(Seriously– this rant contains a spoiler alert– several of them– for the movie ParaNorman. If you don’t like spoilers, dodge off.)
Okay– someone–MANY someones wrote a bunch of big long indignant blog posts because of the movie ParaNorman. They seemed to think that because one of the secondary characters announces he’s gay at the end of the story, that this was somehow WRONG, and that it exposes children, poor, innocent children, who should NEVER know what GAY means until they’re old enough to parrot back their parent’s hatred, to something that is much more frightening than zombies, witch hunts, and karmic apocalypse. Anyway, besides the fact that these parents are completely ignoring the subtext of the movie (heLLO, it’s about NOT STAGING A WITCH HUNT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT, because sometimes that sort of thing comes back to BITE YOU ON THE ASS!!!) they are also bringing up an entirely unmentioned phenomenon.
The secondary character’s sexuality was MEANT to be revealed at the end–you grew to like this person, and he was part of the ensemble, and after all that, did we really GIVE A CRAP if he was gay? Besides, didn’t everybody in the movie JUST learn that hating people based on their differences led to really, just, terrifyingly CRAPTASTIC human behavior? So, giving this thing a warning label would totally defeat the purpose for making that point to bigots just like the woman FREAKING OUT on the Christian blog site, right? (I didn’t link to it. I’m sorry. I don’t want that woman to have any more attention. Seriously. It was vomitous.)
Anyway, reading her weirdness–and having to subject myself to some totally bizarre reviews on a daily basis, (the woman who gave the story two stars because the dog licked people’s faces, and she thought that was gross– yeah, that one comes to mind!)–and generally seeing the entire world lose it’s fucking nut over just the weirdest bullshit, makes me think that the warning labels the masses scream for aren’t really the problem. The problem is, they’re screaming for the WRONG warning labels. I mean, everyone knows cigarettes are bad for you and cause cancer. What we REALLY need on the warning label is some sort of time-warp mirror to show people the condition of their skin, hair, and teeth should they continue to smoke. Now THAT’S a warning, right?
And even beyond that–it just seems like the wrong things are labeled in the wrong ways. Some examples?
On a cat:
Dear consumer: this thing has pointy ends and stinky ends. If you’re not prepared to deal with either end, then get a goldfish.
On a goldfish:
Dear consumer: this thing craps three times it’s weight daily. If you’re not prepared to keep the bowl clean, then get a pet rock.
On a pet rock:
Dear consumer: If you throw me at a window, this can not be blamed on disobedience. Pet ownership is not an alternative to anger management. Sayin.
On a book, any book:
Dear consumer: This device was designed to open minds. It was written by someone who was not you and who has a different life experience than you. It may take you in places you don’t expect to go. DO NOT BLAME THIS ON THE AUTHOR. Their difference in life experience is not a sign of lower intelligence, just like your ability to write mean things about that experience is not a sign of your superior intelligence. Just different. Not worse.
On a movie, any movie:
Dear consumer: If you talk, you cannot hear what I am saying. You just paid $10 for a ticket, $5 for a soft drink and $2.50 for a box of Reese’s Pieces to hear yourself talk. Based on that fact alone, I’m telling you, you’re not bright enough for the conversation to be that interesting.
On almost ANY animated movie (Veggie Tales being the possible exception):
Dear consumer: I was written, produced, designed and lovingly illustrated by a group of talented people who were probably told at one time or another that they were A. Weird, B. Doomed, and C. Wasting their time with this fruitless drawing/filmmaking/writing thing because NOBODY could make a living doing that unless they were REALLY good and they were too weird and doomed for REALLY good to apply. Do NOT expect my storyline to revolve around how gratifying the joys of conformity are, and do NOT expect me to sugarcoat life for your children. We were the children stuffed in trashcans, lockers, and toilet bowls–if your kid is anything like we were, he needs to know that kind of shit can be survived. If your kid is anything like the kids who tormented us, those kids need to know that is NOT okay.
On a bag of granola:
Dear consumer: Just like three hours of exercise a week is not going to magically convert you to a size six, eating something you think of as “health food” is not going to do it either. Read the calories per serving, heifer, I’m practically all fat!
Dear consumer: Ranch dressing is the devil. The end.
On frozen yoghurt:
Dear consumer: Chocolate, gummy bears, and peanut butter chips do not exactly “counteract” all of my low fat yoghurty goodness, but they come close. Fruit. Seriously. Fruit.
On a large sized swimming suit:
Dear consumer: Expect nothing from me but the ability to clothe your body when you are in the water. Glamour ain’t happening. Sorry. And the granola, frozen yoghurt, and salad is all fine– it’s the COOKIES that are killing you!
On a television:
Dear consumer: I am not the devil. That title belongs to reality television and ranch dressing. Watch me judiciously, discuss me with your children, understand what they are watching, and I can pretty much guarantee that I will not be the reason they end up doing time for billy-clubbing a night clerk while looting a Circle K for Cheetos after a bender.
On a child:
Dear parent: Changing my diapers is the easy part so stop bitching about it. You want a real challenge, try changing my mind when I’m thirteen and I want to pierce my tongue and dye my hair black after I get a boy band tattooed on my ass. (Not that I’m gonna do all that, but it’s fun to watch you turn colors when I suggest it.) Seriously–children are small people who grow into large ones. People never do what you’re expecting them to do, so why do you think I should? I’m an individual. Get over it. I will poop at inopportune times, tell your business to inopportune people, and develop a mind of my own when you think I should be developing the same mind you have. If you didn’t want to ride the wave, you should have kept the rubber on, I’m not even playing.
On a car:
Dear consumer: You’re going to have to replace me eventually, especially after your numerous spawn have beaten on my sides, broken my springs, and left rootbeer floats to die in my backseat cupholders. Don’t get mad at me when I start falling apart. The little butt-monkeys haven’t been that kind to YOU either!
On the dog:
Dear food giver and bringer of ear cleaner: What the car said. And stop feeding me all the food that gave you that curious shape. It’s not good for me either. I don’t even LIKE granola!
On a Teabagging politician:
slave drone rube thrall taxpayer tithe-monkey gum-scraper amoeba minion flunky asskisser flying monkey vermin insect sub-species junior menial subject underling inferior hanger-on sycophant hamster-in-a-sock adherent disciple peon prole puppet parasite stooge toady subordinate citizen! I’m sorry. I forgot what I was saying. Vote for me and I’ll poke my thick scabby fingers up your cooter and tell you why you owe me more money to fatten my account in the Caymans. Fuck yourself with a rabid porcupine. Don’t forget to vote!
On MY husband and nobody else’s:
Dear wife: I need love, mostly. Dinner is good, a clean house is… well, it’s a nice dream, and I’ve never doubted you would pull your weight with the kids. But by all means back away from the computer and stop working for a while to give me that first one. It’s why I got into this whole “marriage” gig in the first place. Remember, that’s why you jumped in too. Oh yeah– back rubs and movies are also very nice. Please don’t forget that, and I promise, it will all be better when you come up for air. Sincerely, your Mate.
So, you see what I mean? Warning labels– sometimes, we need them to be unbearably honest, right?