08 June 2018

Ghost stories

In The Adventures of Pinocchio, and the Disney cartoon based thereupon, our favourite puppet-lad is enticed away from schooling and upright behaviour to a place known as Toyland in the original (Pleasure Island in the film), where kids just bum around all day smoking big cigars, etc. And then they get turned into donkeys and are forced into slave labour.

It's a very interesting trope, that of children being warned of about the evil, substitute parent, who will promise them everything their little childlike hearts could desire... in return for enslavement and abuse. Yes, up to and including rape. And this trope is of course based on reality. Hey, remember that cute little song about "The Big Rock Candy Mountain"?
Originally the song described a child being recruited into hobo life by tales of the "big rock candy mountain". Such recruitment actually occurred, with hobos enchanting children with tales of adventure called ghost stories by other hobos. In proof of his authorship of the song, McClintock published the original words, the last verse of which was:

The punk rolled up his big blue eyes
And said to the jocker, "Sandy,
I've hiked and hiked and wandered too,
But I ain't seen any candy.
I've hiked and hiked till my feet are sore
And I'll be d--ned if I hike any more
To be buggered sore like a hobo's whore
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
And there's another, much less funny song called "The Appleknocker's Lament" which tells a brutal story of a young boy being enticed by these ghost stories into a life of sex slavery/regular slavery.

The healthy parent sets boundaries and thus enables the child to develop boundaries of their own. The abusive parent, the abusive partner, the authoritarian political or religious leader, does not allow boundaries; and in return gives the victim/follower permission to act out their darkest fantasies.

We've mentioned before that what authoritarian parenting/politics/religion provides is an excuse for bad behaviour. You see these scumbags coming out of the woodwork as out and proud Nazi racist misogynists now that the Orange Goblin squatting in the White House has given them the signal that that's okay? Remember that Futurama episode where Zapp Brannigan tells his crew that as long as they're "loyal", they can sit around drinking beer in their underpants? And then later they find out that "loyalty" means going on a suicide mission? Exactly the same thing. Hitler took an advanced civilised nation on a goddamn suicide mission with him, in return for 12 years getting to push Jews and Commies around and feeling that they were making Germany great again.

The sad thing is that Pinocchio didn't learn his lesson and later became a Fascist.