Sunday, October 25, 2009

Feel the Fear - and Read It to Your Children Anyway

Feel the Fear - and Read It to Your Children Anyway by Jane Ruffino

More about children and scary literature with discussions of Maurice Sendak and references to the CBeebies editing of Humpty Dumpty again. Nothing new, but definitely on the side of NOT editing for children to the point where I start to want to argue the other side.

For example, the extreme:

Earlier this month, US magazine Newsweekinterviewed author Maurice Sendak about the film adaptation of Sendak's classic story Where The Wild Things Are. When asked what he'd say to parents worried the movie might be too scary, Sendak said, "I would tell them to go to hell." Childhood is an exhilarating and bloodcurdling journey, and Sendak has no tolerance for parents who would pretend otherwise.

More moderate:

American author Michael Chabon has lamented the erosion of "the wilderness of childhood", where kids once explored dangers and delights without constant surveillance. Children are filled with fears of strangers, and then, paradoxically, subjected to stories with the danger edited out.

"Childhood is, or has been, or ought to be," says Chabon, "the great original adventure, a tale of privation, courage, constant vigilance, danger, and sometimes calamity."

Edited to add a link to this article, too: Commentary: 'Where the Wild Things Are' is scary, but so is life by Ruben Navarrette Jr

I get it. We really, really, really like our children. In fact, we love our children and we think they're the most precious little darlings ever created, and so naturally we want to protect them. And we should protect them from some things -- predators, disease, abuse, etc. But we shouldn't protect them from all things. And we certainly can't protect them from life. And part of life is getting scared now and then. In time, we learn to separate reality from fantasy.

And yet, while one infamous set of parents could face criminal charges for pretending their son was in a balloon, other parents think nothing of keeping their kids in a bubble.

And that is that...a lot of arguments against creating tea-cup children...with this movie release.

All a little on the slant and over a movie I'm not that interested in seeing, I must admit. And after attending a Halloween party with 80+ kids last night, the majority dressed in scary costumes, all rather interesting for consideration and debate.

And it's all generalized, too, for I think in the end it depends on the kids and their individual personalities to a great extent. I hate horror movies and always have but I immerse myself daily in rather terrifying fairy tales...

1 comment:

  1. My feelings are that scary films and scary books are very different animals. Scary films always left me feeling truly uncomfortably frightened. There's something about SEEING horrific images. Whereas I delighted in being scared by books. I think when you read a scary story you're more in control - your imagination does much of the work. In a film you surrender much of your control to the filmmaker. But it is an interesting debate. I'm not interested in the Wild Things film at all - not sure why as I adore the book and Maurice Sendak.