Saturday, July 11, 2015

Atticus Fett

Just so we're clear, Gregory Peck's character in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird was not secretly in the Klan. I think we should all keep that in mind when everyone freaks out about Harper Lee's recently re-discovered novel Go Set a Watchman which comes out next week and sets fire to everybody's cherished memories of Mockingbird.
That said, his character in The Boys from Brazil was totally Josef Mengele.
The less said about Mocking Bird 3:
Scout's Honor
, the better...
If you haven't heard already, the internet is throwing a nutty over the startling revelation that in Lee's new/old novel, Atticus Finch is a racist. Like a Jim Crow law-loving, white sheet-wearing ultrabigot. Holy shit, right? But don't worry, the thing is that while Go Set a Watchman is sort of a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, it's also totally not a sequel at all. Confused? That's because you clearly don't read enough X-Men comics, but try and follow along anyway. Harper Lee wrote Watchman first, but her publisher didn't like it and asked her to re-work some flashback scenes as a stand-alone novel. Blamo, To Kill a Mocking is one of the most loved American novels of all time and Go Set a Watchman sat in a drawer somewhere for the last half century.

This is why you think that.
Let it go, it never happened.
Then last year, Harper Lee's lawyer stumbled upon the Go set a Watchman manuscript and persuaded her to publish. The author insisted that the book be published as is, that is, with no further edits or changes so what's coming out next week isn't a follow-up, but more like a rough draft. Will it be any good? Early reviews are mixed, but then I'm not sure anything could possibly live up to the expectations set by Mockingbird. It's sort of like how every few months someone brings up the idea that Richard Donner is doing a sequel to The Goonies. It's like-huh? No, there wasn't already a Goonies sequel. Trust me. What I'm trying to say is that no matter how well intended, there's always going to be like a 99.9% likelihood that Goonies 2: Sloth Loves Chunk would be a tremendous let down.

Which is to say, it's bullshit.
Anyway, back to the soul-crushing revelation that Atticus Finch was really a Kloset Klansman all these years. It's important to remember that Go Set a Watchman is not a sequel and good or no, the main reason it's seeing the light of day at all is that To Kill a Mockingbird is a tremendously important work to millions of people around the world. Think of it as bonus material or Expanded Universe Star Wars. It is, at best, semi-canonical and about as validly a part of Mockingbird's narrative world as Boba Fett clawing his way out of the Sarlacc is a part of Return of the Jedi's. Just remember that the Atticus Finch of Watchman is not the same character we know and the novel represents some weird alternate reality from that of Mockingbird.

See, and this is where it helps to be a nerd. A lifetime of following the convoluted fictional multiverses of things like comic books and sci-fi make us uniquely equipped to deal with Go Set a Watchman. The racist Fitch of Watchman is like parallel universe evil Spock with a goatee and you should just keep repeating to yourself that he's not the same guy.
Try not to think about it too hard. The important thing to remember
is that in some other dimension, I came up with a really good analogy.

No comments:

Post a Comment