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And thereby hangs a tale

Archie will now undergo a sex change. And with that one more icon from our past bites the dust, HT writes.

india Updated: May 09, 2012 01:13 IST

Life is about change. But then there must be some things, especially from one's childhood or adolescent years, which should be left as they are because they are associations that remind us of those uncomplicated and carefree times. Naturally we were appalled to read that awful bit of news that Archie, that iconic comic book character from Riverdale, will now undergo a sex change, and will be known as Archina. The gender swap, we are told, will happen after Sabrina the teenage witch's cat hears Archie and his long time girlfriends - Betty and Veronica - arguing over something that the world has been debating for ages: who has it easier - boys or girls? This is not all: the two girls will become Billy and Ronnie in a world where they have been boys and Archie has always been a girl. As if in concession to people who would find it difficult to accept the change, the president of Archie comics has assured that Archina will still be the most popular kid in school and she still can't decide between rich Ronnie and not so lucky Billy. Thanks for small mercies!

Even though the story keeps to its original plot somewhat, it's a pity that we will have to let go of Archie, the boy, as we knew him. However, this is not the first change that has happened in our world of childhood and adolescent affairs. Look at what has happened to our old favorites, all in a bid to be politically correct: Tintin is no more the boy detective we so loved, he is a racist pig. The story on his adventures in Congo apparently makes readers think that the people of that country are not evolved; then there is the story of the nursery rhyme Mother Goose being sexist. The original fairy story, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, is apparently insulting to women.

While reviewing old tales using our present sensitivities can be an interesting work for scholars, for lay people it is an assault on old sweet memories. And that's not a very comforting thought at all.