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I know how it is. I’m into stupid stuff too (obviously). I get it. And you see all these other people pretending like they’re into bigger, better things and it’s alienating, so you have a tendency to overcompensate. I get it. I see where you’re coming from. But this is not how you do it.
This is an attention grab, and a really strange one at that. There is no reason to go to all this trouble just for a facebook profile pic that only your elementary school librarian is going to give you a like for. And even then, she’s kind of only doing it out of pity and the fact that she knows that’s what’s expected of her. So stop doing this.
And Tinkerbell, please, for the love of God, look at yourself. What is wrong with you?
I’ve always been confused by the confusion surrounding the selective memory of adults w/r/t cartoons. I don’t know how many articles I’ve read about disturbing cartoons from childhood, but it’s probably a high number like eleven.
If you think about it – – even just a little bit – – it makes sense grown-ups don’t remember that stuff. Example; the confusing episode of Transformers where Seaspray falls in love with a mermaid, shape-shifts into a mermaid, then comes onto Bumblebee.
Who would want to remember the time My Little Pony goes to Hell? I mean, I assume it’s Hell. My Little Pony was based on a line of toys and following in this rich tradition, didn’t have predetermined villains. The evil looking beast that shows up at 3:45 in the clip below sure bares that special resemblance to Western civilization’s agreed upon image of the devil. Horns, yucky voice, etc.
“All cartoons have bad guys,” you might be arguing to your computer screen, like a total champ. Sure. but My Little Pony is aimed at 5-year-olds, and that guy is Satan.
Memory suppression. It’s one of the most important lessons television has ever given us. How were we expected to go outside and play once Saturday morning programming was over, if we didn’t immediately forget this had just happened:
Andy told me that if I wanted to make this an ongoing series to “maybe just add something at the end where you talk about that” so that’s what this sentence is.
Growing up I always assumed The Jungle Book came out some time in the 80s. That nebulous time known as Before Neil where time wasn’t so much as linear but rather a mushy pit. I never bothered to question the release date, because to me, it didn’t really matter, but in retrospect the era in which The Jungle Book came out is one of the most important aspects of the film. The characters Baloo and King Louie were both incredibly “now” for 1967. In fact, my disinterest in cultural history and my real interest in the movie probably explains why a five year old kid in the middle of the grunge era’s definition of cool was a sixties era hipster.
When Bagheera first catches Baloo and Mowgli interacting he refers to him as a “shiftless, stupid, jungle bum” and it’s hard to say he’s wrong. Baloo then goes on to teach Mowgli how to live his life happily without ever doing anything. Baloo is set up as the 60s era hippy bum, or updated for when I was watching, the 90s era slacker bum. Bum, being the common ground. He’s the guy that eschewed responsibility, and family, and a career to never grow up. To live in a cheap apartment with roommates and going out whenever he likes as opposed to attaching himself to something permanent. On the Unbearable Lightness of Being scale, a strong wind blows him away.
That is until he takes Mowgli on as a surrogate son. Baloo immediately tries to pass his lifestyle onto Mowgli. This is a common enough move as far as parents go. Baloo thinks he has life figured out, and he wants to share that wisdom with Mowgli. But more importantly, when Baloo befriends Mowgli he takes responsibility for him. When Bagheera wants to take Mowgli out of the jungle and back to the Man Village, Baloo responds in the most Baloo way possible. He says that Mowgli can’t go to the Man Village because they’ll “ruin him” and “make a man out of him” and then agrees to take care of Mowgli. Mowgli gives his life weight.
The nameless protagonist of Drive also adopts a Mowgli like character in an attempt to give meaning to his weightless life. Unlike Baloo, however, the man without a name character doesn’t imprint his values on his neighbors son because he doesn’t have any values. His life is a vacuum, and as such he tries to suck up whatever wholesomeness he can from the innocence of a child. Instead of teaching his Mowgli how to eat ants, he watches cartoons with him. He lets his Mowgli teach him that sharks are always bad guys. His storyline is also complicated by a love interest. Baloo is of course only in love with dancing, but in essence it’s the same. It’s two men without a life, seeing a child lost in a jungle and trying to save them. These two men try to fill their empty lives with parenthood.
But ultimately, both of these men are from the jungle, and Mowglis belong in Man Villages, not the jungle. And both men are willing to give up their own lives, so their Mowglis can go back to that Man Village. It’s the ultimate level of parenthood. Giving up their lives so their offspring can live on, and continue. The mother spider that allows its young to use its own body as sustenance. (Damn, that’s gross. Did I really just use that metaphor in a Jungle Book essay? That’s gnarley.)
It’s that sacrifice that finally gives their lives meaning. When the driver beats that man in the elevator nearly to death, terrifying his love interest, and then later takes a knife from that dude that had all those twisty knives, he deserves that same speech Bagheera gives Baloo. That sacrificing yourself for your friends (adopted children) is the highest honor you can have. The Chinese food restaurant’s parking lot in LA is just as special of a part of the jungle as where Baloo fell.
And it would have been just as fitting if that College synth hook hit when Baloo grabbed Shere Khan by the tail. With that he finally did grow up. He finally was a real human being. His heroism saved him.