Monday 24 March 2014

Gulliver's Travels

To say that I was disappointed with the latest retelling of Gulliver's Tales (2010) is a clear understatement.

Instead of a satirical treat, I found the film to be laborious and quite unfulfilling. The original story by Jonathan Swift was a cleverly crafted masterpiece wherein he was able to make clear satirical jabs at the Whigs and the politics of the day.

Instead of the classic wit seen in the original source material, the humour abounds with juvenile humour.

But, I would be a fool to dismiss the film so quickly.

As Aeschylus and Euripides pointed out, the art of telling a story is not in telling it the same way, but in the way that the story is retold.

While I find the film to be juvenile, perhaps that is indeed the point.

The crassness of introducing a fa├žade of American culture onto the island, might be a clear indictment of basic American culture – all lights, and no substance!

Even the way that major stories were recreated by 'Lemuel Gulliver' shows just how vapid and insubstantial the great films really are. After all, who will remember the 'great' movies produced by Hollywood?

Of course when Jonathan Swift wrote 'Gulliver's Travels' he was almost forced to use the pseudonym (nick) of 'Lemeul Gulliver' for fear of reprisals. Of course, Swift was used to using a 'nick' as he wrote many letters criticising politics of the time under the name of 'Drapier'. His use of the name Drapier, though, soon no longer was a secret, and on the return of Swift to Ireland, Swift was met at the docks with banners proclaiming, “Welcome home Drapier”.

The use of 'nicks' is certainly not unsual by people who are trying to get a point across that they feel is more important than the messenger. Often a message would become lost when more emphasis is put on the writer than what has been written.

In fact a number of people have also used the 'nick' Lemuel Gulliver. Satirists from Russia and Brazil have also brought out their own versions of "Gulliver's Travels" in order to made telling points about the society in which they live.

Even Henry Fielding, the author of Joseph Andrews, wrote under a nick. When Fielding wrote “Shamela”, Fielding wrote under the name of Mr. Conny Keyber. Fielding, of course, admired Swift, and there is much in common in their satirical writings on the society of the day.

Even the great Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the renowned mathematician, logician, and Anglican deacon used a pen name when writing some of his works. When Dodgson wrote his more 'academic' works, Dodgson used his given name. However, when he penned his works of fantasy, such as, “Alice in Wonderland”, and “Alice through the Looking Glass”, Dodgson used the pen name (nick) of Lewis Carroll.

But, of course, the use of 'nicks' are not reserved only for the greats!

Today when you go onto a for a, there are many people who are quick to express their views under a 'nick'.

The use of 'nicks' has so escalated in modern society that the use of such has become quite mundane!

While some of the 'nicks' are quite clever, the concept has been overused to such a point that some people even use more than one 'nick'.

But the use of more than one nick is nothing new either. As we have seen from the above, Swift used more than one – and he will not be the last either!

Even south African history is dotted with people who used nicks. While casually reading Maj. Tylden's book, “The Armed Forces of South Africa” (1954), I came across a reference to a private army. On further research, I found that that the owner of the private army was referred to as “Yellow Horse”, and “Mosotho” by King Moshesh as long ago as the Third Basotho War.

You just have to see the 'nicks' given to South African schoolboys, some of which stick for their entire lives.

Thus the reader should note that the use of a 'nick' is nothing special, nor is it anything untoward in any way, and anybody who pretends that it is is just trying to make something out of, what I have written above to be quite mundane.

1 comment:

  1. Also see:

    1., and

    For the actual judgment, please see: