"It Was Made for Kids!"
I hear this snarkument all the time. “Who cares? It's made for children.” What's funny is that I never hear this said to anyone whose enthusiastic about the latest product shoved into movie theaters or book shelves. I've never seen someone say, “So, you liked Moana? You know that's for kids, right?” It's always a manner of shutting down voices of dissent, because we all know, it's against internet conduct to not wholeheartedly approve of a Disney movie. (In the UK, you can actually be imprisoned for it.) Yet, every pseudo-intellectual Youtube film critic was out opening week to bitch and moan about The Emoji Movie. Hmm...was that one not made for children? Surely, there are no double-standards afoot.
So, here's the most obvious response to this shit, and the most logical one. I care about children's entertainment because I care about the culture children are raised in. This should go without saying but due to people being incapable of holding actual discussion, the obvious can no longer be overstated enough these days. Nobody's going to disagree with you raising your kid on a healthy diet rather than McDonald's and Pepsi every day. Why are the books they read any different? I'm open to the occasional candy bar. I remember being a kid and liking stupid shit. I have The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog on DVD as a memento of those times. I'll come back to this later. The important thing about this point is that I don't want children being raised with crummy morals or on content less than they deserve. I recognize that you can't force a child to enjoy what they should but that doesn't mean I can't get pissed at untalented authors and filmmakers for sucking at their job. Look at Cartoon Network back in the days of Dexter's Laboratory and Johnny Bravo. Are you really going to tell me that they're the equivalent of Uncle Grandpa? Your children are being raised by pop culture. Wouldn't you want a thorough background check on their babysitter? Why should their TV shows be any different?
Next up is the lesser point of this article, but it's one I bring up all the time. Any time that anybody says I'm overthinking something, I look up the budget of whatever that product was. (This typically applies to movies.) Upon a quick Google, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was made on a gross budget of 200 million dollars. Now, if I was to moan about how lazy and poorly-constructed it was, I would probably be met with a response of it being for children or that I'm overthinking it. If you had that much money and were about to invest it in something, would you even consider it possible to overthink that much money? From my impoverished opinion, fathoming the use of that much money feels like imagining what it's like to terraform a planet without a blueprint. Obviously, this can apply to book budgets or anything else. We just usually don't discuss budgets about those things as often. Anyhow, this point is only tangentially-related.
Back on that real, I remember reading a lot of things as a kid I would scoff at now. I clocked way too many Stephen King books (probably twenty or thirty in whole) and way too many Neil Gaiman books (maybe six). I enjoyed a lot of those books (King's) but I wouldn't waste my time on a page of it today. Mostly because I'm just not personally interested in that kind of literature anymore but also because my taste has evolved while I've been growing as a person. The thing is, I see a lot of readers in stunted-adolescent stages of readership. Not everybody has to reach for Gravity's Rainbow. That's a niche market, even for readers. I get that. On the other hand, if the steepest you've climbed up the literary canon is George R. R. Martin, that worries me. Some people aren't into fiction, or even into literature, that's cool, too, but if you're a book nerd and end the line there, you gotta start lifting heavier, (wo)man. Recreationally, there's nothing wrong with enjoying whatever you want. (Again with overstating the obvious. I love Captain Underpants more than I enjoy The King in Yellow. Some years, I'll watch a dozen Spielberg movies before I get around to one Bergman.
The thing is, look at this crowd of imbeciles who define their world-view by Harry Potter. That's gotta be classified as a mental illness somewhere. I enjoy those movies as passive entertainment but I also despise them for their shallow world view of good vs evil and how if you're not a Hermoine, then you're a Voldemort (with the rare Snape that has an iota of nuance). I don't want my (nonexistent, unlikely to ever exist at present) children to see the world that way. Life is complex. People are multifaceted. Good people do bad and “bad” people are capable of good. The world is larger than Hogwarts, even if those stories are pleasant. Sometimes I wonder (and this is pure speculation without making any true assertion) if past generations were more intelligent having been raised on Lord of the Rings rather than The Hunger Games. Just a thought that keeps me busy sometimes.
Ultimately, what this shallow, stupid argument boils down to, though, even above children, is one thing. It's somebody who is ashamed of their interests finding their taste put into question. They don't have the brain-power to defend it or accept that maybe others see the latest CGI product differently than they do, so they dismiss it with an “Oh, it's for children, anyways.” Well, no. You own hardback and paperback copies of the books, have the Funko vinyls of half the characters, and watch the adaptation every week as soon as you get home from work. You're too weak to be confident in your interests and that's cowardly. If you ever throw an examination of pop culture out because it's for kids, then maybe you should grow the fuck up.
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