You Can Never Go Home Again

I've come solidly to the conclusion that the memories of my childhood are best left in a box at the back of my brain, sealed in some kind of titanium container, with a big yellow sign on the front that says "˜do not inspect too closely'. I say this because every time I revisit anything particularly heartwarming, or nostalgic, I invariably discover it painfully flawed and often full of disturbing subtext that I simply didn't recognize upon first viewing. I offer the following advice: don't read the books you loved as a kid, don't watch the shows you watched as a child, don't revisit the movies, the games, and in many cases the friends you held dear as a young, small, impressionable, and most importantly, naïve person. It is entirely likely that disappointment and heartache will be your only companions if you do.

I propose this because I made the tragic mistake of watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with my 2-year-old last night. And for a brief and happy time I found my own lost toddlerhood in his eyes as he lounged along the floor, his head propped up on the plastic ball that he uses to strike fear in the heart of our cat. His is the world of ice-cream, and snowmen, and defecating in your own pants without having to clean it up yourself. He's still cute enough that it's very hard not to laugh when we're told that the chicken we've offered for dinner is bad while throwing it defiantly to the floor. And even now he's forming those poorly informed memories of pure childhood that I hope he never revisits with an adult eye.

As he lay before the television, while stop motion reindeer scampered about comically, I was for that brief moment satisfied. And then, the following burst forth from the speakers: Rudolph's mother wanted to help search for him, but Donner said, "No, this is man's work!"

There was a stunned silence before Elysia issued forth a challenging, "excuse me?" Daniel watched on, unaware that anything unusual had transpired, oblivious both to the oddity of such a statement and to his mother's wrathful gaze, which really should have made the television cringe in a kind of fear I've only experienced a very few times – most notably being the time that, by not paying attention, I inadvertently agreed she had put on weight. I was, at that moment, very glad that watching Rudolph had not been my idea. I was incredulous, partly because of the statement, and partly because without a good showing of incredulity some kind of tacit approval would be inferred, and my usually loving and even-tempered wife would pose a significant threat to my safety. But, I was genuinely shocked, reminded of the difference between the time I live in, and the time Rudolph was produced.

Suddenly, Rudolph had been ejected into a kind of anachronistic no man's land along with Star Wars, Tom Baker episodes of Doctor Who, old Disney films, and virtually every book I read before age 10. Now, everything was open to scrutiny and interpretation. I saw casual segregationism with comments like "No daughter of mine will be seen with a red-nosed reindeer!" that smacked too closely of a kind of racism, and sexism in the scene following what appears to be the death of Yukon Cornelius, where the group gets to the more important business of "˜getting the women to safety'.

I realize the problem is largely mine, and perhaps many of you see it as the kind of PC-programmed nonsense that has driven our culture to the hyper-sensitive, overly litigious brink of ruin, but I couldn't escape the context of things and just be a kid again. It has to do with innocence, and naiveté, and a distance from every form of political engagement that only a child and people raised by wolves can achieve. It's the reason that I don't let my son watch the news, and turn off commercials for shows like CSI, and only play games even as benign as Ratchet and Clank after he's gone to bed, because I want him to have that kind of childhood that colors everything in my titanium box rose petal red as long as possible. I want his childhood, which seems to be shorter with each generation, to be even longer than mine.

Of course, that's just setting him up for disappointment in the long run. Because someday as an adult he's going to catch an old episode of a favorite show, or read a once loved book, or watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and know that it wasn't all exactly as he remembers.

- Elysium

Comments

Actually Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving, and other holiday specials, are still as funny today as the day they were made.

So its only SOME things you can't revisit. Also Spaceballs is still as funny, if not moreso now that I actually get some of the more adult jokes!

But don't even try playing Wolf 3D... its just not the same! (Lawn darts are right out!)

I know exactly the look Elysia gave the TV when she heard that, because I just favored my laptop with the same look. Poor laptop. Doesn't deserve it.

You know what movie has just gotten better over time, though? A Christmas Story. It's always been the signal of the beginning of The Holidays (TM) for me, but I never really appreciated just how funny it was until I got older. I had the joy of introducing Drunkensleipnir to it on Thanksgiving, and I think I might have snorted water up my nose at the introduction of the Leg Lamp.

The one with Heat Miser was always the best...too bad the Networks refuse to air it anymore because of some PC nonsense..

Wait a minute; what's wrong with Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes?


The one with Heat Miser was always the best...too bad the Networks refuse to air it anymore because of some PC nonsense..

eh? I'm sure I saw that last season, on tv...

The Badlees do a rock cover of the Mr. Heatmiser song thats pretty cool, if you can find it.

Saw Alladin yesterday, for the first time in ten years. Still as good as ever. Lion King is up tonight

I'm kinda torn about wether kids should be kept in a pink fluffy cocoon as long as possible, or introducing them into the real world before it finger-butts them first. My parents kinda cocooned me, and I felt that at school. Then again, I am the sensitive type, so maybe I would have had that problem anyways.

I recently purchased some old episodes of the live action "Superboy" television series at a comic book convention, and had this exact same experience. As opposed to being offensive, however, it was just offensively bad. More and more, I'm convinced that we treasure youth not because our lives were so much simpler, but because they were so full of good things. When you lack the ability to judge, everything is magical.

Having watched A Charlie Brown Christmas last week while putting up the Christmas tree, I must agree that the Charlie Brown specials haven't lost their magic. However, I think this makes a better argument for the ruminative, adult nature of the Peanuts characters as opposed to any enduring magical childlike qualities. Peanuts is an adult comic strip that kids just happen to like.

Any thoughts on how the Frosty cartoon special holds up? I think it's great, and you'll still catch me quoting "Messy, messy, messy," from time to time.

We won't even go into the fact that I know every song from Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol by heart. The whole play-within-a-play aspect of that was what really made it stand out from the crowd. Brilliant.

A Charlie Brown Christmas always makes me hungry for Dolly Madison Snack Cakes, even though I have never actually seen or tasted one. That is some GOOD advertising.

I remember as a kid, thinking that GI Joe was the BEST CARTOON EVER. The acme of the cartoon art excellence. Now seeing it, it looks like it was drawn with crayons. I must have had an eight-year-old sized crack pipe.

I watched Rudolph last night as well, and did a double-take and a snicker at my wife's expense for exactly the same reasons you did with Elysia, Lobo. And I'll watch it again next year with my kids, and hopefully every year afterward. The scenes that you mentioned didn't diminish the show for me at all; they remind me of a simpler time in my life.

Molly's one and a half now, and I'm looking forward to the day to come when I see her sputter her outrage over the 'get the women inside' line... and rest assured, considering her current temperament, she certainly will.

The show is definitely a product of its time, and it does express some extremely antiquated ideas. I love it anyway.

I am trying to understand which part the women here find offensive, the notion that there is such thing as "men's work", or the notion that a mans life is less worthy of protection, that is in fact their job to get themselves be killed before allowing a woman to be harmed?

Edit:*I know I am so going to get reamed for this one*

Soon you won't even be calling it Christmas. It'll be Merry Holiday and gather round the 'ol Holiday Tree, lest we offend someone.

I hope that thirty years from now my grown-up children will look back at the games I'm playing today and think, "I can't believe that the games my dad played when I was a kid were such artless, sexist, meaningless pieces of crap compared to what the medium offers now." That'd be great.

Nosferatu wrote:
I am trying to understand which part the women here find offensive, the notion that there is such thing as "men's work", or the notion that a mans life is less worthy of protection, that is in fact their job to get themselves be killed before allowing a woman to be harmed?

Edit:*I know I am so going to get reamed for this one*

Elysium's immediate recognition of what his wife's gut-level reaction would be to that comment is the kind of thing learned from being around women who don't take kindly to being told what is and isn't their work. Let me tell you, had that event had transpired in my household I would have anticipated the exact same reaction from my own wife. I would have sympathized with her, too. I find it offensive, and I'm not even a woman (or so I've been led to believe).

God knows I don't want my daughter growing up thinking her options are limited because of her gender. Thankfully, those once prevalent attitudes have largely fallen by the wayside.

/end minor reaming

I am trying to understand which part the women here find offensive, the notion that there is such thing as "men's work"

Yup, that's a big one. Elysia is on record as having said, "unless it's sperm donation, there's no such thing as men's work."

or the notion that a mans life is less worthy of protection

I think it's more specifically the notion that women are so fragile that they need protecting to begin with.

a snicker at my wife's expense for exactly the same reasons you did with Elysia, Lobo.

Hi. I'm Elysium! I help run the site. Nice to meet you.

Elysium, quoting Elysia wrote:
Elysia is on record as having said, "unless it's sperm donation, there's no such thing as men's work."

Nosferatu wrote:
I am trying to understand which part the women here find offensive, the notion that there is such thing as "men's work", or the notion that a mans life is less worthy of protection, that is in fact their job to get themselves be killed before allowing a woman to be harmed?

Edit:*I know I am so going to get reamed for this one*

What irks me is the line that Rudolph's mother wanted to help go look for someone, and Donner said, "No, this is man's work". The ol' line about "getting the women to safety" didn't make me any happier. Granted we appear to be interpreting these lines differently, but I definitely find them degrading.

And I think it's quaint (that was the most pleasant adjective I could muster) that a man would believe its his job to die before allowing me to be harmed. I can take care of myself, thank you very much, I don't need or want anyone to do it for me. Honestly, I'd prefer your job to be taking out the trash, helping me cook dinner, and changing some diapers instead.

*edit: Also, Elysia's got it right. But we all knew that already.

You guys know how to change a dishwasher into a snowblower?

Give her a shovel!

/ducks and runs away

Yup, that's a big one. Elysia is on record as having said, "unless it's sperm donation, there's no such thing as men's work."

Please have her call my wife and explain that. So I can stop mowing the lawn.

Podunk wrote:
You guys know how to change a dishwasher into a snowblower?

Give her a shovel!

/ducks and runs away

I see your bid, and raise you this:

IMAGE(http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y48/Poppinfresh2k5/feminism.jpg)

*flee!*

Podunk wrote:
You guys know how to change a dishwasher into a snowblower?

Give her a shovel!

I know I'm a little late to this conversation, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in. On old shows that last the test of time, no one has mentioned "The Grinch that Stole Christmas". A truely classic animation (not the movie with Jim Carrey).

We watch that show every year and it holds up just fine to the ages.

That's all, thanks

Elysium,

I guess that's a matter of prospective, to continue the species a man need be present for a few minutes, if he dies after the women gets pregnant so be it. The woman on the other hand needs to be kept alive for well frankly 6 years before the child could even begin to fend for itself. On top of that if half the men die the group can still grow the next year by the same amount (biologically speaking) whereas if half the women die the growth the next year is cut in half. Biologically speaking the women are more important than the men for the species to continue.
Admitedly I thought to myself when I heard the line in question, "that would never happen nowadays".
Personally I look forward to a future when everyone understands that women are just as evil, self-centered, abusive, and megalomaniacal as men.

Biologically speaking the women are more important than the men for the species to continue.

That would be a lot more relevant if there weren't six billion of us.

KaterinLHC wrote:

And I think it's quaint (that was the most pleasant adjective I could muster) that a man would believe its his job to die before allowing me to be harmed. I can take care of myself, thank you very much, I don't need or want anyone to do it for me. Honestly, I'd prefer your job to be taking out the trash, helping me cook dinner, and changing some diapers instead.

*edit: Also, Elysia's got it right. But we all knew that already. :)


*pfft* I do, I can probably do it better than you, and I have. See you are the one casting men into a certain sexist mold. I don't enjoy cleaning (few people do), but I most definitely can cook, and I am not afraid of a soiled diaper, nor a crying child (I happen to like children).
I do find it amusing that many women often label men with just as many stereotypes as they complain about being labeled by men.

Elysium,
Kind of funny coming from the man who has a child, to the one without Our genes are selfish they don't give a damn about anyone else but their ability to get themselves passed along, sometimes they just get a tad confused on whether or not they have gotten passed along yet.

I don't see those lines as sexist, Elysium.
First, they are a product of their times, when men did the out-of-home work(hunting) and women did the in-the-home work(child raising, gathering). That's just the way it was. You might as well cry foul at other old classics like Casablanca or The King and I.

Second, in my own southern-gentlemanly way, I agree with the post-Cornelius "get the women and children to safety" line(but currently wouldn't support the "man's work" one. Then again, how often do you see women mowing the lawn or climbing the roof to hang christmas lights or changing the oil? Flip it around. How often do husbands do some laundry or wash dishes or vacuum the carpets? I see the latter far more often than the former, so clearly there are some jobs that are man's work for some reason or another.). You see, the men are the protectors. A tribe of men can do nothing to further their gene pool. The women are more valuable, more necessary to furthering the tribe/family, and therefore are to be protected and cherished. The children are an extension of that most female of miracles.

Would you not throw yourself in front of a speeding car to protect Elysia and Elysium 2.0? Would not Elysia expect you to do so? Would she not be grateful?

I realize it's not PC to be a gentleman, but I still get really pissed when I hold a door for what I presume is a "lady" only to get a haughty sniff and no "thank you".

But, again, it's all down to biology. The males of the pack protect the females for a very good reason. It has nothing to do with sexism, glass ceilings or mysogyny. It's biology first, proper upbringing second.

Edit to add:

Honestly, I'd prefer your job to be taking out the trash, helping me cook dinner, and changing some diapers instead.
I do take out the trash, I cook dinner on average 1 night a week and help/finish it 2-3, and my title when it still mattered was The Diaper King. Maybe it was because we never expected to have children, but if I was home, I generally did the diapers. I've done the baths pretty much since he was big enough for the tub. Toothbrushing? Mine, too. And yet, if it came down to a decision/choice, my wife's life is worth more than mine. I'm replaceable, she's not. That's just the way it is. The alpha male protects his pack, otherwise, he might lose it.

Women _are_ more fragile than men, physically. Sure there are exceptions, but you take your average (untrained) woman and your average(untrained) man and have them duke it out. Repeat this for random individuals say, a million times. Chances are 80-90% of the time the woman will be submitted, and without much harm done to her or her opponent.

Men are naturally more suited to be a physical protector, and there's hardly anything wrong with that.

That said, I don't care if a girlfriend can or can't cook. I also do my own laundry. This is a different subject altogether, as much as some of you like to mix it in. Women having equal rights as men is not the same subject as being in denial about women being physically different from men. One is a notion of a civilized society, another is crazy uber-PC talk.

The question of whether a man should insist on going to a potentially dangerous search however, seems linked more to the physical differences than the "denying women equal societal role" differences. Some things are just common sense. Unless I get married to a competitive Judo instructor, I wouldn't want her to be the one fighting off an intruder.

Of course, Donner stopping his wife when she wanted to come WITH him was overboard too. I'd understand that phrase if she wanted to go INSTEAD of him and he had a problem with that.


I realize it's not PC to be a gentleman, but I still get really pissed when I hold a door for what I presume is a "lady" only to get a haughty sniff and no "thank you".

Heh, I stopped doing it in America. Its far more satisfying to just bolt in front the lady through the door. Russian ladies still seem to expect that sort of thing though. Open the car door, put up a chair, take their coat blah blah blah. Then hold the fork in your left hand and the knife in your right, slicing delicately small pieces off an exquisitely small piece of meat inside a pretentious ethnic restaurant. Sometimes I just say, "screw it".

You see, the men are the protectors. A tribe of men can do nothing to further their gene pool.

Again, I think we're beyond the tribalism mentality. Also, I don't think the suggestion has been issued that men are irrelevant, just that the necessities change between bushmen in the Congo and a couple living in the burbs.

Would you not throw yourself in front of a speeding car to protect Elysia and Elysium 2.0? Would not Elysia expect you to do so?

She can speak on this point if she wants, but I think there'd be a race between us to see who could get in front of the car first. If you're asking, does she expect me to sacrifice my life before sacrificing hers, the answer is no. I would, but she doesn't expect it. The reverse is also true for her.

I realize it's not PC to be a gentleman, but I still get really pissed when I hold a door for what I presume is a "lady" only to get a haughty sniff and no "thank you".

You know, I hear that a lot, but it's never happened to me and I hold doors open all the time. Has that ever actually happened to you? I don't ask to suggest you're not telling the truth, but out of genuine curiosity. I keep waiting for someone to be insulted when I hold the door open.

On topic, there are several steps between calling looking for your kid 'man's work', and holding the door open.

But, again, it's all down to biology. The males of the pack protect the females for a very good reason. It has nothing to do with sexism, glass ceilings or mysogyny. It's biology first, proper upbringing second.

We're taking this much more seriously than intended here, but I go back to the point that women don't seem to need our protection much anymore. Mind you, this is coming from a person with no less a southern upbringing than anyone here. I grew up with these concepts drilled into my head, just like calling your elders Mr. or Mrs., saying Sir or Maam, and holding the door open for other people.

In general I wasn't offended by the broadcast. I know it's a product of its time. It was, however, interesting looking at it through the lens of an adult, and that's the point. I couldn't look at it as a child anymore.

Uh, is everyone forgetting that these are reindeer we're talking about? With them big-ass antlers, there is such a thing as a man's work in reindeer world.