In need of childcare on a very rainy Saturday, a troop of trauma-afflicted American children under the care of a temporarily single grandparent (the partner was in bed with a bad cold) arrived at a suburban upstate New York mall to watch the only possible movie for 4-year-olds – “the Storks.”
The grandparent had not been in American movie theaters for at least a decade, and like all of America, movie theaters had metastasized outward, like an unrestrained tumor.
The food was not just some popcorn and a drink – it was a diabolical scheme of parental wealth extraction – the hideous guck called nachos (a bag of chips and yellow sauce in a tiny plastic container) was upwards of 6 bucks, and the puerile mess known as slushies was more, with the bin of butter popcorn another ferocious assault on money. All told, a week’s rent at a two-bedroom in the 80s sent down the corporate gullet, and this for the cheapest eats on the marquee.
The previews were all for Hollywood kid assaults, featuring treacly old-time kids toys given a massive techno-upgrade to bludgeon the youngsters with adult propaganda craft – Lego movies, a vicious entreaty to devour “The Trolls,” everything bombastic, done in super-competent CGI, with the musical care and animated surety of the cinematic masters. This, to peddle horrendous fantasy importunings to the generation to inherit another metastasizing (notice the double use) round of anti-psychotics, ADD pill regimens, and aggressive cliamte catastrophe.
And that was just the preview s – The Storks was banal, disgusting, concentrated pabulum with rich overtones of social disgust against parents, childhood, and worker dignity. Only a thoroughly medicalized, over-earnest drone factory could produce such a paean to baby production, kid brattiness, malevolent technological wizardry, and the corrosive politics of aggrieved white person entitlement.
Naturally, the young folks loved it, with some late-in-the-movie seat-banging that disturbed the nearby adults sufficiently to call into question the proper decorum of senses-banged diaper-wearing attendees.
This is a culture out of control. Whoever, as an adult, had a had in making such a ferociously calculated, splenetic attack upon the pre-preK crowd should be droned into giving back every penny. How many ads, how many rage-inducing monster shows will this generation of children withstand, all before the first day of prison/school?