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Perrault who?

After a family viewing of one of Becky’s favorite childhood flicks, worldly person that she is, she made a whimsical reference to her high-school friends about being fond of a Russian dub of a Japanese take on a French fairly tale. When the name of the story came up, Puss in Boots, most of her friends reacted with, “You mean, the one from Shrek?” Nobody had ever heard of Charles Perrault.

After so many years of living in America, I still cringe when a fellow émigré would ridicule an average American’s view of world culture as being encompassed entirely by the American pop culture. Yet time and again I come across relatively unremarkable nuggets of proof that such ridicule is largely deserved. Being familiar with an iconic literary character solely on the basis of its latter-day appearance in a Hollywood movie speaks volumes about these kids’ – and, unfortunately, their parents’ – awareness of the world, culture and history beyond the American borders. Upsetting.


  1. Brian Greenberg

    <meekly raises hand in the back>

    If I had been there, I’m afraid, I’d have had the same reaaction as Becky’s friends. I mean, I knew Puss in Boots came from somewhere else (as does just about every character in Shrek), but I did not know from where…


  2. Ilya

    Yes, unfortunately, that reinforces my point. Even the best-educated Americans are fairly insulated from the culture that exists beyond American shores (with some exceptions regarding pop music and UK), unless it has been co-opted by Hollywood.

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