A Fractured Fairy Tale

“Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?”

Answering this question involves a whole host of politically incorrect characters and situations from 18th century Germany. An Evil Queen? Would her quest for power be questioned if she were a man? Seven dwarfs? You mean people of smaller stature, which in no way diminishes their abilities and ambitions. Snow White? I’m not even going to touch that one. Disney sanitized The Brothers Grimm version by having Snow White sing while she performed her “required” domestic chores. Then they reduced  three counts of attempted murder to one; eliminating the asphyxiatingly tight bodice (a bodice?) and a poison comb in favor of the poison apple. Most dramatically, Snow White is revived by a kiss from the Prince as opposed to The Brothers Grimm version where the glass coffin is dropped and the poison apple dislodges from Snow White’s throat. The Heimlich maneuver? Not very romantic.

Of course that is only a fairy tale. And most of us will never enter the Black Forest and find a beautiful young woman who enjoys cleaning house for seven gnome-like men, one of whom is named Dopey.

And a magic mirror? That’s no fairy tale. In another example of a solution in search of a problem, aka modern technology, look no further than Muse Interactive in Providence, Rhode Island. Using augmented reality, the Muse Mirror is an interactive cosmetic and wellness assistant that monitors changes in your appearance, and makes skincare product recommendations that can be purchased directly from the mirror. Equipped with hand-gesture controls, LED dimmable lights, and two stereo speakers, it weighs 33 lbs. and retails for $799.

And it’s designed to make you feel good about yourself. One application, Muse Affirm, displays positive affirmations like: “You look great today”. Who wouldn’t want to hear that? There’s a whole library of videos and tutorials all dedicated to you. Like Peloton without the sweat.

Kind of makes me rethink Snow White. Maybe my knee-jerk reaction to the Muse Mirror is wrong and technology is the solution here. If the Evil Queen had a Muse Mirror that confronted her jealousy and encouraged her to be her best self and focus on her inner beauty she might be like another Bavarian stepmom, Maria von Trapp. And the story would have ended with the Queen giving Snow White one final hug before she headed off to Heidelberg University on a violin scholarship.

Alas, we will never know. Because people like me always question the benevolence of technology innovators. Elon, Jeff, Mark — if they could only use their powers for good.


M. A. Duca is a resident of Twin Lakes narrowly focused on everyday life.

Latest News

Red Sox and Royals clash in AAA little league showdown

Teddy Kneeland braces for impact with the catcher.

Riley Klein

TORRINGTON — The Steve Blass Northwest Connecticut Red Sox dropped a nailbiter 10-9 loss to Torrington Royal at Major Besse Park June 5.

The penultimate game of the AAA regular season came down to the wire with Torrington securing a walk-off victory in the final inning. The Red Sox, composed of players aged 9 to 11 from the six Region One towns, played a disciplined game and shook hands with their heads held high after the loss.

Keep ReadingShow less
Art sale to support new nonprofit

“Galactic Dance,” a 90-by-72-inch work by painter Tom Goldenberg of Sharon, is one of about 20 works featured in a fundraising art sale at The White Hart Inn from June 14 to 16.


It has been said that living well is an art. For Keavy Bedell and Craig Davis, that art form doesn’t end in the so-called Golden years. The two Lakeville residents have created a new nonprofit organization called East Mountain House that will help make end-of-life kinder and gentler.

Bedell has been active in the community, providing access to all levels of assistance to people who are finding it hard to do the essential tasks and activities that bring meaning and joy to their lives. She is trained in contemplative care and is a certified end of life doula.

Keep ReadingShow less
A Heroine’s tale at Hunt Library

On Thursday, June 20 at 2 p.m., the David M. Hunt Library in Falls Village, in collaboration with the Falls Village Equity Project, will host “Honoring a Heroine: The MumBet Story.” This event features storyteller and museum educator Tammy Denease, who will bring to life the inspiring true story of Elizabeth “MumBet” Freeman.

Elizabeth Freeman, also known as MumBet, was an enslaved African nurse, midwife, and herbalist. Born around 1744 in Claverack, New York, she spent 30 years enslaved in the household of Colonel John Ashley in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Ashley was one of the creators of the 1773 Sheffield Declaration which stated that “Mankind in a state of nature are equal, free, and independent of each other, and have a right to the undisturbed enjoyment of their lives, their liberty and property.” This same language was used in the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776 and in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. Evidence suggests that MumBet overheard these ideas when Colonel Ashley held events in his home and when the documents were read aloud in the public square. Seeking freedom, she turned to Theodore Sedgwick, a prominent attorney who helped draft the Sheffield Declaration with Colonel Ashley. MumBet, along with an enslaved man named Brom, began the process of fighting for their freedom. Historians note that Sedgwick, along with many of the lawyers in the area, decided to use the case as a “test case” to determine if slavery was constitutional under the new Massachusetts Constitution.

Keep ReadingShow less
Knees creak by wee creeks

First brookie of the day in hand.

This spring I have spent more time than usual creeping around the “little blue lines,” those streams that show up on good maps as, yes, little blue lines.

This is where to find wild trout. Often brook trout, occasionally browns or rainbows.

Keep ReadingShow less