Thursday, November 12, 2020

Old Tales In New Clothes: Once Upon the Internet

The sorts of wolves Perrault warned about still exist today.
Beware of chat and friend-requests from people you don't know... We're all susceptible to being preyed upon by strangers pretending to be something they're not. The internet and the woods have a lot in common these days.

There is this idea that fairy tales are old and irrelevant. If you're reading this blog, we're thinking you might not believe that. If you're a regular reader here, you know we don't believe that either. In fact, the whole reason for this blog is to show how very actively people are using and re-using fairy tales today. Fairy tales have this magical ability to stay recognizable, even as they adapt to be relevant to the person, society, or culture making use of them. (It's something we love to track!) 

For most people, however, it can be difficult to see how such old (ancient, really), tales could have any use today. We have a tendency to believe our predecessors were less evolved - or at least less enlightened - than we are, so how could such old things possibly have any relevance now? Turns out, people haven't really changed at all.

Did you know you can actually ask your Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Apple's Siri this question in real life and get a real answer? (Try it!) There are even actual "smart mirrors" you can talk to and get information from while you are getting ready. And yes, they give beauty tips...

One company, GoCompare, wanted to see if these tales would still be recognizable if reframed in today:

"Hidden amongst magical imagery, mystery and wonder, fairy tales offer an allegory for real life. Mapping the transition from childhood to adulthood, a young hero or heroine is often faced with obstacles they must overcome to achieve their heart's desires, while learning right from wrong. They're tales as old as time, but what do they look like in the modern world?" - From the Title page of GoCompare's Once Upon the Internet campaign. *

*Sadly, the campaign was in 2018 and the page is no longer active. We got additional information from the illustrator and designer, Elizabeth Howlett (also known as Beth Creates) who was hired to create scenes showing how different fairy tales might "adapt to the modern world". We think she did a FABULOUS job!

No need for making the best of a pumpkin; thanks to companies like Uber and Lyft, you can order your own carriage to go with your ball outfit. (Apparently, the Prince got tired of dating apps and decided to try an old-fashioned party - though these days a masked party might add some twists to that story too.)

Unfortunately, it looks like the "tale retelling" story portion of the campaign has been lost to the internet void, but even if you only vaguely know these tales, you immediately get what's going on.

There's something in these tales that shows us, even when we're told "old versions", that we recognize ourselves in them. This campaign goes a long way to showing why that is. These are the same old tales; they just use different tech. These are still our stories.


Puss in Boots as Social Media Influencer and promoter of "cancel culture" on Ogres of all kinds. And he's a cat - so of course he would go viral on Instagram.
Got wi-fi? You can figure out how to do almost anything yourself these days with Instructables, or get collated advice from the enthusiastic Reddit community! (The only question here, is "which sub-reddit" to ask?) (Illustrator Howlett warns of Rumplestiltskin sliding into your DMs...)
Bitcoin has made millionaires out of ordinary Jacks, but there are definitely risks; at least as much risk as magic beans
Shopping online can be hazardous, especially when it comes to fashion. "BNWT" stands for Brand New With Tags but sometimes the online promise (and picture) is too good to be true. Until you put it on, you have no idea that you've just been swindled by some clever, lying tailors.
Poor Three Bears; looks like their AirBNB income just took a hot with a bad review from an unfair customer.
Ah the Snapchat filter: creating glimpses of your possible future. Thanks to the selfie filter obsession that makes so many different transformations possible, we don't even know what most people really look like anymore!

You can check out more of Elizabeth Howlett's work on her Behance portfolio HERE.

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