"Violence in cartoons! Violence on TV! Violence in movies! All this violence, and it's all aimed at the children! What will the children learn from all this violence they are exposed to? It will warp their young minds and make them violent!"
I hear that kind of talk today. I heard that kind of talk when I was growing up, but it was aimed at things like the 3 Stooges, and televised wrestling. People like that want kids exposed to fairy tales and children's stories. More 'traditional' fare.
Have you looked at any 'traditional' children's stories lately? I don't mean the updated and animated versions they have now, like "Tangled", or "Hoodwinked" (which, by the way were hilarious when I convinced Handsome to let me take him so I could watch them without looking like a weirdo), but the real versions, the 'traditional' versions? My writing group puts out monthly Flash Fiction assignments, and this month they decided to go with "Re-write a fairy-tale the way you would like to see it done". I am writing my own version of "Little Red Riding Hood", so I looked over the 'traditional' version online.
Newsflash: It looks like something out of the movie "Saw".
In the cartoons nowadays there is a lot of fighting; lots of kicking and punching, blasters and guns, but you don't usually see anyone really hurt. It was the same with the Stooges and Wrestling as I was growing up; I saw lots of hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, hair-pulling, holds, locks and throws. Then there was the wrestling! So, there was all that going on, and I'll admit, some of it was pretty violent.
But compare that to "Red Riding Hood".
In the beginning, everything is good, great, swell, terrific, choose your own phrase or word meaning 'splendiferous', and insert it here! There's a road trip, a goodie basket, and even talking animals! It's like "Toy Story" without Pixar! Red talks to the wolf and he tricks her. He lies to her, and gives had bad directions. I can hear you all thinking out there:
An excellent example to give to the children! Don't talk to strangers, you can't trust 'em!
That may well be, but the wolf doesn't stop there. He lies to Red and races ahead to get to Grandma's house first. And what does he do when he gets there?
Does he hit her?
Does he kick her?
Does he pull her hair, punch her, get her in a wrestling hold, or even shoot or stab her?
He EATS her!
This intelligent, talking Disney animal gets right down to business and eats her. It's practically cannibalism!
In the movies, does Woody eat Buzz Lightyear?
On television, does Bugs Bunny eat Daffy duck?
Oh, sure, Tom the cat is always trying to eat Jerry the mouse, and Sylvester cat is constantly trying to chow down on Tweety, but do they ever succeed?
Not bloody likely.
Way back, when the 3 Stooges were being accused of being a viscious, violent influence on children, when Moe was done slapping Larry or Curley, did he ever throw on a big plastic bib and EAT one of them?
You bet your ass he didn't!
And then, just to prolong the horror as well as drive the "don't trust strangers" theme home, the wolf tricks Red and then eats her as well! Red and Granny, chomped, eaten and gone. Dead. End of story, the protagonist is lost, the movie is over, you don't have to go home but you have to get the hell out of here, drop off your date and go home to have nightmares.
It's not over!
A woodsman shows up, and he has an axe! An axe right out of any "Friday the 13th" or "Halloween" movie you ever saw! This guy shows up and he cuts the wolf open from stem to stern! And now, when the wolf is all opened up like some 'too strong for TV' footage that got dropped from the Surgery Network, what does he do? He pulls out Red and Granny, shockingly still alive but psychologically damaged from the terrible trauma of being eaten alive! I picture them all covered with fluids and disgusting internal wolf stuff, wide-eyed and staring. In one version I saw this was the end of the wolf; logical, since he had to be split open pretty wide for all this to happen. In another version, though, once the ladies pull their 'Jonah from the Whale' routine, they fill the wolf's gut with stones and sew him back up. He wanders the world in agony for a short time before dying his own painful, hideous death.
Jeeze ... can you say 'constipation'?
Look, after all this torture and terror and death in this 'children's story', you can give me the 3 Stooges hitting each other in the face repeatedly with a frying pan any day! These guys barely even wind up with a black eye!
Wow... I shouldn't have tried writing this one right before bed. I'm going to have nightmares for sure! I thik I know what to do, though. I'm going to sit down and watch "Nightmare on Elm Street" or something to calm down before I go to sleep. Something safe, and less violent than this "Little Red Riding Hood"... *shudder*
Talk to you later!