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June Renew: Day Six

I liked Disney stuff okay as a kid. The Little Mermaid was my favorite. I liked how Ariel was kind of a nerd who did her own thing, and for a shy kid like me, it was nice knowing I didn’t have to talk in order to woo my favorite guy. I remember being convinced I’d be able to grow up to be a mermaid. I had dolls and posters and was always drawing them. These stories and films were a big part of my childhood, as I imagine it was for most people my age. But that’s where it remains now, in my past. In fact, the only ‘holdover’ one could say is my consumption of video game content. And if you’re one of the fifty grown-ass men I watch play Super Mario Maker on YouTube as their jobs, I won’t knock the hustle. What I will do is question the adherence to something you’re purely meant to consume not in your present state.

I’ll admit, after all the hype surrounding the “live-action” Little Mermaid, I went back to watch the original. It’s a lot of fun. I can see why I liked it so much as a kid, and could certainly see myself watching it with my daughter one day. But that’s largely where it ends for me. Did it need a remake? No. Is the world better for it? Certainly not. I could go on for ages about how soulless I find all these remakes, how they’re just money-grabs with no heart behind them. It should be obvious, but it’s not. The Lion King 2019 brought in $1.6 billion dollars, becoming one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time. This fact is activating two alarms for me which I think both are conceivable: either there’s a big money laundering scheme underway, or that many people found comfort clinging to nostalgia in the present day.

“Let people enjoy things!” became a massive rallying cry four years ago, when this guy uploaded a video of him absolutely losing his shit at the new Star Wars trailer. We weren’t allowed to talk about how weird it was to see a grown man cry over a corporate product. We had to admire him for his “passion” over a fantasy, only acting as a conduit for its consumption, not construction. Even Mark Hamill got in on playing defense, when just eight years prior, it was perfectly fine to jump down this girl’s throat for her love of Twilight. Not excusing her behavior either. Just affixing one point to another.

It all just feels so strange to claim ownership over something we did not ourselves create. That’s what children do. That’s what I did as a kid. That’s why many kids play with toys they find affinity with. And while I can’t say it “shouldn’t” be here for adults, I urge people to question why it’s important to coalesce and coagulate over entertainment rather than anything else going on in life.

It’s just what happens.

Couples bond over their shared love of a TV show. They may even weave it through their wedding theme if they choose. And this is not to say they can’t. I’m not here to dictate what anyone should do. I’m just ready for people to discover themselves outside of what they did not create. Fandom is one thing. Losing a sense of self when you’re stuck in the elsewhere is a whole different story. I’m glad people have things they can enjoy. I’ll feel better once I unglue myself from caring so much.

Words yesterday: 819.

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