Thursday, July 16, 2009

Well, Why Not?

My publisher and good friend, Daniel Rappaport talks Toy to the World and Pazzaria at Blue Fuss, asking elliptically (on the nose) some questions I hope the will be covered when Toy to the World and Pazzaria launches in the coming days.

Is it really damaging to children if two of their favorite characters of the same gender have a romance?

To have a governing body be manipulative and wrong... no matter how old, tall, or bearded those governors (Gandalf cough Dumbledore cough hack wheeze) happen to be.

To get political?

And, on the flipside, how bad is the classist, stereotype-reinforcing, middle class, faux-sentimentalism of major swathes of Young Adult and youth-friendly entertainment? How tiresome are I'm the boss of you/No, I'm the boss of me! arguments? Wealthy power-imbued beloved uber-jocks who have the cuties hanging around them endlessly, portrayed with a pretense of being picked on and downtrodden because they slept on an uncomfortable bed once and their parents were murdered? Petty revenge as an honorable - and just - and hilarious - element? Or, poor picked on pop stars, to have to lie to the world and their friends... because it makes their (fabulous super-wealthy popstar) life easier? Magical creatures used as metaphors for nonwhite ethnicities, non-het sexualities, or political factions?

They do this, not just for children, swapping in a monster for an oppressed or (perceived) nonstandard group. As though there is a sensible throughline of any functionality or moral lesson, in substituting vampires or werewolves for, say, nonwhites moving into the neighborhood. And the fear is almost always validated, usually with a knowing wink and some parental cognizance (see Wizards of Waverly Place's emphasis on not dating outside your kind, which means, apparently, being a jerk because your date has a back-end you don't like (in this case, a horse-end). When this is sold to adults as meaningful and intellectual, one can't help but feel the audience is supposed to have their critical faculties blinded by the sheer novelty of metaphor. The heck with that!

I can't tell you exactly what Pazzaria will be doing or how, but I can promise you I'm doing my best to make sure no one is having their intelligence insulted and that everyone is entertained.

No comments:

Site Meter