The Truth about Disney's Evil Parents  7/13/98

Dear Mr. Steele

Maybe you can clear something up for me. Why is it that in most movies put out by Disney there is either a parent missing or an evil step-parent? Has anyone else noticed this? Are they telling the world that two-parent intact families are blah? Come to think of it a lot of their movies have characters with no parents at all! Hmmm.



No child without an evil step-parent or two has ever had an Adventure. The entire point of childhood is to keep Adventure to a minimum. Because what goes side-by-side with Adventure, boys and girls? That's right . . . Danger. With few exceptions, if a child has an Adventure it's the result of what we like to call 'Bad Parenting.'

Adventure was strictly forbidden in my house. 'No Adventure' was posted on the refrigerator just below 'Brush your teeth ' and above 'Feed the Dog.' Sadly my parents' definition of Adventure was rather liberal. Adventure to my mother included crossing Route 130 on my bicycle and playing high-school football (I probably could have won that battle if I'd really tried -- but as a gangly kid who'd never been good at a single sport I felt no particular compulsion to add football to my then-current list of 'Things At Which I Suck').

My father was no better. Adventure to him meant going to the mall twice in one week.

'Dad can I go to the mall?'

'The mall? Didn't you just go Tuesday? No son; I think you've had enough Adventure. Have a seat we'll watch some TV together.'

Needless-to-say my childhood was not fraught with peril.

There is another -- more sinister -- reason why all fictional Adventurers have Bad Parents. This goes way beyond Disney here. Indiana Jones ran into his house as a boy -- out of breath and clearly upset about something -- and his father ordered him to count to ten in Hebrew before he'd even talk to him.

'Dad! Dad! There's a snake attached to my ass!'

'Hold on son . . . you skipped seven. Begin again.'

And Luke Skywalker's father; a Bad Parent on a galactic level. He was so busy crushing the universe he didn't even know his wife had twins.

So where are all these Bad Parents coming from? I'll explain.

All stories are written by writers (with the exception of the Rocky which was written by Sylvester Stallone) (it's true, look it up). Writers are driven to write for two reasons:

(1) They require some form of acceptance on a massive scale.

(2) They're lazy agoraphobics who want to be rich without leaving the house, if possible.

For now, I'll completely ignore 'Reason (3) Chicks dig writers ' because while I'm sure that contributes to some other Truth out here, it does nothing for this particular argument. Reason (1), however, plays right into my hands.

Most of you arm-chair shrinks out there have already guessed where I'm going with this; and I'm sure it's right out of some psychiatry textbook I'll never read . . . but for someone to do all that work just for acceptance strongly suggests that they never received acceptance as a child.

Ergo sum: All writers were raised by evil, wicked, people. And what's Rule #1 to writing? Write what you know.

Did you know that George Lucas based Darth Vader on his father? Imagine you raise a son, and he bases a 6'6 lung-machine-sounding Nazi-helmet-wearing throat-crushing-from-across-the-room horrific-menace-to-the-galaxy on you.

'Cats in the Cradle' it ain't.

The Truth for the Day: Don't be nice to your children, or they'll never grow up to be famous.