Kevin Swanson is being rather beastly over Beauty and the Beast, and for a different reason than the standard Christian zealot reason of “gay character”. Swanson is concerned with the promotion of inter-species breeding. Yep. Obviously, Mr. Swanson’s knowledge of how that whole breeding business works is deficient, but let’s take a look at La Belle et la Bête by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in 1740. The original work was more in line with a novella than a brief tale, and it was for adults, not children.
Villeneuve’s work is more novella than simple tale with its elaborate prose and numerous details, including stories told within stories. Her narrative is far from complete upon the Beast’s transformation into a man. Then we meet his mother and learn his backstory as well as Beauty’s own hidden history, for she is not the true daughter of a merchant, but a princess in disguise herself. All of this combines into an elaborate literary creation, not a traditionally truncated folktale. Villeneuve imagined new material, uniquely her own, while incorporating traditional folklore elements, many of which exist in the version we are most familiar with today. She writes about romantic love and marriage while exploring themes like women’s marital rights, although those themes are somewhat hidden in most English translations of the tale.
Two different English translations of Villeneuve’s tale are presented in this collection. The first one, by Ernest Dowson, was first published in 1908. It is one of the most accurate translations of Villeneuve’s content into English, including elements often changed or omitted in other translations. However, Dowson’s language is less ornate than Villeneuve’s and doesn’t capture the same essence as another favored translation, one by J. R. Planché, first published in 1858.
Planché’s translation includes footnotes by the present editor to show where he modified the text, changes he briefly touches upon in his comments to his Victorian audience. The changes, although small, are far from minor for they change an essential element of the tale. Instead of asking Beauty to marry him each night—a familiar refrain in modern versions of the story—the Beast asks Beauty, “May I sleep with you tonight?”
The question, while risqué, is not merely suggestive or erotic. It implies control and choice for Beauty over her own body and sexuality, something that was not legally hers or that of any woman who was handed over as property in marriage to a husband in centuries past. The Beast is no true beast since he never forces his physical desires upon her despite any rights implied by her presence in his home in what today may be considered a common law marriage, although the construct didn’t exist in Villeneuve’s time.
Another important change is in the Beast’s transformation scene. Beauty finally agrees to sleep with the Beast and marry him in the original Villeneuve. The Beast then sleeps beside her during the night, although no other activities beyond Beauty’s mysterious dreams are described. When she awakens the next morning, a man—one whom she has come to love in her dreams—is sleeping beside her instead of the Beast.
That, and more is from SurLaLune Fairytales. All of the above elevates the tale considerably from the versions which are familiar today, and it’s easy enough to figure out why Disney certainly wouldn’t touch upon such complexities. The Disney version is a simplified tale of love, with the requisite lesson about how appearances are not what matters, don’t judge a book by its cover, and so on. For Mr. Swanson, that’s quite bad enough, as somehow or another, along with the horrible effort to ‘homosexualize’ whole generations, claims the movie promotes ‘Inter-Species Breeding’, oh, the horror!
Swanson said that the movie was an “insidious” effort to “homosexualize the next generation of eight and ten-year-old kids” and ensure that they are “indoctrinated into the homosexual lifestyle.”
“This is how revolutions take place,” he said. “You are in the middle of a cultural revolution in the United States of America. No, this is not the cultural revolution that Mao Tse-tung brought to China; this is a different kind of cultural revolution, but I’m going to say it’s just about as dangerous … though a bit more insidious.”
Oooh, look at that nicely done twist into communism. You can’t have the gay without the commie in the christian version of the gay agenda. From what I understand, a minor character in the movie has a crush on his mean boss. This is hardly a gay version of Beauty and the Beast. (As the commonly known tale has little to do with the original these days, that would be a fun movie!) It’s not as though the current flick has become mandatory, and all people must have their eyelids taped open and have no choice but to watch it.
Even worse, Swanson said, the film is promoting inter-species breeding, which he said Hollywood has been pushing since the days of Star Trek.
“Christians, I don’t believe, can allow for this,” Swanson stated. “Humans are made in the image of God. Humans are assigned a spouse which happens to be a member of the opposite sex. Friends, God’s law forbids it … Christians should not allow for this, man. We cannot allow for humans to interbreed with other species. It’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s confusion, it’s unnatural.”
“We are in some of the most radical, most anti-biblical, the most immoral, the most unethical, the most wicked sexual environment that the world has ever known, right now,” he warned.
Star Trek? Oh my. Does the not very thoughtful Mr. Swanson not know that we don’t have a federation, starships, or zillions of extraterrestials around to get sexy with? Yes, I had one hell of a crush on Mr. Spock when I was 9 years old, it was those ears. Unfortunately for me, there weren’t any neato trips to Vulcan happening. Given the limitations of television back then, and the lack of imagination now, most all the aliens pictured were suitably humanoid, barely distinguishable from the bog standard human. Even so, there’s no inter-species breeding going on in the Star Trek sense.
Humans are assigned a spouse? So all that dating stuff is not necessary? You had better let people know where the ticket center is, so they can grab their god ticket and see who has been all lined up for them. I think the only confusion going on here is in the mind of Mr. Swanson, a steamy mess of muddle. After all, there really isn’t a beast in Beauty and the Beast, he’s a prince in disguise, remember? A human type prince. Everyone gets all human prior to the happily married business.
And we have a bonus facepalm today, in the form of Rick Wiles, who is now officially unhappy with the Tiny Tyrant over the Syria bombing. Mr. Wiles has now decided that the evil is in the form of Ms. Kushner and her husband:
Wiles went on to compare Ivanka with the daughter of Herod who, in Matthew 14, convinced her father to behead John the Baptist.
“That’s who I think Ivanka Trump is,” Wiles said. “She’s a Kabbala practicing, evil woman whispering evil things in the ear of her father. She’s going to the grave site of an old dead Kabbala practitioner and getting spirits telling her what to do … We have to pray against witchcraft in high places, witchcraft that plans to kill millions of people. … [Ivanka and Jared] are cleaning out the White House to surround President Trump with their Kabbala practitioners, and the only advice he is going to get will be from people who are evil. And the church is letting this happen.”
Oh my, now it’s a Jewish witch in the white house! I think it’s wars and bombs which are killing people, and it’s the Tiny Tyrant’s notion that it’s his military and his toys that are the actual problem.