Can you imagine Charlie filling Wonka’s shoes? That passive, naive boy?
December 2, 2018 8:50 AM   Subscribe

 
I think the book was better in this regard than the movie. The movie sets up a deliberate trap, Mr. Wonka wants all the children to fail in funny ways because they've all already lost the competition without knowing it. In the book Mr. Wonka just leads children into his factory of death, survivor takes all.
posted by muddgirl at 8:57 AM on December 2 [48 favorites]




The real winner here is the factory. I like to think of it as a sentient living being that needs to feed on the souls of young children. This is the deal Wonka made, he funnels in children into this "factory of death" and the factory continues to generate imaginative candy creations. Everyone wins.
posted by Fizz at 8:59 AM on December 2 [65 favorites]


(Also don't @ me about how the kids survive at the end. Violet is blue and flattened! One of them is all stretched out to grotesque proportions!)
posted by muddgirl at 9:01 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Violet would certainly be the best capitalist choice. Like a Tony Stark for candy.
posted by oddman at 9:01 AM on December 2 [24 favorites]


Would Violet have given up the everlasting gobstopper? That’s the good deed shining in the weary world...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:02 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


5. Her misstep in the factory is reasonable.

But is it?
posted by clavdivs at 9:02 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


I'm still hoping for an Oompa-Loompa syndicalist revolution. But, if you're going to pursue the Wonka business model, Violet's not a bad choice.

As a kid, I always found "being fat" and "chewing gum" unsatisfying reasons to destroy children.

As an adult, I'm convinced anyone who has access to Wonka-Vision technology and decides to spend effort on selling very large candy bars, instead of revolutionizing our understanding of basic physics and changing human society forever, is making non-optimal decisions. Even leaving aside his role as a slaver and child-killer, Wonka's not a business leader with much vision.
posted by eotvos at 9:05 AM on December 2 [61 favorites]


Though, I would like to read the papers generated by the economists adult Violet hires to work out optimal pricing for everlasting gobstoppers.
posted by eotvos at 9:08 AM on December 2 [10 favorites]


Like a Tony Stark for candy.

I would watch the HELL out of this, especially with a female lead.
posted by The otter lady at 9:18 AM on December 2 [14 favorites]


Counterpoint: everything about this argument is correct except the supposition that Charlie took over the factory. In fact, Violet is "disqualified" in order to get her off the radar of competing candy firms' headhunters; it's a song-and-dance Wonka has arranged from the get go, and after her distracting blueberry incident, she is quietly sent of to an onboarding and training process from which she will emerge as Wonka's successor in all things business.

Charlie is a prop CEO, duped into believing he's in charge when in fact he's just the gullible, likeable face of the company. Wonka has learned the lesson that he doesn't enjoy doing PR; he's learned the followup lesson that just disappearing from public view entirely has its disadvantages; now he splits those functions cleanly in two, allowing Violet to proceed without the distraction of the public interaction he himself loathes while also presenting a mascot to the world in Charlie, who is all too happy to believe that liking candy out loud is sufficient to run a manufacturing empire and will be coddled and supported in that belief as long as it keeps people out of Violet's hair.
posted by cortex at 9:21 AM on December 2 [181 favorites]


Frankly, it's all pretty moot until the Vermicious Knid issue gets dealt with.
posted by kyrademon at 9:31 AM on December 2 [52 favorites]


If we accept that Wonka is nefarious — which I’m happy to do — there’s no reason to believe that he’s actually giving up control of the factory to anyone, Charlie included. This is likely all part of some bigger plot. Possibly to manufacture some new candy made from the crushed hopes and powdered bones of a naive and innocent child.

The contest and factory tour is a means to winnow out tainted souls unusable in the new process. “So shines a good deed in a weary world...AND NOW TO THE HOLDING CELL!” (Oompa Loompas march in with pikestaffs and a net, chanting...)
posted by darkstar at 9:34 AM on December 2 [9 favorites]


Okay, maybe...maybe that’s a bit much.
posted by darkstar at 9:35 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


I love all of this. This is my kind of fanwank.

Also eotvos I can't believe I'm defending Dahl's moralizing but I'd argue that your kid lens reading misses the point. Gloop's flaw isn't being fat it's gluttony. Violet's sin isn't chewing gum, though that's what the book harps on, it's that she's rude and that she cares more about records and competition than enjoying the candy/life.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:40 AM on December 2 [10 favorites]


I hate to break it to you but, SPOILERS:

Wonka is a Knid for the entire movie. The factory "tour" takes place after the real Wonka encountered the Knids in his initial Glass Elevator space runs. The trip and roll at the initial factory opening is not a feint but a reversion to the basic Knid movement style. This can be seen clearly when Wonka is drinking Swizzle Sweets with Childs in the prequel.
posted by benzenedream at 9:41 AM on December 2 [17 favorites]


It all makes more sense when you realize that the author was a really terrible person who hated everyone.
posted by winna at 9:44 AM on December 2 [76 favorites]


MetaFilter: I'm convinced anyone who has access to Wonka-Vision technology and decides to spend effort on selling very large candy bars, instead of revolutionizing our understanding of basic physics and changing human society forever, is making non-optimal decisions.
posted by halation at 9:53 AM on December 2 [12 favorites]


It all makes more sense when you realize that the author was a really terrible person who hated everyone.

Some specific context on this vis-a-vis Violet from a Twitter thread discussing the Tumblr post: In the UK (at least at the time Dahl was writing) chewing gum was a stereotypically boorish-American thing to do, and its use in England was seen an example of, as this person puts it, "the pervasive Americanisation of British culture." So through that lens, she fits in with the "kids these days are garbage" stereotypes that Augustus Gloop (fat and greedy), Mike Teavee (it'll rot your brain!) and Veruca Salt (spoiled) more obviously embody.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:04 AM on December 2 [16 favorites]


This makes me wonder what would have gone down had Matilda or James shown up for a factory tour. Hmm... I feel like Matilda wouldn't take any shit and would straight up use magic to throw Wonka into the industrial juicer. Then she'd free the Oompa Loompas and turn the factory into a school/orphanage to educate Oompa Loompas on the evils of capitalism.
posted by Fizz at 10:05 AM on December 2 [13 favorites]


@gailsimone
Okay, here's my idea.

THE OZ/WONKA WAR.


(Thread)
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


THE OZ/WONKA WAR.

Oompa Loompas and Munchkins form a radical socialist union and upend the patriarchy and destroy capitalism, right?!
posted by Fizz at 10:10 AM on December 2 [26 favorites]


I always found this book, and every Roald Dahl thing I was forced to consume, to be completely repugnant. It had a bad smell, a bad look, a bad aura, a bad feeling, a bad taste. It gave me a real sour outlook on the world, and life, if it was just being force-fed nasty content about nasty people being nasty to each other. I don't know why we do this to children. Thank god the past is in the past is all I have to say. The only good thing to come out of Roald Dahl's entire existence is to get older and find out that my childhood self was right about it all, and that makes me want to give her a big hug and tell her everything is going to work out OK, and in the future there will be much better content, and you can choose what you want to consume.
posted by bleep at 10:28 AM on December 2 [21 favorites]


Ugh that sickening yellow color scape that was in everything. Ugh. Ugh.
posted by bleep at 10:29 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Oompa Loompas and Munchkins form a radical socialist union and upend the patriarchy and destroy capitalism, right?!


Turns out, the “Wicked” Witch sisters were feminist socialists trying to free Dorothy from Establishment oppression. In the end, the Wizard is actually exiled after a populist uprising. Glenda, aligned with the arch-capitalist Lollipop Guild, alters the historic accounts of what really happened.
posted by darkstar at 10:33 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


The only good thing to come out of Roald Dahl's entire existence is to get older and find out that my childhood self was right about it all

Well. he co-invented a shunt used to treat hydrocephalus. That's a good thing.
posted by thelonius at 10:33 AM on December 2 [17 favorites]


bleep: I always found this book, and every Roald Dahl thing I was forced to consume, to be completely repugnant. It had a bad smell, a bad look, a bad aura, a bad feeling, a bad taste.

The dark fantasies of a boarding school abuse survivor.
posted by clawsoon at 10:38 AM on December 2 [27 favorites]


As an adult, I'm convinced anyone who has access to Wonka-Vision technology and decides to spend effort on selling very large candy bars, instead of revolutionizing our understanding of basic physics and changing human society forever, is making non-optimal decisions. Even leaving aside his role as a slaver and child-killer, Wonka's not a business leader with much vision.

As a society, we're clearly not yet ready for the responsibility that comes with that kind of advancement. While not optimal, a case can be made that it's preferable for all of that R&D to be made in support of, and therefore funded by, large candy bars than the more obvious route of becoming part of the military-industrial complex.
posted by Pryde at 10:43 AM on December 2 [8 favorites]


I just saw the musical version when it came through town a month ago, and I liked how it modernized the characters into clearer analogues of deadly sins: Violet becomes a prideful/envious Youtube star who reviews rare candy and gum for millions of followers; Mike Teavee becomes a slothful/wrathful screen-addicted gamer; Veruca becomes the greedy daughter of a Russian mining/manufacturing oligarch; Augustus is still basically Augustus.

One of the bigger changes to was in Charlie's whole approach to the contest. Unlike in other versions, the musical goes to great pains to make Charlie into a dyed-in-the-wool Wonka superfan, with encylopedic knowledge of the entire product line, and an active desire to be a chocolatier on that level, with his own "I want" song clearly stated at the beginning of Act I. Which makes me wonder if the producers for this production had noticed the same issue as in the OP, where Charlie is basically given the keys to the kingdom for merely standing in the back and not raising a fuss instead of his more positive and affirmative qualities.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:44 AM on December 2 [24 favorites]


Charlie is basically given the keys to the kingdom for merely standing in the back and not raising a fuss instead of his more positive and affirmative qualities.

Also, straight up white privilege.
posted by Fizz at 10:49 AM on December 2 [12 favorites]


MALE white privilege.
posted by Fizz at 10:50 AM on December 2 [21 favorites]


This is the deal Wonka made, he funnels in children into this "factory of death" and the factory continues to generate imaginative candy creations.

Quite plausible.

Well. he co-invented a shunt used to treat hydrocephalus. That's a good thing.

Alternate universe headline: Roald Dahl, famed medical inventor, dies; wrote oddly repulsive children's books as hobby.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:58 AM on December 2 [19 favorites]


Oh. My. God.

I had just written the following comment:

“Nothing in any of Dahl’s works (that I can recall offhand) was as bad as the Child Catcher that Ian Fleming wrote in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. That dude scared the hell out of me when I was little.”

Then I went to find a link to a video of the Child Catcher being all sinister in the movie, and came across this quote:
In 2005, the Child Catcher was voted "the scariest villain in children's books", despite not actually featuring in the original book. He was created for the film by co-screenwriter Roald Dahl, who specialized in creating colorful villains in his books.
:-|

Seriously, Dahl...who hurt you?
posted by darkstar at 11:08 AM on December 2 [82 favorites]


Would Violet have given up the everlasting gobstopper? That’s the good deed shining in the weary world...

Well, it's not gum.
posted by lubujackson at 11:19 AM on December 2


Have you seen the sequel?

No sign of Violet but Veruca Salt is in a position of some authority at least.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 11:20 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


Seriously, Dahl...who hurt you?

Luckily, he wrote this charming memoir, where he told us. Corporal punishment, boarding school*, a future Archbishop of Canterbury, a huge helping of arrogance, being a fighter pilot,...

*the same one that gave us Jeremy Clarkson, so,...
posted by ambrosen at 11:22 AM on December 2 [35 favorites]


I always found this book, and every Roald Dahl thing I was forced to consume, to be completely repugnant. It had a bad smell, a bad look, a bad aura, a bad feeling, a bad taste. It gave me a real sour outlook on the world, and life, if it was just being force-fed nasty content about nasty people being nasty to each other. I don't know why we do this to children. Thank god the past is in the past is all I have to say.

I think it's a lot more balanced than that - in his stories there are good adults and bad adults, and in many ways Dahl gave young readers a healthy scepticism of adults and authority, especially given the context he wrote those stories in. The Child Catcher hardly seems over the top once you know that the BBC gave Jimmy Savile, an actual, literal Child Catcher, a prime time show childrens' show around that time.
posted by kersplunk at 11:27 AM on December 2 [43 favorites]


Some of my Dark Shadows fan groups have been following actress Denise Nickerson's recovery from a stroke last summer. It seems she's making slow but steady progress.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:28 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


(Sorry for the lack of context. Denise played Violet in the 1971 Wonka movie and was also on the original DS TV series.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:30 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


THE OZ/WONKA WAR

Con artist vs. Proprietor of unregulated unsafe workplace

This is the late-stage capitalism movie we've been waiting for.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:45 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


I'm convinced anyone who has access to Wonka-Vision technology and decides to spend effort on selling very large candy bars, instead of revolutionizing our understanding of basic physics and changing human society forever, is making non-optimal decisions.

I don't think Wonka's genius is generalizable. He's only able to innovate in ways that are whimsical, unpredictable, and/or dangerous. Can you imagine Wonka trying to do peer-reviewed science? None of his experiments would ever clear an IRB (and if they did, half the subjects would die anyway), and the paper itself would be a mishmash of nonsense, aphorisms, obscure literary references, and random song lyrics.
posted by dephlogisticated at 11:48 AM on December 2 [19 favorites]


None of his experiments would ever clear an IRB

just imagine what the Potential Harms / Risks To Subjects section would look like
just imagine how many pages long it would be
posted by halation at 12:05 PM on December 2 [9 favorites]


Come with me
And you'll be
In a world of OSHA violations
posted by cortex at 12:05 PM on December 2 [167 favorites]


5. Her misstep in the factory is reasonable.

my personal theory is that everyone empathizes with one of the mis-steppers -- and it's an interesting bit of self-revelation the one we go with. For me, it's Mike Teavee. What did he do that was so wrong beyond being a bit wound up about whatever TV he'd been watching? And his misstep didn't even involve candy, but rather a fascination with science and technology. He got a raw deal.
posted by philip-random at 12:07 PM on December 2 [11 favorites]


Huh - I hadn't know that he was testing chocolates for Cadbury at Repton, at the same time he was dealing with abandonment and abuse.
posted by clawsoon at 12:07 PM on December 2


I'm not quite sure whether I developed this theory years ago or upon starting to read this thread, but I'm reasonably sure the Oompa Loompa's are shapechanging aliens and that every child that leaves that factory is an Oompa Loompa in disguise, and that this movie marks the beginning of a They Live-style takeover of human society, led by Violet, Veruca, Mike, and Augustus.
posted by Caduceus at 12:13 PM on December 2 [5 favorites]


my personal theory is that everyone empathizes with one of the mis-steppers -- and it's an interesting bit of self-revelation the one we go with.

huh
I just realised that, as a child, I sympathised with none of them and in every scene was inwardly hollering "WHAT are you DOING no why HOW could you be such a DUMBASS" -- including the bit with Charlie and the fizzy lifting drinks. Like, the SIGNS SAID NO, and they SAID NO for a REASON, and y'all DESERVE to have the Oompa-Loompas write cautionary-tale ballads about you, HMPH.

this is *also* an interesting bit of self-revelation, tbqh
posted by halation at 12:15 PM on December 2 [44 favorites]


Wonka explains his logic very clearly in the movie:

"I can't go on forever, and I don't really want to try. So who can I trust to run the factory when I leave and take care of the Oompa Loompas for me? Not a grown up. A grown up would want to do everything his own way, not mine. So that's why I decided a long time ago that I had to find a child. A very honest, loving child, to whom I could tell all my most precious candy making secrets."

He wants soft clay from which to mold his successor. Competence and strength of character are not needed, and might even be counter-productive. Charlie is perfect because he's naive and easily manipulated. He'll undergo intensive (and likely traumatizing) instruction during his formative years that will warp and transform him into a Wonkaesque caricature. It's entirely possible that Wonka himself was similarly trained as a child.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:19 PM on December 2 [60 favorites]


I know that we've all been discussing the ramifications of Wonka's actions as depicted in the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and if you're like me, you probably have a fair amount of distaste for Tim Burton's adaption, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

That being said, the one part of that film that I wholeheartedly love is the 'Puppet Hospital and Burn Centre'. This too is evidence of Wonka's troubling mental health though.
posted by Fizz at 12:23 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


if you're like me, you probably have a fair amount of distaste for Tim Burton's adaption, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

oh
...that
i never speak about... that
and in general refuse to acknowledge it ever, ever happened
posted by halation at 12:33 PM on December 2 [14 favorites]


It gave me a real sour outlook on the world, and life, if it was just being force-fed nasty content about nasty people being nasty to each other. I don't know why we do this to children.

I am wrestling with my reaction to this comment. On the one hand, it feels all "Your favorite childhood author sucks." On the other hand, I think everybody feels this way about something they were forced to read, and there is a special irony to kids being forced to read Dahl (presumably by the kind of adults whose authority in kids' lives Dahl resented and wanted to undermine). I'm sorry you had to endure that! But his books spoke to a lot of kids (still do) and it rankles to hear them described as harmful trash in such an absolute way.
posted by aws17576 at 12:38 PM on December 2 [27 favorites]


the Child Catcher

Holy God that scared me when I was a kid....I think CCBB was maybe the first or second movie I was taken to see in the theater. As far as I was concerned, it was all real - more real, perhaps, than the so-called world. I had actually repressed memory of this character.
posted by thelonius at 12:42 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


Guys guys Dahl wasn't always so dark have you read The Twits?
posted by benzenedream at 1:18 PM on December 2 [6 favorites]


@bens_diddly_doo
The Whos have one god, and that is the capitalist structure that inhibits minorities like the Grinch. In this paper on the Jim Carrey classic, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (2000), I will....
posted by Artw at 1:23 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


MALE white privilege.

Any one in charge so long so long as its not of the workers getting above their station?
posted by biffa at 1:28 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Come with me
And you'll be
In a world of OSHA violations


To your left is the broken eyewash station
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:34 PM on December 2 [34 favorites]


When I was a kid, I read the book once with disinterest (even though I was otherwise a great reader) but I watched the movie whenever it was on, so likely dozens of times. I loved musicals, but I hated all of the characters in the movie. (Also, at age 7, I asked my mother why the grandparents didn't have enough from Social Security to help with the income. I was weird.)

I couldn't understand why, at the end, Wonka talked about "taking care" of the Oompa Loompas as if they were children (and as an adult, I realize he talks about them as if they were slaves). Like halation, I couldn't understand why all of the children were breaking the rules for their own personal purposes. (I could only stand breaking the rules to help someone else.) From Charlie's grandparents all in one big bed to Uncle Joe's obvious layabout fakery (though, as a Chico & the Man fan, I was glad to see the actor) to everyone's bad behavior, the movie made me anxious and sad. But I loved (almost all of) the music, so I kept watching, which I suspect explains quite a bit about me.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 1:38 PM on December 2 [8 favorites]


It gave me a real sour outlook on the world, and life,

I got this from the endless vats of milquetoast stuff I had foisted on me as a kid. Which led to immense boredom more than anything I'd call trauma. When I think of books I read before I stumbled onto the Hardy Boys at age nine or ten, absolutely NOTHING comes to mind (beyond Dr. Seuss which I loved, but that was for "little kids") and I was a reader. As for Dahl, my first encounter with him was when I was eleven, listening in as my dad read James the Giant Peach to my younger brother and sister. Lucky them, I thought.

There's obviously no foolproof reading list for children. That which traumatizes some inspires others. And, of course, some kids want to be traumatized (a little anyway). Which I suspect speaks for younger me. Better to be scared than bored. It's just a story after all.
posted by philip-random at 1:41 PM on December 2 [7 favorites]


> It's entirely possible that Wonka himself was similarly trained as a child.

"I am not the Famed Chocolatier Willy Wonka", he said, "My name is Ryan; I inherited the factory from the previous Famed Chocolatier Willy Wonka ..."
posted by nickzoic at 1:43 PM on December 2 [41 favorites]


my personal theory is that everyone empathizes with one of the mis-steppers -- and it's an interesting bit of self-revelation the one we go with.

Doesn't anyone feel sympathy for Slugworth? Here he takes a bold stance against the crippling effects of the patent and copyright regime, by making inexpensive imitations of an elite treat. And yet the true hero of the novel is treated like an offscreen villain!
posted by happyroach at 1:52 PM on December 2 [10 favorites]


MetaFilter: access to Wonka-Vision technology
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:14 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


Come with me
And you'll be
In a world of OSHA violations
Take a look
To your left
Is the broken eyewash station


Come on in
Take a spin
Where the din
Is over regulation
What you'll see
Will defy
Legislation

If you want to view evidence
Simply look around and view it
Anyone you want sue, do it
Want to find a problem? Nothing to it

You'll have no
Chance I know
To succeed with any litigation
Who are you?
Nobody
So we'll get away scot free

If you want to see railings here
Close your eyes, maybe you'll fall in
To the pits that I'm installing
For no reason, just to be appalling

Come admire
How a fire
Would burn fast and hot without cessation
On the clock
Doors are locked
So prepare for immolation

There is no
Place to go
So you're trapped in here for the duration
So stay put
Where you're free
To become an amputee
Working here
You'll be free
From intrusive policy
posted by kyrademon at 2:21 PM on December 2 [158 favorites]


Finding Dahl's Switch Bitch collection of adult short stories in college seemed incongruous to me since I thought of him as a children's author--until I read it.
posted by pangolin party at 2:22 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


kryademon has just won the Internet. Shut ‘er down, lets go home.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 2:47 PM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Finding Dahl's Switch Bitch collection of adult short stories in college seemed incongruous to me since I thought of him as a children's author--until I read it.

I found the short story The Great Switcheroo on my dad's bookshelf when I was a young teen and thought, "oh cool- a Roald Dahl story I haven't read." That was the day I learned that sometimes authors write children's books and also...not children's books...
posted by cpatterson at 2:49 PM on December 2 [5 favorites]


The only good thing to come out of Roald Dahl's entire existence is...

Ophelia Dahl.
posted by naoko at 3:05 PM on December 2 [7 favorites]


Yeah, Repton explains a lot. Even *I* knew that name as a synonym for Imperial-era child abuse, and I went to school in a series of cornfields and cow pastures.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:07 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


> The dark fantasies of a boarding school abuse survivor.

The Wall, but for kids!
posted by lkc at 3:41 PM on December 2 [4 favorites]


It's not a "factory of death". None of the children die, and they all receive the reward promised to them.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:41 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]






I have nothing to say here other than I love you all, and thanks.
posted by nevercalm at 4:09 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


A lifetime of chocolate hardly makes up for massive internal organ damage.

(Note for the record that I loved Roald Dahl books as a child, because they were dangerous worlds where some adults were kind to children but most were indifferent at best and cruel at worst.)
posted by muddgirl at 4:11 PM on December 2 [7 favorites]


eotvos: Oompa-Loompa syndicalist revolution

In case anyone needs a $5 sock.
posted by tzikeh at 4:40 PM on December 2 [7 favorites]


Professor Farnsworth: Who are those horrible orange creatures over there?

Glurmo: Why, those are the Grunka-Lunkas. They work here in the Slurm factory.

Professor Farnsworth: Tell them I hate them.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:53 PM on December 2 [21 favorites]


The original film, though I watched it plenty as a child, is a surprisingly dour and joyless affair for a family musical about a fantastical candy factory. If I had to describe the overall tone in one word I’d say ‘brown’ would be a pretty apt summation. The only performances that don’t emanate a deep and crushing sadness, even when smiling through song, are Wilder as chaotic trickster god and the four gleefully naughty children.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:55 PM on December 2 [11 favorites]


Wonka needed someone to take over the chocolate factory so he could move to the United States and start an electric car company.
posted by 4ster at 5:03 PM on December 2 [10 favorites]


It gave me a real sour outlook on the world, and life,

I don't even understand this position enough to disagree with it. They're all such happily ever after stories. I mean, Danny the champion of the world?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:05 PM on December 2 [8 favorites]


Come with me
And you'll be
In a world of OSHA violations


I am reminded of this excellent tumblr meme with 5 different authors in which it is convincingly argued that the fates of the various children present a clear argument for contributory negligence.
oompa loompa doopity dare
the court finds you breached your duty of care

oompa loompa doopity disk
that’s what the courts call assumption of risk

oompa loompa doopity do
only a partial judgment for you

Oompa loompa doopity doubt,
The rest of the class action lawsuit is hereby…
(SLAM) (SLAM)
THROWNITY OUT!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:25 PM on December 2 [27 favorites]


I found the short story The Great Switcheroo on my dad's bookshelf when I was a young teen and thought, "oh cool- a Roald Dahl story I haven't read." That was the day I learned that sometimes authors write children's books and also...not children's books...

I had this same experience, but with My Uncle Oswald<>/em>.

Rather eyeopening for an 11 year old, I must say.

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:30 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


If nothing else, reading Dahl as a child instilled a life-long bafflement and hatred of boarding schools. 'Boy' was one of the later Dahls I read (though still as a child) and basically cemented it. Seriously, WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO A CHILD.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:30 PM on December 2 [6 favorites]


I first learned of his non-children's work from the TV series Tales Of The Unexpected, which showed up on American TV about 1980. His story "Galloping Foxley", which seems to derive from his boarding school experience, was an episode.
posted by thelonius at 5:45 PM on December 2


beyond Dr. Seuss which I loved, but that was for "little kids")

Solla Sollew? The Lorax? Not.
posted by Melismata at 5:56 PM on December 2


It had a bad smell, a bad look, a bad aura, a bad feeling, a bad taste.

I understand absolutely the childhood klaxon you're talking about - old enough to know something is terribly wrong, but too young to express why. I always felt that way about Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and for some reason Barbara Windsor. Two out of three ain't bad.

I didn't encounter The Twits until I was, I think, 7 and I'd already seen Tales of the Unexpected, leaving me in the weird position of reading a children's book and waiting for someone's finger to get cut off.
posted by Leon at 6:34 PM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Did anyone else have a realization later in life that Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was likely not pitched as hard by school librarians due to the racist caricatures
posted by gusandrews at 6:44 PM on December 2 [9 favorites]


I really appreciated Roald Dahl as a child (I haven't kept up on what we have learned about him as a person since) not despite the tone of his books, but because of them.

I did have a bad childhood, and there were adults out to get me (sexual abuse, etc.), and Roald Dahl for me was literature I could read that touched on, in fantastical and crazy ways, that core truth...that there are people out there doing crazy things to kids. Matilda and The Witches were later favourites (I was older when they came out) and I wish they had come out earlier. I went through a phase at about 18 where I also read The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More along with a collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald's stories over and over and they struck me as kind of similar, especially A Diamond as Big as The Ritz.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:45 PM on December 2 [18 favorites]


Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was likely not pitched as hard by school librarians due to the racist caricatures

my library didn't even have a copy of it, and when i did end up getting my hands on one as a slightly-older kid, it was, uh. yeah. it was pretty immediately clear to me why they didn't have a copy. (it was bad.)
posted by halation at 6:50 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


I mean, no. Not unless you think chocolate factories should be run by American MBAs, in which case you probably cheered on the takeover of Cadbury and we can't be friends.
posted by holgate at 7:57 PM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Also, the current occupant of the White House is all of the children who didn't win combined into one person.
posted by holgate at 8:00 PM on December 2 [19 favorites]


The rest of those children were killed, and Charlie feasted on their chocolate dipped hearts.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


One of the advantages of going to a small private school in the sixties, run by a hippyish headmaster, was that one of the teachers read us some Roald Dahl short stories, I think before I’d even come across Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I know I had read Gremlins before that, though I had no idea at the time it was by the same author, but that is something of an oddity in his oeuvre). I particularly remember him reading us "William and Mary” and "Royal Jelly” and the class of small boys (probably about eleven or twelve years old) was rather taken by the macabre sense of humour. It rather inured me to his take on children’s literature.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 8:39 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


If you were to guess which child was to most likely support Brexit, you'd have to bet on Violet - which, given the usage and treatment of immigrant labor that Wonka demonstrates, he would likely not support. With that said, I can't decide ifGrandpa Joe's behavior / condition prior to the ticket is indicitive of a stalwart Brexitist who believes that there is no point in trying since all the jobs are going to the immigrants or if there is some other interpretation. ..
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:48 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Charlie did something wrong, he knew it was wrong, and was sorry he did it. He atoned for it by forgoing promised riches by admitting his wrongs freely and with no expectation of reward.

Welcome to Protestantism, where God is a crazy, vicious asshole. Admit to what you've done, be truly sorry, and right back on the path to heaven with you!

Violet... well... most of the kids... were about the sin of pride with the other sins layered on. No, she was self-absorbed and confident in her place in the world, which changed in an instant. Only Charlie was clever enough to save himself and his Grandpa from a grisly fate, and then top it off with an act of contrition. Charlie has no pride, and also, no illusions. He is a Good Kid, something Wonka convinced himself didn't exist, until it did.

If you want to be gender-inclusive, Charlene and the Chocolate Factory. Don't hold up a moral failure as a secret paragon of capitalist success.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:18 PM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Charlie is a prop CEO, duped into believing he's in charge when in fact he's just the gullible, likeable face of the company.

THE GOBSTOPPER PROXY
posted by the duck by the oboe at 12:52 AM on December 3 [45 favorites]


I'm convinced anyone who has access to Metafilter and decides to spend effort on revolutionizing our understanding of basic emotional labor and changing human society forever, instead of selling very large plates of beans, is making non-optimal decisions.
posted by fragmede at 3:38 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Also, the current occupant of the White House is all of the children who didn't win combined into one person.

Trumpa-Lumpa
posted by chavenet at 3:58 AM on December 3 [9 favorites]


Did anyone else have a realization later in life that Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was likely not pitched as hard by school librarians due to the racist caricatures

Somehow my library as a child had an earlier edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, back when the Oompa Loompas were undeniably black pygmies who had been shipped in from Africa to be saved by the benevolent white English guy who made sure they stayed living and working within his factory. So, the racism was there all along ...
posted by tocts at 6:04 AM on December 3 [10 favorites]


the only people for me are the Wonka truthers
posted by thelonius at 6:30 AM on December 3


I always found this book, and every Roald Dahl thing I was forced to consume, to be completely repugnant. It had a bad smell, a bad look, a bad aura, a bad feeling, a bad taste. It gave me a real sour outlook on the world, and life, if it was just being force-fed nasty content about nasty people being nasty to each other. I don't know why we do this to children.

The reason I loved Dahl as a child was precisely this. Everything else we give children is so syrupy sweet that it can be a relief to have a little sour taste mixed in.
posted by atrazine at 7:50 AM on December 3 [7 favorites]


Don't hold up a moral failure as a secret paragon of capitalist success.

This posits the notion of a paragon of capitalist success as possibly being other than a moral failure! *releases the Gritty*
posted by cortex at 8:34 AM on December 3 [9 favorites]


Along with authoring some of the most popular books of the 20th century, the former spy put his experience to work on a most appropriate project—adapting Ian Fleming’s novel “You Only Live Twice” into a screenplay for the 1967 James Bond movie. [linked above]

I didn't realize Dahl wrote this. No wonder the racism is so over the top.
posted by ...possums at 11:08 AM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Dahl, there's an episode of Paul F. Tompkins' "Dead Authors Podcast," where PFT as HG Wells uses his Time Machine (it turned out to be real!) to interview other dead authors, played by different comedians. (It's really good!!)

One ep features Ben Schwartz as Dahl, and while, say, maybe half of the comedians did research into their author and the other half didn't (not a slam: both approaches are hilarious, and still informative as PFT always did the research), it's a little heartbreaking as Schwartz finds out Dahl was a vicious anti-semite.

Listen here... IF YOU DARE.

(you should dare, it's a good ep)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 2:09 PM on December 3 [6 favorites]


Seriously, WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO A CHILD.

It was necessary to brutalize the children in order to create an administrative and officer class callous enough to brutalize Indians and Africans.

The experiences of a Roald Dahl or an Eric Blair were simply collateral damage.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:12 PM on December 3 [7 favorites]


if you're like me, you probably have a fair amount of distaste for Tim Burton's adaption, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I don’t: Danny Elfman score. Nuff said.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:49 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Perhaps Wonka needed a malleable, empty vessel into which he can transfer his consciousness, another link in the chain for the immortal/immoral chocolatier...

Being Willy Wonka

[edit] I guess technically that should be:

Being Charlie Bucket
posted by chromecow at 6:06 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


That was the day I learned that sometimes authors write children's books and also...not children's books...

see also
posted by solotoro at 8:11 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


It's so weird that Dahl's book had the outsized influence it did, including the pervasiveness of the 1971 film. The teachers in my elementary (early-mid 80s) would wheel out the big VCR/CRT cart and play that damn movie at least twice a year. It kind of would blend together for me with "The Sound of Music" and I would imagine Oompa Loompas in the mansion and Nazis in the candy factory.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:24 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]


Incidentally, I'm currently producing a B-movie titled "Nazis In The Candy Factory".
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:55 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


Cool! I didn’t know Bob Woodward had licensed the film rights to his latest book...
posted by darkstar at 2:40 PM on December 4 [5 favorites]


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