A daddy blog.

12 July 2008

Cartoon Violence

Marriage and fatherhood are, as Drew Magary has written, involve Lilliputian-style schedules that tie you down one limb at a time. So it was that I missed the midnight opening screening of Dark Knight and instead caught the 10:45 AM Sunday church-skipping showing.

I'd been waiting for this, for reasons I will make clear. I am the kind of dorkus paternus who integrates his daughter into his daily life by concocting juvenile fantasies about protecting my her amidst a gunfight, defending her from aliens, etcetera.

I've always had a borderline autistic-level obsession with the kind of action sequences that never happen in real life. But it was not until Junebug came along that I integrated a real person as a consistent character-in-distress into these things.

Before 2008, I'd had occasional thoughts about how I might jump in front of a car to save a niece or nephew. Delusional granduer, sure, but on a manageable scale. In contrast, in the week preceding TDK's release, I have gamed out the following possibilities:
  • Ragezombies have infiltrated an anonymous home. I and others have made it behind a protective barrier, but someone forgot Bug. So I head out amongst the contaminated with some of the sharper kitchen appliances in hand. I grab Bug from her crib before they discover her, deliver her across the barrier as a first priority (there's like a chickenwire fence inside this residence, for some unexplained reason) and then engage in some Cutco-to-motherfucker combat. The fantasy usually loses steam before the protagonist manages to make it back to safety or get fatally bitten.
  • Protagonist (this one is not me) is stuck in run of the mill gunfight when he realizes there's a baby in the mix. Protagonist takes his own Kevlar off (Why do I knows what Kevlar is? Why is it a word popular enough for Blogger to suggest I capitalize it? Why is the internet run by dorks?), swaddles it around the babe, and shoots his way out. This one runs out of steam quickly because honestly, how many different ways can one guy shoot seven guys?
  • No, the real challenge, which my brain for some reason keeps trying to find a way to justify, is a protagonist riding on a baby carriage with a baby inside while firing at henchmen. So far, I haven't been able to justify the maneuver as a defensive act. It always comes off as a jerk looking to shield himself behind a carriage. But I have to spend a lot of time pushing a carriage in real life, and at some point a justification will come to me.
It's all quite mature.

I realize this emphasis on saving the cute and innocent is how the mass of humanity thinks about dramatic violence. We expect Ripley to go back after Newt.

But now when I watch The Untouchables, I expect I'll stupidly gasp every time we see the carriage rolling down the stairs. (I still will not gasp as the anonymous sailors get shot to death one after the next.)

In short, I am now stupidly biased in favor of babies. Should Galactus eat a planet, I will want to know if there were any cherubs consumed in the act.