Sunday, January 30, 2011

How Wishbone Lied to Me

This semester I am taking a class that is based exclusively around the Harry Potter series. Despite meeting on Friday's, it promises to be one of the best classes I have ever taken here at Columbia. Our first day was spent praising JK Rowling and talking about the hero's journey. In order for us to understand the hero's journey better, she assigned half the class an abridged version of the Arthurian Legends, and the other half The Odyssey.  It would appear luck was not on my side this past Friday, and I was given a shotty looking copy of The Odyssey to read over the week.

Now, this marks the 4th time I've been required to read the Odyssey in my educational career. Each time I thin k it's going to go better. Maybe I'll like Odysseus this time? Maybe the journey will be more interesting, or at least less irritating? Of course, this never happens. I spent the past two days grinding my teeth and reading Odysseus heroic, and really very pompous journey from island to island. The two most common thoughts I had while reading this classic were "This isn't a good story at all. Odysseus is probably pretty smelly and his crew keeps dying. Why hasn't someone, like Poseidon, killed him yet?!" and "WISHBONE LIED. THIS ISN'T HOW I REMEMBER THE ODYSSEY OF MY DOG BASED CHILDHOOD"

While I have spent a good portion of today being upset that my memories of the Wishbone episode Home Sweet Home (which is up on Youtube, in case anyone is interested) always trick me into think I'll enjoy The Odyssey, I have also come to this conclusion - without Wishbone I wouldn't have much knowledge of quite a few classics.
As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I am not a fan of Charles Dickens. However the few novels of his I am really familiar with come from hours of watching Wishbone at my grandmothers house. The same with Don Quixote, I have no interest in picking it up, but I remember the cute little Jack Russel Terrier fighting a wind mill and laughing.  I've always been impressed by the stories the producers decided to tell, surely Homer, Dickens and Goethe are all over the average 7 year olds head. Even so, these episodes still exists, and remain the ones that come to mind first when I think of the show.

So that's the story of my never-ending experience with The Odyssey, how Wishbone tried to trick me into liking it, and how, eventually I decided to forgive the cute little puppy that exposed me to Literature before anyone else did.


Hannah said...

haha! wow. It's been a long time since I thought about Wishbone. My youngest brothers used to get to watch him every day while I did my school work (homeschool)so I would catch a few adventures if I timed my breaks just right. I loved reading the classics growing up and was always glad that Wishbone made them much more family friendly than they actually were in written form. That kept my mom from freaking out about what I was really reading. LOL

Good luck with the class! I have to admit I'm pretty jealous. I entire class completely revolving around Harry Potter = heaven on earth.

Ellen said...

probably my happiest moment in the peace corps was the night i discovered another volunteer had burned some wishbone dvds and got to watch robin hood. sometimes i feel like wishbone's lied to me, too (like, i probably won't like "don quixote" as much as wishbone makes me believe i will), but at least we can fall back on the knowledge we gained from him.

Red said...

I love the title to this post and really wish I watched Wishbone as a kid. I don't think I've ever seen an episode.

Your HP class sounds very fun!

kayefrancis said...

for hero's journey, see Kal's excellent analysis at