Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tired, tired, tired, tired.

Man, having company wears me out. I really enjoy everyone coming over to visit, but I’m always a little glad to have the quiet when the door shuts behind the last one. Had a really good time with the families this afternoon. We had to postpone our Father’s Day cookout since Robert was still recovering from eye surgery last week, so we did it this weekend. Which was not really a problem, per se, but it did wear me out, especially considering the weekend we’ve had. (For those keeping score, Robert went to Shreveport yesterday morning to get me my new van while I stayed home with both kids [kind of like during the week!], then we went to a birthday party where only one other adult and myself played lifeguard in a swimming pool with about 20 rug rats. Then we got up this morning, Robert mowed, got groceries and we cleaned [until I gave up and had to have a nap].) The food was awesome, the visiting with family even better and the kids had a blast.

Laura’s sacked out in her swing now and Harrison’s watching Speed Racer with the headphones on.

A word about Speed Racer

Why do filmmakers market a movie to kids, make them dream of the moment when they will be allowed to watch it, and then ruin everything by including vulgar language?

A few nights ago, Robert and I went out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. When we walked back in the door, I immediately noticed that Harrison was watching Speed Racer, which was no big thing since I knew Robert had just gotten it for him and had put it on the server so they could watch it. (We keep Harrison’s movies on a server here at the house so that it’s easy for us to play them.) My folks were watching the kids and when Dad offered to play it, Harrison, of course, jumped at it—it’s all he’s been asking about for better than a month. We had, however, not been able to preview it so we didn’t know much about it.

The second thing I noticed, as I was walking in the door, was Speed Racer screaming as he drove down the track, “Get that sh&t off my track!”

Yeah, the same Speed Racer we all watched when we were kids. Screaming obscenities at the top of his lungs.

I won’t pretend I don’t cuss—I’m an adult and that’s a choice I make when I’m around other adults with whom I feel comfortable enough to make that choice. But I do my darndest to not cuss in front of my kids. I see lots of adults who do use that kind of language in front of little ones, and it always really irks me. It’s as if they’re saying, “I am who I am and if they don’t like it, tough sh&t! What? They think they’re better than me?”

The thing is, I want my kids to be better than me. That’s why I don’t give my kids lots of candy, that’s why I try to make sure they behave at school and learn as much as they can and that’s why I don’t use potty language in front of them. I want them to have better vocabularies than that. Vulgar language is the least creative, least interesting and least common denominator way to say something—anyone can pop off a cuss word. To voice a complaint in civilized language is a skill that shows intelligence and creativity.

Which brings me back to Speed Racer. And Cars. And The Iron Giant. And a slew of other “kid” shows where the movie makers thought it would be really clever to include cuss words. It angers me, not only because it’s lowest common denominator—really, they couldn’t think of anything else to say how upset they were?—but also because often it has absolutely no narrative driving properties at all. We’re not talking about Rhett Butler not giving a da*n, we’re talking about Speed Racer wanting things removed from his race track.

I just with that allowing my kid to watch the same thing that all his other friends are watching didn’t mean that I had to let his vocabulary suffer for it.

Fortunately, I’ve got an awesome husband who is techy enough that he could take the movie file from our server, find all the bad words and remove them. Even better, he’s techy enough for it and he’s willing to do the work on it. I’m lucky. I don’t know what the rest of the world is expected to do.

Cuss, I guess.

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