I loathe you, Disney.
Not the Disney of your youth, or mine. Not the animation and magic that even little dinosaur and Star Wars oriented boys like me don’t want to admit love for, but secretly do. I’m talking about the Disney Channel of today, in particular. How I’d love to sit in on a board meeting while they dream up new petulant, contrary, smart-ass kids for their television lineup.
I should say this isn’t a full-on jihad against all things Disney – the boy of my youth would have been starry-eyed over such contemporary Disney concoctions/sidekicks as Olive from “A.N.T. Farm” and Lilly of “Hannah Montana” fame.
I’d like also to say that what a kid watches on TV – or a grown-up, for that matter – doesn’t have such a damning influence as we might fear. Yes, I wanted to be a storm trooper (but am I too short?) Sure, I stomped around like a T-Rex when I was a kid (we called it tyrannosaurus rex, back then). But today, at age 41, I don’t work for the Evil Empire, and I’m not a horrifying extinct lizard (stop right there!).
So why do Disney Channel kids make me want to puncture my ear drums and superglue my eyelids shut?
I feel like the dude who calls the national talk shows and grinds out his complaints about government conspiracies. Crazy old man. But he probably feels the rant is nothing short of the truth being set free. Like the caller who blames the government for global warming, unemployement and gun-control legislation, every time my child blurts an ornery answer or pins an insult on a sibling or challenges me, I want to spew blame.
I know, I know … who lets them watch these shows? We, as parents. Just as we watch shows about Zombies and movies about serial killers and reality TV that cheapens the human condition, we know that just because a kid watches a horrible show or listens to a terrible song or admires a troubled celebrity, it doesn’t mean she wants to be horrible or terrible or troubled. It’s just entertainment.
But this influence remains.
I won’t name you by name, snotty oldest sister who likes to play dumb. I won’t out you, annoying tween with an attitude and pissy web log who disdains the college experience. I won’t drag your name through the mud, rudderless teenager who fights with her best friend to try and date a celebrity too old for her.
I won’t call you out, but I do loathe you. I loathe the notion you plant in my kids’ minds that grown-ups are stupid, that siblings ought to hate each other out loud, and that in order to get what you want, it’s right and just and joyful to roll your friend/classmate/rulebook to get what you want.
You’ve glorified dumb.
You’ve deified clueless.
You’ve praised a parallel universe in which adults are labotomized, parents stand in the way of kids and the success of their garage bands, and the best way to the top is a solo flight wrought with deception, conceit and vulgar behavior.
You’ve rendered the very name Disney, once the surname of a stately grey-haired illustrator and dream maker, to Smurf status.
You know, a stand-in for a curse word. Instead of “Let’s get the Smurf outta here!”, I’m likely to say, “You’re full of Disney,” “You bet your Disney I’m turning off the TV now!”, or “What the Disney is that??”
Disney 2013, you make me long for the good old days. At least of Hannah Montana.
Sure, the acting was D-grade, but at least Hannah wouldn’t roll Lilly for a cute boy or expensive MUST-HAVE handbag.
My kids or the players on my teams might be too loud, burp in public, or even forget to say “thank you.”
That’s on me.
But when they spew a bad-tempered, disgraceful and self-centered quip when I ask them to do something, it’s like their waiting for a Disney laugh track to fire up, and bafoon parents to stumble cluelessly out of the room just in time for a teen/tween eye roll, I wonder what inspires them.
Well, that’s still on me, for letting them watch some of your crap.
Maybe I should just shut the Disney up.