Crying Works

by S.C. Torrington on January 12, 2008

kleenix cropOut of the mouth of babes, or in this case, a teenager. The morning after the New Hampshire primary, when I told M that Hillary had won. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” was his immediate response. Without skipping a beat, he concluded, “Crying works.” But that’s my fault.

I’ve warned my son about women. Yeah, so did Norman Bates’ mom. But we all know the games girls play. I’ve played’em. You’ve played’em. Or they’ve been played on you. But the head-trips that us baby boomers learned from Beach Blanket Bingo seem like simple math compared to the complex Sudoku mind-benders I’ve seen on Disney Channel’s current sit-coms. It’s not our same old Mickey Mouse Club, that’s for sure.

But Disney has been twisting our teens for decades. Morgan and I just finished reading The Swiss Family Robinson (which is a hoot—between the bonking of every wild animal they encounter, access to their luxury-laden wreckage, and the father’s ingenuity and OCD.) Recently, the 1960 Disney film version was on TV, so we watched it as an exercise in contrast and compare. What a difference 150 years make!

The four boys had merged into three. And I don’t seem to remember any love triangle bringing the two oldest boys, Fritz and Ernst, to fisticuffs over Jenny, the lone shipwrecked surviver on a nearby island. In fact, in the book, Jenny is just as clever and brave as any of the boys. But Disney changes her name to Roberta, adds a protective ship’s captain (implying she could never survive on her own), plays out the whole “dressed like a cabin boy” gag and sets the boys reeling.

Now that’s power, baby. You can get any guy to fuck you. But to get him to fuck (over) some other guy, especially his own brother– that’s how girls really get off. In both the book and the movie, the boys would banter but never come to blows. Yet, per Disney, once that girl hits the beach, conflict flourishs. By all appearances, the female character had more in common with the younger brother, Ernst. But apparently James “Book’em Danno” MacArthur was a bigger teen heartthrob than Tommy Kirk, so he got the girl. Brawn over brains. And how did our little cross-dresser accomplish all this chaos? By crying.

Guess Hillary saw the same movie.

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