Me, elsewhere

by Sonny Bunch on July 11, 2012

I’ve got an essay over at the Washington Times defending the insta-reboot of the Spider-Man franchise as the latest entry in a proud tradition of endlessly remaking cultural products:

Consider “A Christmas Carol.” Charles Dickens‘ classic has been adapted for screens large and small dozens of times. In just the past 20 years, there have been seven film adaptations of “A Christmas Carol,” including a version with the Muppets and a version in which Jim Carreyplayed both Scrooge and the ghosts who plague him. Television has introduced another five iterations of Scrooge to the world.

Many of these adaptations are dispensable, but there have been a handful of true classics throughout the years: 1935’s “Scrooge,” the first adaptation made with sound, remains one of the best; 1951’s “Scrooge,” starring Alastair Sim, is considered a classic; 1988’s “Scrooged,” starringBill Murray in a comedic spin on the character, is a modern yuletide yukfest.

Similarly, Shakespeare doesn’t get old. You’ll never see a critic write, “‘Romeo and Juliet’ — again?” Or “The Danish Prince still?” Or, “This Macbeth joker, always with the murders!” Shakespeare theater troupes proliferate; New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park is a world-famous tradition; high schools, colleges and community theaters dip into the Bard’s catalog every year — and the productions are judged by their quality, not by whether someone else has staged the plays recently.

Now look: I’m not nuts. I’m not saying that all comics are literature or that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko are Shakespeare. I’m not saying that Spider-Man is Hamlet. What I’m saying is, Batman is.

Over at Doublethink I have a piece arguing that we should all be outraged by the activities and entitled mindset of social parasite Christopher Borges. I’m not going to lie: This might be my favorite of all the sentences I’ve ever written:

If you’re on the government teat, perhaps you shouldn’t expect it to lactate cigarettes.

You should, as they say, read the whole thing. Especially if you’re in need of a good outrage/five minute hate.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark July 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Interesting note about your historical examples: all public domain. Same goes for stuff like Dracula and Frankenstein (and, I suppose werewolves and mummies work too). But when you look at the “original” Universal movie monster – the Creature from the Black Lagoon – not so much (because that was original, it’s still copyrighted). I’m positive we’ll see a gill-man movie soon, but I would also expect public domain (read: cheap) stuff to remain more popular than anything still under copyright (recent spate of remakes/reboots aside).

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Sonny Bunch July 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Right. The barrier to entry is low, so you see a lot more. Most are crap, but you get the occasional great one.

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