Disney movies really messed up my generation. All of the 90's Disney films shared many themes: dream big, love conquers all, be happy being yourself, when destiny call you must answer, and more sickening sweet life lessons. But I pulled one thing in particular from these stories: In order to succeed, your parents have to die.
Seriously, think about it, every Disney hero and princess is missing either one or both parents. Apparently fairy tales are just full of broken families. I supposed there has to be some type of turmoil or sorrow the main character has to overcome in order to defeat his/her big foe, but still, does it always have to be a dead parent? Why can’t they just overcome being poor, or inequality, or a dragon that’s trying to eat their faces? The tragic death of a parental unit is not the only motivation in the world.
And this way of thought gets worse when you factor in comic book heroes.
Spider-Man - Dead parents and uncle murdered.
Batman - Parents killed right in front of him.
Superman - Birth parents killed, along with his entire fucking race and planet. (He was raised by wonderful adoptive parents, so that's good.)
Cyclops - Parents go missing when he's, like, ten. (Turns out they were kidnapped by aliens. Y'all know how that is.)
I spent a significant amount of my childhood wanting to be a superhero and worrying if that decision would get my parents killed. Marvel Comics recently launched a new Spider-Girl series, starring Anya Corazon as the latest Spider-Girl. The promoted as a series with "The Most Exciting & Surprising Start to a New Series You've Ever Read!" Guess what happens in the first issue?
Did you guess? Here's a hint: It wasn't a fucking surprise. Her dad is killed and she swears vengeance on the people who killed him. Wow, what a surprise. Its not like that same story has been used to motivate EVERY SINGLE COMIC BOOK HERO IN THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS! Don't get me wrong, it is a good series, but that beginning it was so unoriginal that the writers of The Cape would roll their eyes. (In case you're unaware, The Cape was a short-lived TV show that was essentially a poorly done rip-off of Batman. And they totally under-used Summer Glau. Those Bastards.)
Honestly, I had no idea how much this idea had affected me until this past year. I love to read memoirs and auto-biographies. In the last few months I’ve read the stories of Tina Fey, Kathy Griffin, Craig Ferguson, and Sarah Silverman. They are all incredibly talented comedians that I adore and their books were highly entertaining. But I was surprised by one thing they all shared. They parents all lived to old ages. Some of them are still alive. They didn’t die when the kids were young, they didn’t go missing, and they didn’t turn evil. They were just normal parents who worked hard to raise their kids. I know, this shouldn’t be such a huge surprise but, I was a little taken aback. Clearly, Disney had seriously mind-fucked me.
So, get this guys, you can find success and fulfillment without having your parents die! I know, awesome, right? I was happy to see that in the latest Disney movie, Tangled, both of the Princess’ parents live to the end. Of course, Rider was an orphan, so his having no parents might cancel out her having both. I don’t know, its gets kinda confusing there. Anyway, I hope we've all learned that health or liveliness of one's parents does not have an inverse relationship with one's success. Actually, it is probably in you best interest to keep you parents alive. You're going to need somewhere to crash when you nemesis eventually destroys your house. Trust me, if you're a hero/princess, your house will be destroyed.
P.S. I might do another post about how Disney truly screwed with my generation's idea of romance and love. What did we learn about love? If a guy kidnaps you, its because he loves you. If a guy lies to you, its because he loves you. And if you need to leave your home, family, and everything you've ever known to be with a guy you think is kinda cute. Do it, because he totally loves you.