Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Was Peter Pan a murderer?

by Brittany Geragotelis

photo credit: Disney
Okay, okay, so maybe Peter Pan didn't kill any of the lost boys (imagine the story if he had—maybe a little Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games I suppose), but police are thinking his creator might have. Cops recently found the mummified corpses of two infants in the basement of an L.A. apartment building. The bodies, which were hidden in a trunk embossed with the initials JMB, were discovered wrapped up in newspapers from the '30s, alongside a membership to the Peter Pan Club in the name of Jean M. Barrie. The name of the Scottish author who penned Peter Pan? That would be James M. Barrie.

Coincidence or conspiracy?

Dealing with the death of children is never easy, but the fact that the same guy who invented the tale of the boy who refused to grow up might also be the one who prevented others to do the same is more than a little creepy. The police are investigating whether this was a crime or if the Peter Pan author was even involved at all. They're hoping that DNA testing and the clues left behind in the trunk will help investigators close this cold case.

But suppose they find that James Barrie did have something to do with the deaths of these two infants...will that change the way people view this beloved story? Would parents still choose to read this fairytale (if that's what it is) to their children, given its back story? Or would the sensationalism that our society seems to feed on send consumers flocking to the stores to pick up their copies? And in that case, how much longer would it be before someone wrote a tell-all entitled, The Peter Pan Murders?

Then again, history (and a few cursed authors) have already painted a much darker picture of Barrie, and Peter Pan still managed to make it past Disney's censors.

What do you think? Would a scandal like this hurt or help Barrie's sales?



Michelle said...

Peter Pan's a classic, something so well-established it would be akin to ripping out your...liver? Terrible metaphor, but I meant that it would be extremely hard.

Respect the art for the artist, or for the art itself?

Logically, not too hard to chose the right answer. ;) Emotionally, however, is a completely different story.