Raising Children in a Post Star Wars Prequel World

photo from george allen babcock

Entertainment Op-Ed by James the Overly Protective but Detached Paternal Unit

Children are born with innocence and wonder that drives them to discover all they can in the world. As protective yet distant parents, we want to encourage this sense of discovery, while protecting them from the instant death that the outside world brings. How do we approach this task while dividing our time with other more self-important pursuits? The answer of course is media.

Televisions, movies, and the Internets are excellent ways to prevent interaction with your children, feed their sense of discovery (there’s an app, channel, and  website for that), and protect them from sudden and unexpected death. But underneath the seductive protection of media lurks dangers of another kind: bad taste in movie selection.

Innocent and dull-witted, our children can be enticed by flashing lights, big explosions, and broadly drawn characters in ridiculous nonsensical plots. More specifically I am referring to the putrid rotting stench of the Prequels. I know, all fathers out there have dreamt of the day when they could take their two and two-thirds kids to the store to pick out light sabers in their favorite colors. Then rush them home and lord over a Force induced battle royal on the living room cushions. The only way to ignite in these types of shenanigans is to spark interest in the universe the Lord Lucas released in 1977. But how can you develop interest in the holy trinity of episodes four, five, and six without your children becoming aware of the dreadful Prequels.

On a tangent, some may say that the Prequels are not so bad for children to watch. For these naysayers I present to you the case study of my niece and nephew. For three years, from the ages of five to eight, my sister’s house was filled with “Meesa want this Annie” and “Midichlorians that Annie.” My sister lost the ability to speak and had to have her children put to sleep. Her husband left her and went on to become a transgender prostitute. All of this, because she let them watch episodes one, two, and three. This is a true story.

So three fingers deep into an Irish Whiskey rant, I’m left with the conundrum. Do I introduce my children to Star Wars and risk them discovering the Prequels on their own? Or do I hide all traces that the Star Wars universe exist like a fundamentalist Christian parent hell bent on deleting Harry Potter from history for his practice of witchcraft? I started to lean toward the latter when I remembered the GoBots. (Bear with me here as I’m now a fourth finger into my whiskey and it is only two o’clock.) As a kid I grew up loving the Transformers. The robots in disguise concept fed my imagination beyond what my abusive father and intellectually stunted mother thought possible. When the GoBots showed up with cheap molded plastic and horrible cartoon, I could smell the knock off like Axe body spray on a pubescent teen. I was six.

If I could sell the original trilogy as the Transformers and the prequels as the GoBots, the battle royal in my living room would be a definite possibility and I wouldn’t have to become a transgender prostitute after all. I set my plan in motion and forced my six and four year old to watch all 6 hours of the only REAL Star Wars movies in one sitting. Despite a few complaints of ‘I’m Hungry’ and ‘Can we please go outside now?’ I’m happy to say that my kids made it through.

The results: mostly indifference. And I think one of them peed on the couch. I’ll count that as a victory. Now where is my bottle of Irish Whiskey? Damn, kids always hide it because I get “Daddy Scary Face” on if I have too much.

Stay tuned for my next article Raising a Teen in a Post Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions World where I discuss hiding the aborted afterbirth of the sequels to the Wachowskis masterpiece.

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