Daughter and I spent the long weekend in Jackson, NH, currently painted the orange, yellow, and pine green of mountain fall. Driving homeward down Route 16, we listened to Astrid Lindgren's “Pippi Longstocking” on audio book. I loved the book and the movie when young, but didn’t remember much.
Should I continue to listen all the way through and/or Google extensively, I'm sure I will discover that this childhood favorite is rife with racist commentary, sexist language, or features Pippi wearing long johns made of the furs of 10 slain Iberian lynx.
But up through the point where Pippi takes out a crew of snot-nosed bullies using only her two scrawny fists, this girl’s proving a superheroine for the ages.
First off, she’s an orphan. Mama soars with the angels and papa is either king of the cannibals or sleeping with the fishes.
Secondly, her garb sets her apart. While Pippi’s roof-hopping shenanigans might be better served by Batwoman’s aerodynamic latex and shit kickers, Pippi’s a sartorial stand-alone with her motley get-up and clod-hoppers.
More importantly, Pippi lives according to her own code. When a pair of policemen attempts to chase her down and ship her off to an orphanage, she gives them merry chase, all the while keeping up friendly chatter and pointing out the many foibles of the polite society into which they’re trying to force her.
Finally, Pippi possesses superhuman strength. When she cows the aforementioned bullies, she does so by tossing each into a tree.