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Light Blogging, “Beauty & the Beast” and Carl Jung

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 12:27 am - August 17, 2005.
Filed under: Blogging,Mythology and the real world

As I have been quite busy working on two papers for my graduate program in mythology, I have not be able to blog as regularly as I would like this week. This evening, I completed the first draft of a paper for my class in Folklore and Fairy Tales, an essay attempting an archetypal interpretation of “Beauty and the Beast.” Much as I love the Disney version, as I read older versions of the tale, I realized how much it had strayed from those “classic” versions of the story. For example, it was an evil fairy who had cursed the dashing prince to live in beastly form — and not (as in the film) a beautiful enchantress masquerading as an ugly old woman trying to teach a lesson to a “spoiled, selfish and unkind” young man.

The Disney movie does offer a power message about learning to see with the heart and about one’s ability to change, to overcome one’s faults, but in straying from the various fairy tales, the film alters the story’s original meaning.

I have just begun to outline and write my second paper for my class in Jungian Depth Psychology and as I prepare to write on individuation, I again came across a letter a patient wrote to Carl Jung which he included in his “Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower” in Volume 13 of his Collected Works. Reading that letter fourteen years ago (in a book on Jung by the celebrated British psychiatrist Anthony Storr) helped me overcome my doubts about accepting my feelings for men and so helped spring the proverbial closet door. I thought I would share this powerful passage with y’all:

Out of evil, much good has come tome. By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive, and by accepting reality-taking things as they are, and not as I wanted them to be-by doing all this, unusual knowledge has come to me, and unusual powers as well, such as I could never have imagined before. I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them. So now I intend to play the game of life, being receptive to whatever comes to me, good and bad, sun and shadow forever altering, and, in this way, also accepting my own nature with its positive and negative sides. Thus everything becomes more alive to me. What a fool I was! How I tried to force everything to go according to the way I thought it ought to!

Perhaps it will have an effect on some of you similar to the one it had on me. And perhaps later, I will write a little more about how these words changed my life.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest):



  1. Personally, I was cheezed off that Belle ended up with Sponge Cake Blond Pants (né The Beast) rather than bad-boy hairy-Bear Gaston.


    Comment by Throbert McGee — August 17, 2005 @ 1:54 am - August 17, 2005

  2. Gaston: This is the day your dreams come true.
    Belle: What do you know about my dreams, Gaston?
    Gaston: Plenty! Here, picture this… a rustic hunting lodge… my latest kill roasting on the fire… and my little wife, massaging my feet… while the little ones play on the floor with the dogs… we’ll have six or seven.
    Belle: Dogs?
    Gaston: No, Belle! Strapping boys, like me!
    Belle: Imagine that.

    Comment by EMT907 — August 17, 2005 @ 6:02 am - August 17, 2005

  3. The Disney version holds a special place in my heart. The fraternity I was in while at school, performed the songs of Disney for Songfest, (singing/performing competion, akin to musical theatre medelys) to include several from Beauty and the Beast, which was a hit with the ladies in the audience. We won and received (and might I say accepted) many accolades from the women, and for a straight guy, that was great. Our token gay in the house enjoyed the attention, even though his door swung the other way. 🙂 Oh man, the women loved it!

    On a serious note; Dan, what you posted is expressed in many traditions. Some people pray for God to give them the stength to change what they can, accept what they can’t, and possess the wisdom to know the difference. We all have to make that journey, accepting what comes to us and processing it with the fullest understanding possible. I just hope I have gained enough wisdom to do just that.

    Comment by HCN — August 17, 2005 @ 10:12 am - August 17, 2005

  4. Out of evil, much good has come tome.
    Is it true evil or simply denial?
    I believe the key to the cite is acceptance.
    And I think that the Cocteau version made with his creamy, dreamy hunk of a boyfriend Jean Marais, is my idea of Jungian archetypes.
    (I understand both were quite well Jung.)

    Comment by chandler in hollywood — August 17, 2005 @ 10:48 am - August 17, 2005

  5. Dan,

    Very beautiful post !

    Self-acceptance is the most important thing someone can do for themselves. Jung is saying that once you are yourself, you soul becomes alive. The last sentence from Jung (about forcing everything) is also key, because many of us are trying to force things based on what society wants us to think how things should be. Becoming our true selves allows us to really live (and not simply be breathing). Amen to that !

    The Beauty and the Beast (movie version) connection is good too. The scene I remember best is after the Beast is turned back into a prince, Belle is not sure who she sees. The prince says it is him (the former Beast), but not until she looks into his eyes does she realize it is the one she loves. No matter how he changed, she was still able to look inside and see the real him (Beast/prince).

    Once again a very lovely post … Thanks 🙂

    Comment by Wendy — August 17, 2005 @ 12:24 pm - August 17, 2005

  6. Interesting post. It sheds some light on the cultural disconnect I feel with GPW’s brand of “conservatism.”

    As a child I was always given real children’s literature with real illustrations and was raised to view Disney as quite the fraud and huskster. Disney marketed false traditions to insecure and vain parents. Prudery as wholesomeness. Simplicity and sentiment instead of complexity and art.

    Comment by anon — August 17, 2005 @ 3:14 pm - August 17, 2005

  7. How about another perspective on being gay?

    The Disney version is as idealized as Beauty and the Beast* but what about the Hunchback of Notre Dame? A story of a man whose been conditioned all his life to think that’s he’s a freakish abberation to be tolerated instead of loved. It takes the compassion of a beautiful gypsy, ostracized like himself, to realize that being normal isn’t the same thing as being beautiful or worthy.

    * I highly recommend you buy the track cut from the movie “Human Again,” available on iTunes, which was integrated into the stage musical. Angela Landsbury, who I had the good fortune to meet, is such a nice woman. Hard to picture her as the vamp in one of my all time favorites “The Harvey Girls.”

    Comment by Gay Cowboy Bob — August 17, 2005 @ 3:23 pm - August 17, 2005

  8. Anon, I am befuddled as to how this post sheds light on the “cultural disconnect” you feel with my brand of conservatism.

    While I wouldn’t be as harsh as you about Disney, I do regret the way it has changed some of the fairy tales. Complexity does not always make for good art. Indeed, some of the very best fairy tales are characterized by their simplicity. And sentiment is a good thing so long as it doesn’t become sentimentalism.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — August 17, 2005 @ 4:35 pm - August 17, 2005

  9. Hard to picture her as the vamp in one of my all time favorites “The Harvey Girls.”

    Comment by Gay Cowboy Bob —
    I just adore you, let’s get a room…

    Comment by chandler in hollywood — August 17, 2005 @ 6:30 pm - August 17, 2005

  10. Well crap. Here I thought Beauty and the Beast was about Beastiality. ;P

    Anywho, I thought Chandler was going to sit down and shut up.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 17, 2005 @ 9:03 pm - August 17, 2005

  11. Rob, EMTBla-bla-bla, or That Gay Conserve,

    While I have been soured on most of the strident fascist opinions posted to this blog, I still genuinely like GPW. He has what most of the neo-fascistas have sold long ago, a soul. This tangential(OT) inquiry into our group nature is apolitical and intellectually provocative. It is worthy of a second thought or two. As this has accidentally degenerated into an actual abstract discussion, I have felt freer to post. Also, any thread that glisteny HASN’T posted in hasn’t been poisoned by bilious invectives masquerading as cogent discussion. Nuff said:)

    Comment by chandler in hollywood — August 17, 2005 @ 10:31 pm - August 17, 2005

  12. Chandler–delighted you believe I have a soul, but I think you made an error in your first sentence as there have been no “strident fascist opinions posted to this blog.” I have, however, found a few such opinions from our critics–among the comments.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — August 18, 2005 @ 12:08 am - August 18, 2005

  13. but I think you made an error in your first sentence as there have been no “strident fascist opinions posted to this blog.” I have, however, found a few such opinions from our critics–among the comments.
    Comment by GayPatriotWest
    That is the nature of opinions and perspectives.
    People see things differently.
    Best of luck on the paper.

    Comment by chandler in hollywood — August 18, 2005 @ 12:12 am - August 18, 2005

  14. Looks like I’m going to getting an extension on one (as I believe I am saying something important and want to do the best job I possibly can). I’m truly sorry you think the opinions we express here are fascist. It’s sad that you cannot see our arguments for what they are–or that you have such a narrow opinion of ideas with which you disagree.

    There is nothing fascist about my ideas and believe strongly in a freely elected republican (small ‘r’) form of government. I favor free speech and open debate, even when that means that narrow-minded, hate-filled people like Michael Moore can produce and distribute films (or books) and that angry people can protest outside the president’s summer retreat. And that belief in freedom extends beyond speech–as I am quite libertarian in my views, that is, I believe that, as much as possible, the government should leave people alone to live their lives as they choose.

    I would hardly call that fascist.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — August 18, 2005 @ 12:26 am - August 18, 2005

  15. Dan, if you want smaller government, wouldn’t it be better at this point to split your vote?

    Comment by anon — August 18, 2005 @ 8:22 am - August 18, 2005

  16. Gay Cowboy Bob,
    N-35, BINGO, we have a winner!
    We’re on the same page.

    Comment by chandler in hollywood — August 18, 2005 @ 10:37 am - August 18, 2005

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