LITERARY ORPHANS ISSUE 29: Letter From the Editor
Dear Orphans & Orphanettes,
As you may have noticed, Literary Orphans has two “orphans” this month. We originally thought about dedicating an issue to Bonnie Elizabeth Parker, but the more we talked about it, the more we realized that you can’t mention one of these orphans without bringing up the other. Apart, each of these orphans makes for an interesting character study, but together, these two made history.
It was 83 years ago, as of yesterday, May, 23, 2017, when Bonnie & Clyde met their demise down a sleepy stretch of Louisiana road. Six officers fired more than 130 rounds into Bonnie and Clyde’s vehicle, ending a crime spree that affected over a dozen banks, gas stations, and stores and took the lives of at least 9 police officers and civilians. Their deaths were among a handful of famous Depression Era criminals who taunted the FBI and made a living of robbing banks across the country. While Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde “Champion” Barrow were some of the most notorious public enemies of the Great Depression, it wouldn’t be until some 30+ years later that their story would enter the American lexicon as a romanticized tale of two rebellious lovers.
In 1967, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway reintroduced Bonnie and Clyde to the public by way of the silver screen. Though criticized for its glorification of violence, the film Bonnie and Clyde was a smash hit that quickly became one of the highest-grossing movies of its era. At a time when the antiwar drums were growing in response to the Vietnam war, and as a prelude to one of the most momentous displays of paranoia and distrust by a leading government official, the American public found itself wooed and courted by the wrong side of the law. A new breed of rebel, in constant flight from dark-suited G-men, stole our hearts. Those who would carve out a life for themselves, no matter how illegal or ill-fated, became our protagonists, and we sympathized with them. Bonnie and Clyde weren’t just star-crossed lovers with a violent streak; they embodied a rebellious spirit we yearned for when we felt the system had failed us.
In an era when we’re bombarded with news about our government leaders having secret meetings with Russians, it seems only fitting to look back at America’s criminal sweethearts. At a time when the National Security Agency (NSA) helps to create two major global cyber security threats, it feels only logical to question the ethics and laws of our governing bodies.
When Bonnie and Clyde were reintroduced to the American public in the late 60s, our collective rebellious spirit was on an upswing. It’s only fitting that we bring their romanticized tale back to the public eye when similar sentiments are once again reverberating through the American consciousness.
In Literary Orphans Issue 29: Bonnie & Clyde, we embrace our inner outlaws.
We’re all in this together,