Stupid Tuesday questions, Franz Kafka edition


Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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61 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Humbert Humbert seems like a good place to start. I’m sure it’ll go downhill from there.Report

  2. Avatar Johanna says:

    Well a recognizable horror to children that jumps out to me immediately is he who should not be named.Report

  3. Avatar Pinky says:

    Don’t know how it goes downhill from Humbert Humbert, unless we’re going for someone who would be more startling. Is Watchmen considered literature? Because a giant blue glowing penis guy would be very disconcerting.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I’m confident that Mickey Mouse transforming into Minnie Mouse would drive certain segments of the population absolutely batty.Report

  5. Avatar Patrick says:

    The child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang would be both “of genre” and wildly inappropriate at the same time.

    Come to think of it, why Disney doesn’t tap the Villain’s List for Halloween has long made me wonder.

    Off-childhood lit genre, you can always toss in a vote for Cthulhu.Report

  6. Avatar NewDealer says:

    For a more haunting answer:

    The governess from the Turn of the Screw.Report

  7. Avatar Bert The Turtle says:

    Although it’s not really a character per se, the bear from “A Winter’s Tale” would be an appropriately inappropriate ursine counterpart to Winnie.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Bert The Turtle says:

      Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction.

      The Winter’s Tale is my favorite play by Shakespeare so it makes me a bit sad that most people seem to know this stage direction from the play and little else. It is good but only a small part of an entirely wonderful and entirely strange and not frequently produced play. The geeky love for the stage direction does the play injustice.Report

      • Avatar Bert The Turtle in reply to NewDealer says:

        I must admit that although I actually did read the play in college (or maybe I just skimmed it), the only thing that stuck with me was the stage direction. I suspect that I was focusing more on my engineering classes when we covered the play, but it may have also been during one of the semesters when I was just lazy.Report

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    Melmoth the Wanderer.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chris says:

      Elric of Meliborne, Ffard and the Grey Mouser, Torak and his disciples Cthulick, Zedar, and Urvon along with the mad King of the Murgoes Taur Urgos and his red gold armor.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Oh, I don’t know any of those, but they all sound deliciously evil.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        The only really evil ones are the latter ones. Torak was the antagonist in David Eddings’ The Belgariad, a mad God that demanded devotion in the form of horrific human sacrifices. He wore an iron mask to cover his deeply scared face. Cthulick, Zedar, and Urvon were his disciples. Taur Urgos was a berserk mad man that delighted in battle and dipped his armor in red gold to make it look like he was covered in blood.

        Elric, Ffard, and the Grey Mouser are anti-heroes and very self-interested but aren’t exactly evil. Still not kid appropriate.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Ah. Melmoth was sort of the devil’s errand boy. He’d sold his soul to the devil for immortality and certain supernatural powers, and the only way he could get rid of his curse was to get someone else to take his place, so he traveled around trying to convince people who were down on their luck, say, to sign the papers. The problem was, the moment he stepped into town, everyone knew he was the embodiment of evil, and they shunned him.

        The book is wonderful, though.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Fafhrd and Gray Mouser were rougishly charming!Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        And charmingly roughish.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq says:

        “The name is Fafhrd.”


        “No, there’s a silent ‘h’.”

        Chris, if you don’t know Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, that’s more books to buy. At least find collections that include Ill Met in Lankhmar, Lean Times in Lankhmar, and The Bazaar of the Bizarre. I wrote about the F&GM stories here.Report

  9. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I think nobody mentioned the obvious answer. The most disturbing change would be to replace the Disney versions of characters with the actual literary characters that they are based on. Get rid of all the bowlderization that Disney needed to do to make these stories child friendly for today’s kids. Disney Hercules becomes the more violent and randy badass Heracles. Cute, cudly Quasimodo becomes the more tormented Victor Hugo one, etc.Report

  10. Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

    First thing that came to mind is Frankenstein’s monster, though I’m not sure how desensitized kids are these days to him.

    From a different angle, my non-literary choice would be Richard Stallman.Report

  11. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I was starting to think bout the question when I glanced at the very first comment by @burt-likko. Then I figured, what’s the point?

    Game, set, and match on the very first response.Report

    • That was a name that came up early in our game, too.

      But I’m still waiting for another.Report

      • I sort of thought that Humbert Humbert wouldn’t end the discussion, either. We get to know him from his own mind, and he doesn’t consider himself a monster or a villain even as he knows he will be perceived that way.

        So what could be worse? How could the costume be more inappropriate than the horror of seeing your child embraced by a man who thinks sexual congress with a child is an appropriate way to express love? That would scare the crap out of me were I a parent.

        Another way might the visceral impact of seeing Gregor Samsa, the giant cockroach, embracing a child. Certainly that would be worse than, say, Quasimodo or the Phantom of the Opera (the ones from literature, not the more recent and benign depictions).

        There may be a third way, but I haven’t thought of it yet.Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        a man who thinks sexual congress with a child is an appropriate way to express love?

        To be fair, HH was interested in 14-year-olds, not 4-year-olds.Report

      • That will be of great solace to the parent, I’m sure.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        I was always under the impression that HH only felt that way about one girl, not all. Then again I haven’t read it in 20 years.Report

      • Avatar Rose Woodhouse in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        HH felt it for 9-15 year olds or so, fell in love for the first time since he was a kid with LH, took up with her at 15, saw her again at 20, and it was clear the magic had gone.Report

  12. Avatar dexter says:

    The first image that came to mind was a Vogon reciting poetry.Report

  13. Avatar Glyph says:

    You go to Cinderella’s castle, but find Cersei and Joffrey holding court there. You turn to flee, and the clown selling balloons outside the portcullis trips you with his giant shoe.

    He’s Pennywise.Report

  14. Avatar kenB says:

    Honey Boo-boo?Report

  15. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    Actually, you came with two brilliants that I can think of.Report

  16. Avatar James Hanley says:

    The Judge, from Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, a 7 foot tall man without any bidy hair at all, who kills, probably after raping, a young child.Report

  17. I like Vincent D’Onofrio as Edgar the Bug, but I realize that’s cheating…

    Same goes for Fek’lhr:

    Anything from Stephen King is fish in barrels…

    Can we have a hint?Report

  18. Avatar Pinky says:

    I don’t care if it breaks the rules, I want to see Ash from the Evil Dead movies incorporated into the Disney theme park experience.Report

  19. So these are all good suggestions, but I submit that nothing beats Medea.Report

  20. Avatar Kim says:

    Oddman 7.
    Really, most any of the oddmen would do, but the combination of nudity with *spoiler* *spoiler* would be rather frightening.Report