Friday, February 22, 2008

20,000 Leagues of Gay Innuendo?

So, I'm suddenly feeling very far to the right today, which, I know, as a woman, and a lesbian, and a latina, and a democrat, is really not a very good thing.

But for Christmas, the kids received from their Mema some really great abridged versions of some classic novels, like Swiss Family Robinson, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Call of the Wild, and Heidi. And we've been reading a chapter or two every night since then, and have already made our way through the latter two, but a few nights ago we started on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which, I'm a little ashamed to admit, having received my degree in English and all, I have never actually read.

Anyway, I'm reading reading reading, and am finding myself feeling a little uncomfortable with the way certain sentences sound, with the visuals it conjures, with the eerily not-so-subtle sexual innuendo that I was totally unprepared to encounter. And, of course, the kids are oblivious, as was probably Jules Verne at the time he drafted it. But in the year 2008, it's really easy to make virtually anything sound sexual because of the overabundance of sexuality in our society.

[God, I totally sound like Tipper Gore, all of a sudden. Somebody please stop me.]

Plus is doesn't help that I've got Amy over there in the corner who, when I read something about one of the men helping another man cut off his clothing after they've been tossed overboard into the sea in order to help his swim better, is making eyes at me and going, "Mm-hmm!"

So, I guess I was just wondering if anyone remembers ever hearing any such implications of this particular book in the past. It's not going to prevent me from reading it to the kids -- because, like I said before, it just doesn't occur to them -- but I guess I'm just curious to know if it's not just me or if I've suddenly turned into Rush Limbaugh in my old age. Okay, maybe not old, but I'm gonna be forty! Well, not this year...and no time soon, but someday, dammit!!!

Any feelings out there - awkward or otherwise -- about this???


girlranting said...

Well, I read that book well over 15 years ago, and I read it in spanish (a close approximation to the original italian) and I never got the feeling anything was amiss, if you catch my drift.

Of course, I was young and VERY naive then, and didn't catch too many double meanings, but even so, I think this whole issue might be due to our over sexualizing everything in this day and age...

amazonfm said...

I think the key is context.
Although, having said that, what's a good bit of innuendo between friends?

saia and chago said...

Yeah, I agree with you both, actually. It was just a weird moment for me, I think. Must go burn my bra or something to feel liberated again.

Jo Anna