A girl, a grandmother and a conniving wolf. One of the earliest stories of deception we are introduced to as children, this tale appeared sporadically in tenth-century France and fourteenth-century Italy prior to Charles Perrault’s published version, “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge,” in 1697. Sanitized retellings often omit the fact that the wolf eats Grandma, and in some cases, Red herself. Modern writers who’ve given the work a fresh spin include Nalo Hopkinson, Tanith Lee, the poet Olga Broumas and James Finn Garner, creator of Rex Koko, Private Clown, whose website bills itself as “the only place for clown noir.”
A red cape to floppy red shoes isn’t that far of a stretch, though with coulrophobia on the rise, people might prefer the duplicity of the wolf.
Vladimir Nabokov’s novel is structured as a memoir written by Humbert Humbert as he sits in jail awaiting trial. A murderer and pedophile, Humbert is attracted to twelve-year-old Dolores Haze, whom he believes is a reincarnation of his first love. Posing as a scholar enamored with Dolores’ mother, Charlotte, Humbert schemes his way into the family where he nicknames Dolores “Lolita,” sexually traumatizing her after Charlotte’s death. Nabokov’s work proves that even the most unassuming of characters can be the guiltiest.
Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film version stars James Mason, known for his portrayal of Richard Straker in the television movie Salem’s Lot, based on Stephen King’s bestseller—Straker, in league with the vampire Barlow, both under the guise of antiques dealers.
Now in its fourth season, MTV’s Catfish follows modern-day do-gooders Nev and Max as they traverse the land of reality TV helping the lovelorn discover if romantic interests really are who they claim to be via their profiles, IMs and texts. Most of Catfish’s docu-subjects learn the people they’ve fallen for have lied about their identities. With its entry in the Oxford Dictionaries, catfishing (“luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona”) is here to stay, much to the consternation of routers everywhere.
And in one of the more terrifying etymology twists, “catfishee” qualifies as a word.
This fairy-tale file brought to you by editorial assistant Adrianna Dasher and poetry editor Jon Riccio.