Today’s award goes to an Australian academic (?) who claims that the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk” is a metaphor for male sexual awakening. A tip o’ the hat to Australian correspondent Andrew for sending me the link.
When creative writing lecturer and author Claire Corbett first learned that the iconic fairytale Jack And The Beanstalk was one long extended metaphor about penises, she laughed.
“First off I thought, ‘Oh this is ridiculous,’” she told news.com.au.
“But then when I thought about it, I saw something in it.”
. . .
Child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim first pointed out that the beanstalk was symbolic of a phallus in the 1970s.
. . .
Corbett’s first piece of evidence is the title.
“It’s Jack And The Beanstalk. Not Jack And The Golden Harp or Jack And His Adventures In The Sky,” she said.
“That’s because the beanstalk is driving the action.
“If the beanstalk is maturing male sexuality then Jack And The Beanstalk is a story about male individuation and growing up.”
“Jack and his mother are living alone in the cottage. No dad,” Corbett said. “His mother tells him to sell their beloved cow at market because she’s not giving any more milk.
“Could there be a clearer image of a post-menopausal woman? No more fertility, no more mummy’s milk.
“She’s dried up. Jack is understandably upset by this. He’s being asked to cut a childhood tie to his mother.”
There’s more at the link (if you can stand to read such drivel).
That’s what happens when academics (?) analyze something in the light of modern fads and foibles, instead of going back to their origins and analyzing them in the light of the times from which they sprang. “Jack and the Beanstalk” originates in the late 1700’s. I doubt very much whether its original author had even the slightest inkling of male sexual awakening as a “thing”, much less tried to write a literary metaphor about it!
(As for Bruno Bettelheim, I note that “Much of his work was discredited after his death due to fraudulent academic credentials, allegations of abusive treatment of patients under his care, accusations of plagiarism, and lack of oversight by institutions and the psychological community.” Why am I not surprised to read that? Indeed, if the above article’s citation of his theories is any indication, all I can say is “No s***, Sherlock!”)
This is simply nonsensical. It’s a politically correct fairy tale all of its own. I’d expect any self-respecting institution of higher education to immediately fire this “lecturer”, and ensure that she never again works in education at all, at any level. Sadly, in today’s politically correct world, that probably won’t happen. Instead, she’ll be given the chair of a newly established Faculty of Fairy Tale Analysis, and win a Nobel Prize for a post-doctoral thesis on “The Carnal Implications of a Wolf Blowing your House Down“.