In Regards to
Esther Friesner's Death Swatch
17 February 1999
This story of the evil Grim Lord's betrothel the beautiful Minuriel could be viewed as a contest between dictatorship and femininity. But should it? Wouldn't the simpler course to take be that of cliche'd evil confronted by a cliche'd interior decorator?Why complicate a simple explanation? If you want to preach your philosophy, have the guts to say it's your philosophy and don't ascribe it to an innocent auther.
Minuriel may have had JAP (Jewish American Princess) qualities, but I would not classify her as a JAP. At no time in the story is Minuriel explicitly said to be Jewish and only someone already familia with Jewish culture might view her as one. How can we argue that it perpetuates a dangerous stereotype when it only preachs that stereotype to the flock that already believes it?
It was interesting how Friesner introduced the corporate world to fantasy land. She was not unique for this, but it remains a fun literary device.
Was Uncle Oriel's Quick Fix Elixir really a foreshadow of viagra? Though the drug may have the same implications, I'd sooner just accept the remark as a bawdy joke based on the idea of magick and perhaps some proposed remedies more contemporary to the story itself.
As for the picnic. I'm not sure what to make of it. While I will admit it could be pushed as a metaphor for fast food culture, my gut instinct is to deny such simply because it's not obvious and it's not necessary. I thought it was more a variation on Monty Python's scene of the Inquisition and the comfy chair with soft pillows. Not a political statement, but just a bit of surrealism.
I thought it was interesting how Friesner refered to the bride's family as Orthodox and the groom's as Reformed. Beyond merely being more references to Judaism, I was wondering whether it is significant that good was paired with Orthodox and evil with Reformed? While I could build an argument saying why it might be intentional, without further evidence I'm inclined to let it pass rather than venture my idle speculation upon the work.