I think she’ll know…
So one of the things I love is Alice in Wonderland. Alice Through the Looking Glass. American McGee’s Alice. Just that whole down the rabbit hole mythos. Although I’ve not been impressed with Disney’s recent offerings in the live-action space, so there’s lots of bad Alice over the years, for the most part I am something of a Wonderland-fan.
Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?
Truly, Carroll had no idea when he wrote the question. His favorite answer in time was “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!” A joke that only works in text, and only if your copy-editor is asleep at the wheel, which, rather unfortunately, Carroll’s was not and the ‘nevar’ joke never flew. I prefer “Poe wrote on both,” or the simplified “They both produce flat notes.” For those who prefer the bizarre and non-sequitor, Aldous Huxley posits “Because there is a ‘b’ in both and an ‘n’ in neither.” The internet is full of answers, but when I wear this pin I stick to the ‘Poe’ answer – I used to try the Mad Hatter’s approach of explaining that I wouldn’t ask a question if I knew the answer, but this left people unsatisfied and confused. So instead I leave the non-period appropriate delight in people (as I commonly wear the pin while working at the Renaissance Faire) as my default choice.
But I promised this is a Wayback machine post, didn’t I, and you still don’t have any reason why I love Lewis’s lovely leading lady’s land of laughter!
I can’t pinpoint an exact moment on this one, but I can narrow it down to a character that still holds part of my heart. After all, Sleeping Beauty was my favorite princess – note that in Through the Looking Glass Alice does become a Queen, but never a princess. And Beauty and the Beast was a wonderful story. But Wonderland, that was where I identified with, all because of my love for the Cheshire Cat.
Now it is debated, is he a villain? Disney classifies him as such at times, he does lead Alice further down the mysterious paths of Wonderland – and is that such a bad thing? He’s not exactly helpful, not in any direct way, but for a girl looking for adventure, what better mischievous companion than the Smile without a Cat? He’s no Queen of Hearts, “OFF WITH HER HEAD!” He’s not even mad as a hatter, or is he? After all, he is the source of my favorite Wonderland quote… and I will save you from my memorization of the entire passage and just sum up with “We’re all Mad here.”
How did I grow such affinity for a rarely seen character? Well I see him at least once a month – in the sky. My mother would point up at the crescent moon, just when it was a wide tilted slash in the sky, and make sure I saw the Cheshire Cat’s smile. Mom was my first step into down the rabbit hole, even making me a plush Cheshire Cat prop for when I would go to amateur modeling photo shoots dressed as Alice.
American McGee gave me a new, more adult, look at my troublesome companion. His sly, less goofy, slightly gory look on a dark and grown up Wonderland. My fascination took my mother by surprise – this was not her Cheshire Cat, but it was mine. The taunting guide, never really as helpful as you thought he should be, but when you look deep into his words more insightful than you had first imagined. He told you the things you really needed to know, even if you didn’t want to hear them. I was terrible at the game – jumping platforms is a challenge for me – but I loved the story more than anything at the time. And just when you least expected him, The Clever Cheshire Cat.
I still insist on going to the Alice in Wonderland ride when I visit Disneyland, just to be pointed in the right/wrong/only way by my beloved Cat.