Filed under: Societal Botheration
You know what I’m not a fan of? When I’m sitting in the movie theater seat that I paid eleven bucks for, watching Rorschach display astonishing feats of bad-assery and kicking the ever living crap out of someone twice his size, and I hear a tiny, yet amazingly well projected voice say, “Uh-oh.” I am not so jaded that I can’t admit that hearing a little girl react with such utter innocence to the extreme brutality of The Watchmen was actually kind of cute. The first time. After about the third utterance, though, I was officially irritated, and I’m fairly certain I wasn’t the only audience member feeling that way.
Movies are expensive. We’re in a recession, my two hours of escapism don’t come cheap, and I want to be able to fully enjoy them. It’s a lot harder to get lost in the fictional world of the film when a chattering (or god forbid crying) child keeps tugging me back to bitter reality. More importantly, it’s one example of a larger problem, which is the collective mentality among many parents that the rest of the world should bear the burden of their decision to have children. Don’t think that I haven’t heard the common retort of the united obnoxious parent front: “When you have children, you’ll see how it is. It’s easy to say that you shouldn’t come to the movies if you can’t find a babysitter when you don’t have kids.” I find this rationalization unacceptable, because it’s both condescending and tantamount to saying that should I find myself procreating, I will lose all sense of consideration for those around me. I’m sure it can be difficult to find a babysitter and pay for her services in these trying economic times. I am not unsympathetic to this particular plight. It’s just that it’s not my fucking problem. It’s not my problem that you couldn’t get a babysitter, just like it’s no one’s problem but my own if I can’t attend a party because I have work that I need to finish to meet a deadline. You decided to be a parent, and certain sacrifices come with that decision. Deal with it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that if I decide to see Bolt or Monsters Vs. Aliens, the theater will be filled wtih small people who haven’t yet mastered the art of using their indoor voices. And I accept that, because when I go see a kids’ movie, I am entering their territory. If they could enter my territory and conform to its behavorial expectations, then I would say “the more the merrier” and welcome them with open arms. But they can’t, and they shouldn’t be expected to, because they’re kids. Most of them can’t even sit still through the entirety of a movie created specificaly for their demographic, much less a two hour-plus film that grapples with concepts they aren’t even aware exist. The burden of responsibility lies with the parents, so when I see a kid under five at The Watchmen, the only conclusion I can come to is that I’m witnessing an act of bad parenting.
The Watchmen is rated R, and wtih good reason. The violence is constant and filmed with the kind of loving attention to detail that is usually reserved for those documentaries that show the complete time-warped blooming process of a flower. A movie that features a character getting his hands hacked off with some kind of woodcutter and which features more penis than I’ve seen in my entire life is not a place for a child. (Seriously, there was more penis in this movie than in your average porno: http://www.hceklerspray.com/watchmen-utilises-blue-penis-power-to-top-weekend-box-office/200921910.php. I can only imagine the kind of lifetime trauma and bizarre predilections that much exposure to a blue penis could inflict on a child in her formative years.) If your child has yet to reach the age where he is able to maintain general control of himself in a public setting, then perhaps you should take the MPAA ratings guide to heart and act accordingly. If the wishes of fellow moviegoers hoping to have a pleasant experience doesn’t move you, then do it because you don’t want to stumble upon the knowledge 10 years down the road that your kid keeps a jar of blue body paint under the bed next to his stash of Playboys.
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