The old adage ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s difficult to deny that parents are not the only influences on a kid’s life. For caregivers this can be some small comfort. As time goes on, the responsibility for raising their young ones will gradually be offloaded on to their community. From the elementary school teachers to the high school coaches and eventually, off they go to college to learn a whole new set of ideas from professors, sometimes entirely devoid of parental influence. Responsibility starts at an all-time high when the child is born but will very slowly lessen until he or she is entirely self-sufficient. This can be good news.
On the other hand, that necessarily means that, if you have children, they are going to learn something from people who aren’t you. They’re going to pick things up from underpaid teachers, other bratty kids, and all manner of sources that you might rather they didn’t learn from. Like Hollywood. Film in general teaches us a lot about living. This doesn’t even stop when you become an adult. We all learn things from movies. However, since the dawn of the talkie, moms and dads the world over have been worried what their impressionable youth will glean and inevitably mimic from the glamorous world of visual fantasy.
Sometimes that worry is for very good reason. Just take a look at these ten things Hollywood keeps on teaching kids. We don’t mean just once, either. These keep coming back, over and over, until before long they just feel normal. They’re tropes by this point. Such as…
10. Violence And Murder Solve Everything And Have No Lasting Consequences
This hardly needs an explanation, but I’m going to give you one anyway. Even the “young kid gets picked on, learns martial arts, beats up his bullies” is a tired cliché at this point, but take something as seemingly innocuous as the Wizard of Oz. A young girl finds herself thrust into an unfamiliar land where she accidentally kills a prominent figure that spearheads a culture of violence and chaos. With nary a thought on establishing peaceful relations between the West and the North, Dorothy takes it upon herself to seek foreign aid from a controversial superpower and, in an effort to get home, murders yet another allegedly “wicked” witch (though her crimes appear to be limited to shoe lust which, lets be honest, is not all that uncommon).
Perhaps more annoying than the persistent trend towards teaching kids that standing up to their problems and fighting for what’s right consists of literally fighting bad guys, is the tendency to dress it up as though it’s not really violence. Except when it is. One example that comes to mind as a particular irony is Pokémon The First Movie. The central theme of this show is training animals to battle one another. However, when one Pokémon clones others and forces them to fight, suddenly it becomes wrong. So, remember kids! You should work your hardest to be the best, most violent person around! Except when fighting is wrong. But if someone fights wrongly, you should fight back with your correct fighting to fight right. Or something.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Pokémon…
This article was first posted on December 24, 2012