|Luna a few months ago just being silly.|
Luna and I were cuddling on the couch the other morning watching an old episode of Tom And Jerry. At one point in the episode, Tom has apparently used up his last life, as he gets hit by a piano and subsequently rides a golden elevator up to cat-heaven.
Let me start by saying that I do not deprive my children of culture or of learning experiences. I would love for them to explore the various possibilities of belief systems, either through scholarly interest or active participation, but it is up to them which, if any, they would ultimately choose. I do not seek to force anything upon them.
I get annoyed when people who are not their parents and have not been given permission take it upon themselves to try to teach their particular brand of morality and mythology to my children (such as, “Hey, Luna, is Santa coming over?” which has led to Luna’s repetition of “Santa’s coming!” every day since then…)
I’m sure any parent feels the same about unwanted interference in the nurturing and raising of their children. I wouldn’t presume to tell any future friends of Luna’s what they should and should not believe, except in the improbable event that they’re parents gave me permission to do so, but even then my role as indoctrinator is unlikely, as I prefer to let children find their own paths in such matters.
So back to the escalator to heaven.
Luna saw this scene unfolding, and I asked her, “Where is he going?”
When Tom got to the top of the stairs, he was greated by a great golden gate that said, “Heaven Express,” beyond which stood waiting a golden train. There was a ticket counter where another cat was stamping in a book next to the names of cats in the line that were approved to board.
Luna shouted, “He’s goin’ to Wah-Mart!”
Which incited riotous giggles from the both of us.
Tom tried to sneak past, but the ticket counter guy made him stop and looked up Tom’s name. He chided Tom on spending his life “torturing an innocent mouse” and told Tom that his ticket to kitty-heaven lay in getting a certificate of forgiveness signed by Jerry.
The next several scenes were Tom trying to force Jerry to sign and trying to forge the signature, finally culminating in a last-ditch begging and pleading effort. Jerry finally gave in and signed, but it was too late and Tom plummeted to hell. He landed in a boiling burning cauldron with a doggy devil laughing mockingly.
Luna saw this and shouted, “He trying to hot himself!” over her own endless giggling.
The episode took a Wizard-of-Oz-esque turn, however, when it turned out the burning sensation of feline-hell was simple embers from the fire Tom had fallen asleep to close to. He woke up and ran gratefully to Jerry, picking him up and giving him multiple kissing atop his tiny mousie head.
A cartoon that was designed to teach children the concepts of apology and forgiveness and the perils of bullying, as well as the notion of where that can lead you (heaven and hell), was lost on Luna. She only saw kitties, a mousie, and a doggy. She only saw things on the surface.
I am grateful that my years in college have helped me gain more skills in an area that I suppose I’ve always been good at, reading deeply into things that I watch and read and picking them apart. Even as a child, I never saw my cartoons as just cartoons. But I am glad, for now, that’s all Luna sees. I cannot help that everything she watches and reads will attempt to indoctrinate her into a set of ideals. I want to teach her to read between the lines, to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. But, for now, I am happy that she is not as jaded as I am that she cannot enjoy a simple cartoon for a simple cartoon’s sake.
And if you think about it, there really can be parallels drawn between Wal-Mart and heaven or Wal-Mart and hell. I’ll leave it to the imagination of you dear readers to draw those parallels, for I am in need of a return to my homework at this point.
Aerosmith–Yeah, you’re so jaded, and I’m the one that jaded you.