I sent you an e-mail.


You only have one more day and then it will all be gone. You guys don't have to feel guilty about your story and presentation, just be willing to hear what people have to say about it. The response it generated is more than just "drama", though, and hopefully you will all consider it thoughtfully.

Name:  Joy
Date:  2002-10-07 02:25:02
Message Id:  3186
I'm definitely open to people's responses, and as I said I wouldn't mind a bunch of us discussing these issues in person. And just so you know I didn't mean "drama" in a trivializing or condescending way.

- Joy

Name:  Phoebe Anderson
Subject:  Painting
Date:  2002-10-07 11:53:03
Message Id:  3190
After taking a step back from "my painting", I see both the individuality of people and the accumulation of their knowledge. Each square of the board represents a person's personal space, a boundary that others cannot cross. Each figure represents a person and the burst that comes from each of them represents their individual thoughts, their voice. The multi-colored cloud that floats above the figures is the bank of knowledge, the common ground for these people, a melting pot of information and knowledge.

People should have their own voice and ideas, but they should also be open to what others have to say. There is so much to learn and experience. Their experiences and knowledge add to this bank of knowledge.

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Exploding Holes
Date:  2002-10-07 11:57:17
Message Id:  3191
I wanted to say something in this ongoing conversation about the Rice Krispy Treat Fairy Tale. It seems to me that what has been playing out here is precisely the "loop" that this course intends to foreground, moving from the spontaneous playfulness of the unconscious into the more reflective work of the conscious mind and back again. I'd revise Risa's saying that we older ones had an "unfair advantage" over you younger ones, by saying, rather, that we all need one another, precisely because we do see the world differently: we need the play of those of you who are playful, and you need the reflections of those of us who have lived longer. And then we all need to "loop" back again into more--and perhaps a now altered kind of-- play.

It also occurs to me that a pair of paintings which Sharon Burgmayer made this summer, but just scanned onto the web yesterday, function wonderfully as images of what has been happening among us. My reading? That we are negotiating a landscape full of "Holes." If we are willing to explore those pits, we can be rewarded with something that will "Explode" in glorious color.

I'm learning a tremendous amount from our ongoing conversation.
For which I thank you all--

Name:  Hayley Thomas
Subject:  slouching towards play...
Date:  2002-10-07 20:58:20
Message Id:  3196
I meant to post something last week, but wanted to think some more about the fact that no story is written or told until we write or hear (ourselves into) it.

And this reminds me. I left the fairy tale conference two weeks ago thinking that it wasn't like any other fairy tale conference I've ever attended and I've been to a few, believe me.

But thinking back on it, and on the conversations it has generated in the in-between time since then, I recognize it. I recognize its ludic energy, the deep and playful space generated when folks get together to give body and voice to the traditional narratives we tell and thus, re-vise in the telling. I recognize the break/through into performance.

In carnivalesque moments, like our conference, we simultaneously consent to identify with and be estranged from our everyday selves for the sake of play, knowledge, revolution, and/ or dialogue. Laughing and squirming at things we don't dare invite out loud into our day to day, at least not without some frame, often humor, to help soothe and heal.

The therapy tale, the Princess Trilogy, all of the stories spoken and performed, tugged at me, signaling to me that something significant was happening for me, in me, in and through language. They tore laughter from me, but also ripped at other things in me, I admit. That's the way of humor. It's an optimistic process of delicately matching scraps of sense and nonsense and it's always risky, uncomfortable, and ambiguous. Think that's one reason why the resolution for a joke is called a punch line?

Thanks for the provocation and conversation. Can't wait to talk with all of you about the "flexible and contingent truths" folks in my section are discovering in the science/fiction readings we're doing now.


Name:  Diane Gibfried
Subject:  Snap, Crackle, Pop...
Date:  2002-10-07 23:44:40
Message Id:  3199
Snap, Crackle, Pop...

I confess that I have sinned.

In what way?

I have lied.

Ah, yes.

And I have looked at naughty pictures.


And I have had uncharitable thoughts.

I see.

Anything else?

I ate my Rice Krispie treat, I enjoyed it thoroughly... and I even licked the wrapper.

"Oh my God"

And after that, I even licked MY FINGERS!!!

And I know, I WILL DO IT AGAIN!!!

"REPROBATE!!!!. Even I cannot hold to the rule of confidence that usually prevails."
There will be an Inquisition. And you will be imprisoned with all the other snide sideways smiling, eyebrow lifting, nudge nudgers of finger lickers and chuck chucklers.
Unless Santa Krispia can find it in her heart to pardon you. But for that privelige you must walk on your knees many miles over Krispie bits and not break a single one.
You must glue Krispies to your eyelids and forehead and wear blue wrappers over your fingers as well as your eyes. You must sequester yourself away from society and meditate on your own bestial nature which causes you to laugh at inappropriate times.

As I was taken away, I could hear the soft rattle of paper coming from the opposite part of the confessional.

Disclaimer: I do not in any way support mass rapes or crimes against females or even the rest of humanity. I only wanted to confess with the help of a little satire that I did indeed eat my Krispie treat. And I do continue to eat them. And I don't know if I enjoy them more or less. But I will let you know. They are very popular at church picnics and youth group gatherings. And I would be happy to provide a handy recipe.

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