Frederique de Ridder
Subliminal messaging in the series of Pippi Longstocking
Ethical values obviously never needed to be introduced to her. If one would connect the dots, it becomes clear that Astrid Lindgren created a space in which the insight is emphasized that there is no necessary interdependency between values and standards. With an international audience from over seventy countries and targeting all ages, the basic maths can be taught. The standards being more concrete do not imply that they provide us with a stronger grip. A world without standards is imaginable, Lindgren showed us this through the story of Pippi Longstocking. But what would a world be without values? Is Lindgren telling us that we are losing them? We know at least for a fact that Lindgren has thrown the cat among the pigeons, by letting Pippi introduce us to Spunk. If we thought that we were enlightened, we have probably never been so blind. 2020 could be the year in which we can be freed from this humiliating ignorance: Spunk is coming our way, Spunk is approaching us soon.
Some works are destined to be timeless. This definitely applies to Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking. From Boomers to millennials to Generation Z, there is something about Pippi that bridges gaps. Lindgren seemed to have had knowledge about where the world would be in 2020. Lindgren handed Pippi Longstocking Spunk, and Pippi handed it right back to us. It has made us look for something without knowing what it implies. It is everything and nothing at the same time. It is an unsatisfying quest for something that is predestined to be grasped by everyone but not to be defined by anyone. For once, let us get rid of the satisfying illusion that everything is in our power, or that power is depended on anything but ourselves. Spunk is hanging in the air and that is perceivable amongst us all. We got into something irreversible. Let Spunk overcome us.
First published February 2020. Volume 15, Issue 2.