Words By S.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

My Love Affair With Johnny Weir.

Everyone and their mother is discussing Johnny Weir these days.  He is very much in the spotlight and consistently polarizes people, even more so with his ever popular television show, Be Good Johnny Weir.  My foray into his world is a very new and recent one – and I wish to share my story of Johnny discovery with you all.  It is one of gross misconception, ignorance, and finally becoming enlightened and enthralled. (more…)


Sunday, 1 March 2009

On Child Actors.

Filed under: Film,Television — S @ 5:05 pm

I am of the multitude of moviegoers that is prone to announcing, “ugh, I hate child actors” with the utmost disgust.

Normally, I avoid films in which there would be an abundance of child actor presence, however months ago, I saw the [Swedish] film “Let The Right One In” and it made me ever so slightly change my tune (but, not by a whole lot).

The film stars two 12 year old Swedish children, one who plays a vampire.   They were both very good actors – actually, all of the children in the film were very good actors.  And afterwards, my friends and I commented on how normal and typical “every day” everything in the movie seemed.

That, in addition some interviews and articles I have been reading, got me to thinking…  Perhaps I don’t “hate child actors,” for the ones I’ve seen in a number of films (including ones that I grew up watching) aren’t all bad (after all, one of my favorites was always the French short film ‘The Red Balloon”).  There is such a difference between child actors in British and American film, and other forms of cinema that perhaps I just hate the child actors that I see every day.

To me, there’s nothing more irritating and creepy than the Dakota Fannings and Haley Joel Osments of the world with their cherub faces, and well-before-their-time intellect.  It’s almost as if they’re pod people, or even robots, sent down to suck the lives out of the normal every day people of the world, merely by appearing on film.

And let’s not get started on the Olsen twins…

At the same time that I am freaked out by them, I also have no choice but to feel pity for them.  It’s almost like pageant children who are picked out because they’re “cute” and shoved into show business by money/fame hungry parents who may or may not have their best interest at hand (Jean Benet Ramsay, anyone?).

In addition, when the child actors grow up, most of the time, they’re never as “cute” as they were when they were 6 or 7, instead looking like some bizarre, older and caricatured version of their younger selves;  and they end up royally fucked up, coked out, and corrupted.

How and why does this happen?

On the rare occasion that it doesn’t happen, how is it that they escaped the “child actor curse”?

How often is it that we see former child actors parodying themselves on television sitcoms or cameoing their past characters in slapstick films?

Sometimes, though, I do enjoy child actors.  I like it when I see an adolescent that acts and seems like a normal human being.  I like it when they look normal, as well – like all the children in ‘Let The Right One In’.   To me, it  seems like they’re the types who are well-adjusted, and will grow up to be normal adults.  Perhaps even not getting stuck parodying themselves for the rest of their existence.

I guess it’s more that I pity child actors…

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Teaching Death.

Filed under: Books/Literature,Film,Life,Ramblings,Television — S @ 9:03 am

Watching a very funny episode of The Robinsons* during which George had to teach his six-year-old about what death was, I began to think of how one would actually go about teaching a child what death is. It definitely raised a number of questions, such as:

  • How old should a child be when taught about death?
  • How does one go about bringing up the topic?
  • What is considered appropriate and inappropriate when teaching death?
  • What to do if questions about an “afterlife” should arise (particularly if, like me, you’re atheist)?

Granted, I do not have kids, so I won’t have to concern myself with this issue for quite some time (if ever) – it is a good topic to educate yourself in. Just how do you teach death?

In Little Miss Sunshine, the topic of suicide is brought up around a seven-year-old, in what turned out to be one of the funniest scenes ever in a film, and they were brutally honest. In The Robinsons, it took George days to figure out what to tell his son, and finally he gave a dictionary explanation chock full of synonyms – obviously much too confusing for a developing mind.

There are also a number of books on the subject, such as:

Butterflies: Talking With Children About Death… And Life Eternal by Rev. P William Vanderwyden (naturally, this book assumes that you want to teach your child the Christian philosophy)

My Pet Died (Let’s Make A Book About It) by Rachel Biale

Pet Death (Death, Value, And Meaning) by Sandra Helene Straub

And countless others, either dealing with death according to a particular religion, or dealing with the death of pets. But, is that all there is?

Say your child is raised atheist and without pets, then what? What “handbook” are you supposed to use for teaching your children about death?

Are you to be technical and medical at that point? Are to say, “Well, you simply just cease to exist”? Why are there so few secular books about death that do not deal with the issue of pet loss? Are you expected to just be brazenly honest?

To my readers with children – how do you teach children about death?

* = If you’ve never heard of/seen this show, you really must. It is a hoot!

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