So, you got sucked into the Transformers reboot? Three times, even? And though you somewhat enjoyed some of it, you were left unsatisfied? Something, something deep in your soul, just didn’t feel right?
Remember Star Wars? How you tried to pass your deep affection for Luke Skywalker and Han Solo on to your children, but found that what they got from it was something strange and alien? You wanted them to embrace Yoda’s wisdom and clarity, but they only marveled at how cool Darth Maul looked? You wanted them to identify with Luke Skywalker and the importance of resisting the dark side, but found that their favorite character was Anakin? Disturbing, isn’t it?
I remember. And it disturbs me.
So, now kids have Indiana Jones Lego video games. They have an endless well of Star Wars characters in all shapes, sizes, and price points. They know the faces and names of the Muppets. But it seems like they’re missing what was originally so important about these characters and movies.
And I wonder if I’ve done that to them.
In the process of mining my childhood fascinations, the Machine (or The Powers That Be or They) took more than my cash. It changed me into the Empire itself, an Empire of marketing and consumerism that replaces childlike imagination and wonder. In my youth I loved giant robots that could turn into cars, archeologist adventurers, foam puppets, and most of all lasersword-wielding goodguys. But somewhere along the line, so many action figures and lunch boxes later, I forgot what was so lovable about them in the first place. The noise of it all overtook my simple attachment. And the capitalist pop-culture Machine of the 80s created, in me, its greatest masterwork. It created this nostalgia. And its lived off me for decades. And left me an undiscerning sucker, a cash machine, a vending pump with a cheap and endless supply of blind, numb childish allegiance.
So, I want to shake my fists at the Machine. I want to scream, “Get your greedy, stinking fingers out of my nostalgia!” I want to redeem my soul from the emptiness of nostalgia and barren sentimentality. I want to liberate the youth of today from the decay of Hollywood/Hasbro revamps and retreads and reboots.
So, here’s my appeal to you all: Please break the cycle. It can end here. Michael Bay is making a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. And there’s no need for it. There’s money to be made off us, sure. But beyond the almighty dollar, there’s no benefit to humanity or pop-culture to having yet another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
And all it would take is for every one of us to refuse to buy into it. We could start by refusing to watch the movie (and not renting it either), refusing to buy the toys, refusing to play the video games, or visit the blog, or read the updates. We could disown it entirely. And in doing so, we could begin the process of freeing ourselves from this machine.
I appeal to you as Neo would appeal to the mass of humanity plugged into the artificial framework delivered to them as reality. This is not real. And when we say, “Enough is enough,” we might find that there is still something original and beautiful created in the world today. Something new. Something that inspires us to think real thoughts, our own thoughts. Something that stirs real, deep emotions, not sentimental, plastic, dollar-shaped feelings that are here one minute and gone the next.
We can end this.
- I am A. Turk
Coming up: Part Two, But What About Batman?