Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Happens When Classic Literary Characters Go Digital?

Laura Miller, "The ill-fated matchmaking and meddling of Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse, for example, was seamlessly updated to include cellphones in the 1995 movie 'Clueless.' Of course, an Emma transposed to 2010 would have a field day with Facebook, nudging acquaintances to friend each other and forming little groups like 'People Who Have Heard Quite Enough in Praise of Jane Fairfax,' to the dismay of Mr. Knightley. Can anyone doubt that if Holden Caulfield were around today he'd have a blog? He practically invented the blog, five decades before the things existed! As for James Joyce's Stephen Dedalus: He'd have a Tumblr. Would it necessarily detract from 'Moby-Dick' if Ahab implanted a GPS chip in the white whale, and couldn't Iago have spread doubt and suspicion even more insidiously as an anonymous Internet commenter? Scarlett O'Hara could have bypassed that loveless marriage to Frank Kennedy and financed the restoration of Tara by using the project as the premise for a reality TV show. That would be just like her -- and the dress made out of old curtains would still play."