Glitz, Glamour, and the Green Light: Pulling Back the Curtain on The Great Gatsby.

What Ho, Wee Readers, and welcome to another rant… I mean well thought out think piece. If you’ve been here before, you should know how this goes by now – so let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Speaking of ride, you know what book I’ve just finished…The Great Gatsby. I know those two things aren’t related but I had no segway into this part of the post, and I didn’t want to wait around and think of a proper one.

Anyway, getting back on topic ; The Great Gatsby is a book written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, first published in 1925. It is considered, I am told, as one of the great classics of American Literature. And held up in many an English course, as a master of the literary device. I will ruin what should have been the conclusion of my post, by stating here, that it is not a very good book.

Yes, shocking isn’t it – this great “masterpiece” is in actuality a boring, highly convoluted story of the death of a criminal. Full of boring, very shallowly written characters.

But please, let me explain before you raise your pitchforks.

Part the First: Pretty Pros, Do Not a Good Story Make

I’m not denying that in certain ways, the Great Gatsby is a very well written book. It’s pros after all are beautiful, having an almost hypnotic quality to them when listened to in audio form.

However I would ask my Wee readers to look past that, past the gentle rhythm of those phrases, to what they’re actually saying. What is the story of the Great Gatsby? Aplogies for any spoilers ahead.

Our Narrator Nick, moves into a small cottage right beside the mansion of the “mysterious” Jay Gatsby, who throws wild parties every single night. I mean he sounds like the worst kind of neighbor to me, but like I don’t think Nick seems to mind. He’s much too busy congratulating himself over his own “honesty” and “virtue” to really hear the din anyway. These partieas are apparently so wild that you can just turn up and you’ll be let in, no invitation needed. In fact most if not all the guest weren’t invited, only Nick, at his little cabin, recives an invitation.

I’m going to speed past this bit as quickly as I can, as that’s how bored I am now right now. So bear with me. Turns out Gatsby is in love with Nick’s cousin Daisy, who lives across the lake with her rich husband and child, and all the parties he’s thrown have been to catch her attention. Nick agrees to basically set up a date with the two of them, and they begin an affair.

But don’t worry, before you start to think that something morally questionable is going on , let me assure you, Daisy’s husband is a racist arsehole. Of course this is a book published in 1925, about elite American society, so basically all the characters are that. But it’s somehow supposed to be different with him.

He’s also having an affair with a mechanic’s wife, which is viewed as a bad thing he’s doing – which to be fair, it is – but it’s fine when Daisy does it apparently. Anyway a lot of confusing faffing around in each other’s cars later, Daisy accidentally runs over Tom’s mistress but because of some car swapping shinaggings, everyone thinks it’s Gatsby instead. So the mistress’s husband shoots him and most people don’t even bother to show up to his funeral.

And that’s it, stripped of all its pretty prose and liquistic tricks, that is the story of the great Gatsby. A sad, convoluted tale of a criminal’s pointless murder. Okay, I’ve throughly depressed myself, onto the next part.

Part the Second: The Green Light and the Literary Device

But wait, I hear you say – isn’t The Great Gatsby famous for its ingenious use of literary devices? The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, symbolically embodying Jay Gatsby’s undying love, desperation, and inability to fully achieve the American dream? Yes, I will give you that, it’s an ingenious use of a literarily device – for if we’re too busy staring into that startlingly green light, we don’t see anything it’s hiding. We don’t examine whether that love is more a reflection of Gatsby’s yearning for wealth and position than it is any real affection for Daisy. We don’t look at the depths that desperation has led him too, or how skewd this version of the American dream really is.

If we’re looking too hard into the light, into the deeper meaning behind it, and patting ourselves on the back for how clever we are for spotting it, we don’t see that the author has twisted himself up so hard trying to make Gatsby’s death a tragedy, that he’s accidentally made it a contrived aubserdity. Really it’s a work of genius on Fitzgerald’s part, it’s a pity he didn’t use any of that genius to write a better book in the first place.

Part the Third: The (2013) Adaptation, and it’s Genius

So if we were to look for a good adaptation of this book, this literary classic what we should really be looking for is not one that keeps strictly to every wobbly plot point of the original. No what we need is one that keeps to the spirit of the book. To the showmanship and illusion of the green light and the elegant pros of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.

To me, ignorant pion that I am, that film will always be the 2013 adaption, staring Leonardo Decapreo. But wait I hear the snobs in the back of the room cry, isn’t that a bad adaption? Isn’t it too flashy and over stylised, saturated with modern music and a casting more concerned with big names than actually capability? Well, I can’t say you’re wrong on all accounts – though as for Gatsby I’d argue stunt casting or a big name of some kind was the only way to make the character work to a modern audience – that’s not my argument here. No my point is that like the book before it, this film uses it bright colours, it’s stylised editing, it’s banging soundtrack and let’s face it , it’s big named casting to hide that it’s still telling the same kind of bland, convoluted story of a man getting killed because he was in the wrong car at the wrong time, that the book left behind.

I mean it works, arguably even better than the book’s tricks – I really enjoyed this film. The song “Young and Beutiful” makes Gatsby’s and Daisy’s affair seem deep and meaningful, even though honestly it’s anything but on either side.

Though if you’re still determined to watch a more honest interpretation of The Great Gatsby, might I recommend The Family Guy Adaption?

So that’s my take on The Great Gatsby, a strange and convoluted story, ending in a strange and covulted death. Hidden under layers of tricks and bright green lights. But maybe you saw more to it than I did, if so tell me down below in the comments – it’s why I have them in the first place.

If you’ve enjoyed this trashing of an American classic, why not follow the Wee Blog if you haven’t already. And check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Mastodon, Pinterest, Tumblr, TikTok, Facebook and Kofi. Also remember to sign up for the Wee Mailing List before April 5th for my first feelings on three great works of literature. Until next time, Wee Readers, keep safe and have a very Bonny day.

The Wee Archive – Attack of the Star Wars Critic

What Ho Wee Readers, and welcome to another addition of The Wee Archive, this time in Star Wars flavour. Remember to sign up to the Wee Mailing List, to receive stuff like this all the sooner.

The Royal Election – or the Stupidest Criticism of the Prequel Trilogy that has or will ever exist in this world.

The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy gets a lot of flak from the wider pop culture lexicon, doesn’t it? For a long while a hatred of the three film fall of Anakin Skywalker was assumed as the default, by people both in and out of the fandom. And while they have received a bit of a boost in popularity since the sequel Trilogy came out and showed us all what an actual bad Star Wars trilogy looks like, it would be difficult to say that that hatred just up and vanished into nothing. Everything from the comedic side character of Jar Jar Binks to the heavier focus on political intrigue, has been criticised and made fun of.

And honestly, I can’t fault that…not because I agree with it, I don’t. But if someone did find the political talk too complicated to understand, or found Jar Jar Binks kind of humour grating, that would certainly spoil a lot of the films for you. Same goes for the acting, the direction or even the CGI. If that bothered someone, then yes that would make the prequel films, bad Star Wars films for that person. I may think that person is wrong, but their logic is sound. If it bothered you, then that criticism is at least partly valid.

But you know what criticism never is?

Queen Amidala was elected, that’s so unrealistic.

I’m seen this thrown around a lot on the internet, both as a ‘legitimate criticism’ and as throwaway line and it always really annoyed me. Especially because when fans of the prequel fire back in its defense, it’s almost always with the same retour; that some countries do elect their monarchy. 

Because here’s the truth of the matter…we’re talking about Star Wars here. The franchise that is set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…why are we trying to match them to our one planet society at all? Oh, royalty isn’t supposed to be elected in your world view, random person on the internet…you do realise you’re watching a space opera, right? I mean these are films set in the world where entire planets are treated more like countries – or states if you’re American – and artificial intelligence is somehow so widespread that it’s become boring and mundane. .

 This has been something that has really bothered me for years, but I always figured it was something people said when they ran out of anything else to gripe about the prequels. Like, yeah you may think the CGI is obnoxious but apparently so did everybody else on the internet, and it’s really not interesting anymore. So, the would-be critic looks around and spots another little flaw that perhaps hasn’t been talked about quite as much. And there, we have a brand-new thing to whine about. Which would be…well…not fine…but at least I could follow the logic. No one wants their voice to be lost in the crowd. But here’s the thing, it’s the response from the prequel fans, that same response done time and time again, that threw me. Because if you’re arguing against a completely nit-picky critique that doesn’t actually say anything about the film’s quality, why is your response to nit-pick right back. Why does it matter if some people on earth elect their monarchy? Star Wars isn’t set on earth, why engage with that kind critique at all? And then a horrible thought accrued to me, a horrible depressing thought. It’s not about critiquing or defending Star Wars at all. It’s about making ourselves look smarter than the other side.

As I said at the start of this now that I’m looking back quite bitter sounding rant, it was a popular thing to bash the Prequel trilogy. In a sense it made you look like you were smarter than others. Jar Jar Binks was too low brow for these critiques, and the forced love plot point was silly. Okay, I’ve kind known there was a bit of self-congratulating about hating the prequels for a few years now, so no surprise there. But then we have the flip side of the argument, and honestly, I can’t say that fans of the prequels are any less guilty of this intellectual posturing. Yeah, even me when I was much younger – it’s fun to think that the people that whine about the politics in the prequel films, just weren’t smart enough to understand it, but honestly the truth is that it’s just not true. Whether you liked something or not is not a mark of your intelligence, it’s not even really a mark of your morality – it’s just a random fact.

Thus, what can we conclude? Well, maybe there will always be people that hate the prequel trilogy – we may think they’re wrong but that doesn’t automatically make them stupid. And vice versa, just because someone loves the prequels doesn’t make them an idiot or a nostalgia obsessed baby. Thus perhaps, just perhaps, we should stop trying to trip each other up with nit-picks that say nothing about the series we’re watching at all. And finally, if there really is someone out there that found the fact that a space opera had a minor different political system to what is considered normal on earth, so awful that it ruined the film for them…maybe they shouldn’t be watching Star Wars.

If you’ve enjoyed this Wee rant of mine don’t forget to check out the original post , and follow the Wee Blog if you haven’t already. Also check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Facebook, and Tumblr. And if you really enjoyed this post why not stop by my Ko-fi page to buy me a wee cup of coffee.