That's what i was trying to think of when oxfordvenus and i were discussing "fagged" vs. "knackered" and cultural misunderstandings.
Val was telling us about a Japanese translator who was translating a British book into Japanese and came upon the above sentence, spoken by a man to his wife one evening. The poor translator didn’t know what to do with that passage.
Martin Amis will forever make me think of Valentine Cunningham now.
At the beginning of the “Spreading Myths About Iron John” chapter of his book Fairy Tales as Myth, Myth as Fairy Tale, Jack Zipestalks about his immediate associations with the name Iron John and says things like "There was definitely something noble and heroic about the name Iron John" (96). In a footnote:
It is interesting to compare the associations of the British reviewer, Martin Amis: “Iron John runs into trouble—into outright catastrophe—with the first word of its title. I don’t know why I find this quite so funny (what’s wrong with me?); I don’t know why I still scream with laughter every time I think abut it. Is it the spectacle of Bly’s immediate self-defeat? or is it because the title itself so firmly establishes the impossibility of taking Iron John straight? Anyway, here’s the difficulty; iron is rhyming slang for ‘male homosexual’. Just as ginger (ginger beer) means ‘queer’, so, I’m afraid, iron (iron hoof) means ‘poof’.” “Return of the Male,” London Review of Books 13 (December 5, 1991): 3.One wonders if *anything* is safe to say if one has cockney rhyming slang as part of one’s framework.
Also, i boggled that in Women Who Run With The Wolves (Chapter 8: “Self-Preservation”), Clarissa Pinkola Estes claims Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Red Shoes” as a feminist tale. Okay, so she rewrites the beginning a bit, making Karen an orphan who sewed red shoes for herself because she was poor, and she was very proud of herself and happy with her shoes. (This shifts agency in a variety of interesting ways from the Andersen version.)
There is what I believe to be the remnants of an old women's teaching tale that explicates the plight of the starved and feral woman. It is variously known by names such as "The Devil's Dancing Shoes," "The Red-Hot Shoes of the Devil," and "The Red Shoes." Hans Christian Andersen wrote his rendition of this old tale and titled it with the latter name. Like a true raconteur, he surrounded the core of the story with much of his own ethnic wit and sensitivity.I don’t have Betsey’s hate on Andersen and actually think he has many wonderful powerful beautiful stories but um, Clarissa, what crack are you smoking?
The following is a Magyar-Germanic version of "The Red Shoes" that my aunt Tereza used to tell us when we were children, one that I use her with her blessing. In her artful way, she always began the tale by saying, "Look at your shoes, and be thankful they are plain . . . for one has to live very carefully if one's shoes are too red." (231)
The whole book obviously, is the “if we just got in touch with our inner natural wild essence that society has perverted, all would be good,” and Estes talks about “The Red Shoes” as a self-preservation tale because Karen’s “meaningful life” (i.e. the red shoes she made herself) is robbed from her by evil repressive society as represented by the Christian woman who adopts her, so Karen becomes starved and craves an unhealthy substitute in the fancy red shoes. So really the tale is about society crushing healthy independent self-sufficient spirits. I’ve gotta say, i’m impressed by Estes’ acrobatics.