Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blast from the Past: YOU GET NOTHING

Hey, Blog.  I got your analytics up and running so now I can track page views.  Yesterday we had a  visitor!  Look's like the water is really boiling now.  We'll probably get an endorsement deal soon.  The pressure's definitely on to deliver, in any case.  Of course, I worked a night shift last night, so I'm pretty wiped out.  Here's an old retro post I never published; I have a few of these lying around, so expect to see them over the next week:

Last night I was thinking of how terribly unfair life is, because when you’re depressed, that’s a topic worth mulling over.

Specifically, I was thinking that one of the most unfair aspects of life is that we’re taught that life is fair, and then have to find out later that it’s not.  For some reason, we live in a society that happily and insincerely fills the brains of our little ones and then, laughing, rips the rug out from under their feet.

When I was contemplating this last night, I thought of the example of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which is a warm-hearted tale of a poor little boy who gets his own candy factory from a probable pedophile, while all of his wretched peers get their ironic come-uppances: the glutton gets caught in a chocolate tube and nearly dies, a gum-chewer gets turned into a blueberry person, a TV-obsessed kid gets shrinked, and a spoiled brat gets thrown down a garbage chute.  Okay, they’re not exactly perfect analogies, but the way their demises all come about are supposed to be ironic.

But then I realised something: Charlie Bucket was never actually tempted.

In every child’s case, they were tempted with the single most important aspect of their existence.  For example, the gum-chewer was presented with some gum, and the TV-obsessed kid was presented with a TV.  What about Charlie?  He wasn’t specifically tempted with anything.

Now, you might argue that Charlie was free from such obsessions, and that the reason he won the contest was that he was the best choice, the most selfless child.  But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been equally tempted.  We know, for example, that his family was very, very poor and that he had grandparents who were deathly ill and immobilised.  Why didn’t Willy Wonka take the kids to see the vault where all the money is kept, or perhaps a gumdrop-powered wheelchair?  It seems to me that Wonka tipped his hand a little and Charlie won because he had the unfair advantage of never actually having been tempted in a way comparable to the trials faced by the others.

In this way, I supposed, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is a great story because it reinforces the ideas that:

1) Anything is possible.

2) Life’s not fair, fuck you.

3) Slave labour is okay as long as they look different from you.

4) For real, fuck the Oompa-Loompas, life’s not fair.

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