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This post is a sequel to yesterday’s post about beauty standards, whiteness, and “the uncanny.” If you haven’t read it yet, you gotta. Otherwise this post will make no sense at all.

I’m going to use this post to talk about the concept of “unheimlich” or “uncanny” specifically as it relates to the restructuring of fairy tales in contemporary adaptations. Sound complex? It’s not. I just mean this:

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter

Like Carrot-Top Meets Mutant Muppets

Now you get it. So what’s that all about? Read the rest of this entry »

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Finally, I’m settled in Việt Nam. My apartment is right next to a lovely hole-in-the-wall cafe with excellent coffee and free wifi. ‘Tis here, Dwarves and Elves, that I shall be blogging away.

I’ve been thinking about many things since I came here, but beauty standards are close to the top of the list (the top of the list? caffeine). As a Westerner living in the decidedly non-touristy District 5, I get a lot of stares, a lot of shouted greetings, and a lot of people asking me if I’m married. But the second question people usually ask is where I’m from. And people really, really want to know this about me, to the point that if I don’t tell them, don’t understand the question or laugh it off, they get upset and ask very, very urgently. Why the urgency?

First of all, this is not a question that most Americans get nearly as much as I do. Most people here are very surprised that I’m American; after I tell them that I’m from the US, they usually say that they thought I was from India. Or Turkey. Or “Arabia.” Or even South America. After I convince my interlocutor that yes, I am American and no, I didn’t move there as a child, their next sentence – 80% of the time – is: “Wow! You’re very beautiful.” And this is interesting, but not for the reason you’d think. Read the rest of this entry »

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