Sunday, January 09, 2005

Children's movies are evil

More proof that boredom is learned: young children can entertain themselves with a Lincoln log and a lego piece and a pretzel stick for hours until they learned to be bored, passive, staring at screens, waiting to be mesmerized. I'm no child psychologist (I'm not even a parent) but my limited observations lead me to think that a kid's instinctual impulse is to entertain herself by creating, by engaging with things, by interacting with the environment and with others in order to discover the limits of her understanding and possibly expand that limit while demonstrating a greater mastery over reality and her ability to manipulate materials -- demonstrating more autonomy and efficacy, all the things that seem to have a strong corelation with individual happiness. But such childhood growth requires supervision, which means time spent by parents wataching their children rather than working to make a wage consistent with middle-class expectations and producing ever more surplus for voracious capital. Parents and capitalists can't abide such wasted time as playing with children anymore, hence children are adapted to TV entertainment, which zombifies them, making them docile and undemanding (except for their sudden demands for advertised crap they've seen on TV).

The kids movie, for this reason, is pure evil. Critics seem inexplicably tolerant of their insipidity, but even if movies like Shrek were brilliant rather than excruciatingly awful, children's movies would still be horrible for children. The discipline kids learn in the theater, their anxious parents shushing them and demanding them to be quiet, and still, and non-vocal, purely interior and self-involved in their repsonses; all this makes them passive, complacent, reliant on the culture industry for their ability to be distracted from themselves, "entertained." There they are surrounded by other kids for the sole purpose of insisting that they pay attention not to eeach other but to these retarded cartoon animals flickering on the screen in front of them. The underlying message? Pleasure comes from product, not from peers. The ability to engage themselves in the world gets routed through entertainment, and the idea that you would make your own entertainment fades from their world of possibilities.

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