The story of Little Red Riding Hood is an especially rich source for retelling and reinterpretation, both in popular culture and academia. Freudian assessments, feminist criticisms, all sorts of things (the vast majority of them sexual; go figure). I was recently reminded of this by seeing an informatics type version by Swedish student Tomas Nilsson (see below). Thus inspired, I collected a few old favorites and new finds for your entertainment, Dear Reader(s).
The first thing I wanted to include was the ’60s classic “Li’l Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs but I don’t own a copy of it and a search for video versions at YouTube and similar sites yielded frustrating results:
- unsatisfying covers by heavy metal bands or lone guitarists in their bedrooms
- boring sequences of still images
- weird synced versions, including
- a Betty Boop cartoon that completely undermines the role-reversal message of the song
- a misguided and poorly implemented splicing of a television performance of their bigger hit “Wooly Bully.” (The band’s outfits are great, though!)
- a creepy slightly fetishistic computer-generated version that I really don’t want to think about anymore.
Seek them out at your own risk and discretion.
Look! Here’s a couple of comic book covers!!
(There are many more; must be some sort of correlation between the content of the story and comics’ only-sometimes-justified-reputation for being the domain of the adolescent (both creator and consumer).
Little Red Riding Hood Revisited
(Russell Baker, The New York Times Magazine. 13 Jan 1980)
Once upon a point in time — at coordinates as yet too sensitive to disclose — a small person named Little Red Riding Hood initiated an operation involving the preparation, transportation and delivery of foodstuffs to her grandmother, a senior citizen residing in a forest of indeterminate dimension.The operation was given the go-ahead and following ingress into said forest she attained interface with an indigenous element of unknown threat. Extensive training led to recognition of indigenous element as a wolf. The wolf inquired as to Little Red Riding Hood’s intent and destination, making no attempt to conceal his curiosity regarding the contents of accompanying parcel — one basket.
“It would be inappropriate to lie to me,” the wolf said, displaying his huge jaw capability with incisors to match — his intent obviously to intimidate.
Sensing he was a mass of repressed hostility intertwined with acute alienation, she indicated her sole task was to rendezvous with grandmother at place of current residence, make food drop and exfiltrate forest via route of infiltration, all while posing no threat to forest and/or inhabitants. Seeing her papers were in order and operating within the parameters of her Visitor’s Visa, the wolf immediately moderated his rhetoric and Little Red was allowed to continue, forced to reevaluate her time to target given the delay.
Wolf, having access to rapid transit, proceeded to grandmother’s residence, subjecting the elderly woman to the trauma of breaking and entering, followed by total consumption. (Note: Grandmother’s forwarding address, at this point in time, had become wolf’s tummy.)
(Note: A popular argument of the less informed claims he was not a bad wolf, merely a victim of an oppressive society, a society that not only denied wolves’ rights, but actually boasted of its capacity for keeping the wolf from the door. A national malaise was claimed manifest inside the wolf … what a bunch of hooey!)
“Is that the national malaise I sense within my digestive tract?” wondered the wolf, already preparing a defense for his day in court. To add credence, he popped Pepto-Bismol tabs and climbed into bed, ssuming the abdominal-distress recovery posture upon Little Red’s arrival — he’d also donned granny’s flannels (rumor is wolfy’s AC/DC).
“Grandmother,” Little Red said upon entering, “your ocular implements appear to be of an extraordinary order of magnitude today.”
“Only in anticipation of your arrival and the dim light,” returned the wolf — in drag.
“In reference to your ears,” said Red, “may I note with the deepest respect that far from being petite, their elongation and enlargement appear to qualify you for unparalleled distinction.”
“And they work great for pulling in the ball game as I don’t have a radio,” said the wolf, adding: “And get a load of these new choppers?”
“If it is not inappropriate,” said Red, believing granny could go a few rounds with a grinder prior to flossing, “it might be observed that with your new miracle masticating dentures you may once again be able to chew taffy.”
Fearing Red was on to him the wolf adopted an aggressive posture, asserting it may also be possible to consume little persons, alluding to an overpowering curiosity bordering upon determination to do so at once … just for the hell of it.Little Red decided a retrograde movement was in order and hung a left, resulting in a bay window where once there had been bare wall. Shedding granny’s flannels, the wolf gave chase and was closing when a heretofore unnoted third party came upon the scene.
Due to the firmness of the third party’s intervention, the wolf’s stomach underwent ax-assisted aperture, resulting in the forced liberation of Little Red’s grandmother, bringing the hostage scenario to a successful conclusion and allowing for mission closure.
(I didn’t have to retype this from my copy of Baker’s anthology So This is Depravity (1980) thanks to Redzuan‘s having posted it on his blog.)
Animation by Tomas Nilsson. You can view it in “HD” here at the Vimeo website (I was unable to embed that version)
Ladle Rat Rotten Hut
(Howard L. Chace, Anguish Languish, 1956)
Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge, dock, florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry Putty ladle rat cluck wetter ladle rat hut, an fur disk raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.
Wan moaning Ladle Rat Rotten Hut’s murder colder inset.
“Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, heresy ladle basking winsome burden barter an shirker cockles. Tick disk ladle basking tutor cordage offer groin-murder hoe lifts honor udder site offer florist. Shaker lake! Dun stopper laundry wrote! Dun stopper peck floors! Dun daily-doily inner florist, an yonder nor sorghum-stenches, dun stopper torque wet strainers!”
“Hoe-cake, murder,” resplendent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, an tickle ladle basking an stuttered oft.
Honor wrote tutor cordage offer groin-murder, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut mitten anomalous woof.
“Wail, wail, wail!” set disk wicket woof, “Evanescent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut! Wares are putty ladle gull goring wizard ladle basking?”
“Armor goring tumor groin-murder’s,” reprisal ladle gull. “Grammar’s seeking bet. Armor ticking arson burden barter an shirker cockles.”
“O hoe! Heifer gnats woke,” setter wicket woof, butter taught tomb shelf, “Oil tickle shirt court tutor cordage offer groin-murder. Oil ketchup wetter letter, an den– O bore!”
Soda wicket woof tucker shirt court, an whinny retched a cordage offer groin-murder, picked inner windrow, an sore debtor pore oil worming worse lion inner bet. Inner flesh, disk abdominal woof lipped honor bet, paunched honor pore oil worming, an garbled erupt. Den disk ratchet ammonol pot honor groin-murder’s nut cup an gnat-gun, any curdled ope inner bet.
Inner ladle wile, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut a raft attar cordage, an ranker dough ball. “Comb ink, sweat hard,” setter wicket woof, disgracing is verse.
Ladle Rat Rotten Hut entity bet rum, an stud buyer groin-murder’s bet.
“O Grammar!” crater ladle gull historically, “Water bag icer gut! A nervous sausage bag ice!”
“Battered lucky chew whiff, sweat hard,” setter bloat-Thursday woof, wetter wicket small honors phase.
“O, Grammar, water bag noise! A nervous sore suture anomalous prognosis!”
“Battered small your whiff, doling,” whiskered dole woof, ants mouse worse waddling.
“O Grammar, water bag mouser gut! A nervous sore suture bag mouse!”
Daze worry on-forger-nut ladle gull’s lest warts. Oil offer sodden, caking offer carvers an sprinkling otter bet, disk hoard-hoarded woof lipped own pore Ladle Rat Rotten Hut an garbled erupt.
MURAL: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers.