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What Does Peter Pan Have to Do with Post-Modern Irony and Vertical Search? July 16, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.

Apparently, there is an official sequel to Peter Pan coming out this fall. The story behind the story is a fascinating one: EU copyright protection is about to end; author J.M. Barrie turned over the rights to a children’s hospital and they were extended both by the EU and the UK; the whole thing about Barrie doting on Kate Winslet’s kids, etc.

Lest you think Shrek or Spongebob invented the concept of ironic kid’s content (or, for us Boomers, Bullwinkle or Warner Bros.), take a look at this bit from Barrie’s 1911 Peter Pan novel (that followed his 1904 play):

    Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children’s minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.

By the way, I found that quote via a classic Interweb experience. I searched inside the book at Amazon, and it’s lucky I started there, since I misremembered the quotation. I thought it involved “minds wiped clean.” Googling that phrase plus Peter Pan doesn’t produce good first-page results at the world’s best search engine. Searching on “mind” in Amazon did, but presented me with the task of retyping the entry. But with proper quote in hand, I found the Literature.org transcript via Google.

I was going to end this post by typing “Vertical Search Rules!” But on second thought, this experience just illustrates the ease and power of using multiple engines.

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