DIRTBAG LITTLE WOMEN
what are you doing in Father’s office
all the time?
[JO kicks her steel-toed boots
onto the desk]
JO: writin smut
wanna read it
MEG: all right
we’re off to the play with
JO: don’t wait up
AMY: can I come too?
JO: don’t be ridiculous
AMY [whispering]: I’m going to burn what you
love and marry your boyfriend
AMY: have such a fun time
at the play
[MEG runs into the room]
MEG: I’m getting married!
(JO is idly poking at the ashes in the
MEG: Jo, did you hear me? Mr. Brooke
proposed to me and I accepted him!
[JO draws a dick in the ashes]
JO: I heard you
JO: has anyone seen
saw a fire that looked an awful
lot like your manuscript though
[The girls are ice skating on
AMY: i’m tired
i’m tired and this sucks
take me home
[Amy falls through the ice]
AMY: HELP ME
cant hear you
AMY: CHRIST I’M DROWNING
JO: let me know if you see my manuscript
[JO skateboards over LAURIE's head]
JO: I got your note
you’re not my boyfriend
JO: I got a haircut
what do you think
AMY: oh, Jo!
how could you
your one beauty
[JO climbs into AMY's room late one night
and begins to shave her head]
JO [whispering]: Oh, no, Amy
how could you?
your one beauty
[JO draws a mustache under AMY's nose]
AMY: who did this
JO: who did what
JO: you dont look any different to me
LAURIE: oh, Jo
please marry me
LAURIE: but why
[JO strikes a match on LAURIE's chin and
lights her cigar with it]
JO: because that’s exactly what they’ll be
LAURIE: who is ‘they’?
[JO slowly rollerblades offscreen without
MEG: Beth is dead!
JO: Oh, my God.
MARMEE: No, no –
AMY: can I have her room
MEG: Oh, my God.
may I have her room
I want to tell you exactly why I find this so sickening.
I found it, of course, on Facebook. All the comments
were screamingly positive. Everyone found it hilariously
funny, irreverant, etc. etc.The implication was, if you don't
find it funny you're un-hip,probably old, and don't
understand contemporary satire.
When it comes to satire, I've seen piles of horseshit
that are funnier and wittier than this. This thing sends up one
of my favorite books from girlhood, a book that has been
made into a movie at least three times (most recently with
Winona Ryder as Jo, an unlikely choice - but hey,
we also have the very dishy Gabriel Byrne as her love
interest, Professor Bhaer).
Aside from my horse stories, this was my favorite
book in childhood. Like Anne of Green Gables, Little
Women was set in another time, an era when people made
their own entertainment and pleasures were simpler.
While waiting for their sainted father to return from the Civil
War, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy took part in boisterous yet
highly literate activities such as the Pickwick
Club, which implied they all knew how to read. (The
screamers here probably don't get much farther than
Cosmopolitan.) The characters were well-developed, and in spite
of the quaint setting and manners, all believably human. How do I
know this? After seeing the June Allyson version on TCM, I recently
downloaded the manuscript from Gutenberg and read it again.
This is a very well-written book, with shades and
nuances beyond anything you see in children's literature
today. In a way, it's far too good for girls. The people making
these vulgar comments (yes, vulgar, though I could use a worse
term) probably have not read Little Women at all, but have
only seen the latest movie version. Even in the 1960s, which
seem like a great literary flowering compared to the scorched
earth of today, there were many references that sailed over my
head, such as Apollyon and Vanity Fair (NOT the magazine!).
These were references to John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress:
not a jolly book by our standards, but a classic with great literary
depth. Meaning: intellectual depth, which seems to have
virtually vanished in today's shallow and virtually illiterate world.
Much is made of the feminist nature of Jo March's matriarchal
household (which is loosely based on Louisa May Alcott's
and while Marmee does insist her girls be educated
(apparently, by an early form of home-schooling, or they surely
would not be reading John Bunyan), she also tutors them on the
value of never speaking when angry. In fact, when very angry,
women were expected to leave the room, a baffling instruction
in a day when everyone speaks their mind even if they don't
Though I can see where it's coming from - I'm not THAT much
of a fossil - Dirtbag Little Women is not a funny piece. It is lousy
satire, without even a glimmer of originality or wit.We won't
even get into the implied lesbian stereotypes embodied by the
butch-ish Jo.True satire has an underlying respect for its
"target", which adds an extra dimension, somehow makes
it funnier. It isn't just primitive spitting, mocking and throwing
mud and shit at a classic that millions of people once cherished,
loved and learned from.
In short, this is a cheap shot.
I don't even know if girls read Little Women any more.
They are much more likely to read the scummyand unfunny
Dirtbag version, which is both sad and shocking.
I'm not saying we should adhere to the quaint morals of the
Civil War era, in which even the most liberated family adhered
to a strict moral code we can never understand. But can't we
keep a modicum of respect for writing of this depth, writing
that until recently has stood the test of time? Is it all getting lost?
What is wrong with these people? Why do I feel so alone in this,
why does everyone shriek and guffaw their approval in the
comments? "OMG, ROTFL, I HATED this book and I'm so
glad you fucking trashed it." Some of us aren't so glad.
It dismays me, not so much
that someone would rip this thing into bleeding pieces but that
the jackals of conformity would so quickly swarm the carcass,
eager to display their hipness with their shrieking
I used to think human beings were herd animals,
but now I realize they flock like chickens or even run in packs,
as surely as jackals or wolves.Almost no one has any individual
courage any more. It makes me sick and fills me with despair.
Sure, go ahead and eviscerate a classic, make it "hip" and "funny"
and distance yourself in the most cowardly manner possible.
That way, you won't even have to form a real opinion.
Pack animals don't have to think: in fact, in the
grand scheme of things, it's better if they don't. It's
one of the immutable facts of nature. Don't think for yourself.
Don't even THINK of thinking for yourself. Just follow the leader.