Thursday, 29 January 2015

Think of the Former Children

Thankfully most examples of people saying "Childhood ... ruined" are in a jokey, double-entendre-finding, Captain Pugwash kind of vein.

But there are enough people who say it with a tone of outrage (usually about remakes) to get College Humor to produce a point-stretching, heavy-handed video about the phenomenon.

Travis Pitts: Childhood ... improved, actually

As someone who studies moralization I often ask myself why and how the hell people pour outrage into fiction, movies, music or games. I think I can explain this one.

"Think of the children" is the emotional trump card in moral arguments, right? Now, you can't plausibly say that the remakes and reboots and prequels are ruining a generation that never knew the original and may even prefer the new stuff. So by some convoluted twist of psychology and time, you argue that this entertainment product retroactively harms the child that you once were.

I don't know. Maybe you have to accept your own love of imaginative works, here and now, in order to start taking your juvenile enjoyments seriously and critically? In order to break them out of the shrinkwrapped exile where you might consign childhood to eternal nostalgia?

Because if you accept that as an adult you can still enjoy some of the things you enjoyed as a child, you should also give your maturity its due, and accept that you might no longer enjoy some of those things, and value coming to understand why.

UFO stands the test of time (plot and character, not costumes, natch).

The Planet of the Apes cartoon does not.

So I can take remakes on their merits (for example, the current Apes arc, which updates everything nicely while keeping just enough of the preposterousness and Heavy Lessons of the original). I'm happy to have parts of my "childhood ruined," if that means that I can have other parts of it validated.


  1. What are you talking about? The costumes from UFO were PERFECT!

    1. Yes, but they didn't really come to pass in the actual 1980 (well, Straker's blazer-turtleneck combo was still going strong I guess).

    2. That was one of the most disappointing things about growing up the 80s. "Excuse me... I was given to understand there would be a lot more tight silver jumpsuits and purple wigs... ?"