Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monster in the Mirror.

In the 1993 film "The Nightmare Before Christmas", we are shown that the creepy people and creatures that scare us are actually just misunderstood. We humans like being scared and so (esp. at Halloween) they take on the task of scaring us, since it is what we want.

In the 2001 film "Monsters, Inc", we are shown that monsters are wierd (but cute) looking creatures with the same emotions as us, just doing their jobs...which is to (harmlessly) scare young children.

In the 2009 film "Monsters vs Aliens", we are shown that monsters exist in our world but that they are the victims of terrible and tragic events that led to their disfigurement, transformation and/or attitude towards ther world. These monsters are interned by the government but not so much to protect the public but to protect them from us. The shunned and misunderstood monsters end up being called upon to save our (shared) planet from alien invasion.

Before all these films came Jim Hensen's Muppets on televison (and later movies) where we were shown that monsters lived in our own neighborhoods (just like Sesame Street) and were just like us...well just like kids anyway (the adult monsters seemed to have special needs).

Now, I understand the message these film-makers are trying to get across...We should not judge people based on how they look because even though they may look different, inside we are all the same... and it is a commendable message although a naive one and possibly dangerous.

Obviously we don't want our children to discriminate against another race or disability just because they look different and I get that, but my problem with these films and their message in general is that they teach our children to not be afraid of monsters and get to know them because they are probably really nice...just misunderstood and appear scary because life has treated them so badly. This is dangerous.

Dangerous because there are monsters out there. Human monsters who want to do real harm to them. I don't want my child to get to know the monster that lives next door. I don't even want him/her living there or anywhere in my or your neighborhood.

I don't want my child to feel sorry for the monster because he was mistreated, abused and ostricized from society. I wish these monsters didn't exist and my children could lead gleeful, carefree lives but they need to know that they exist and how to avoid them, not get to know them.

Even if we are invaded by hostile aliens (or terrorists or China), I don't want our monsters released from prison to fight along side us (with apologies to The Dirty Dozen who were cool except for Telly Savalas who was a homicidal maniac, which is kinda my point).

Monsters are real and we do not want them anywhere near our children because thanks to Sesame Street our children will trust them, play with them and be hurt by them.

1 comment:

  1. Great writeup Steven, you make some really good points about power for the sakeof power...