By ROD DREHER • December 27, 2012, 12:16 PM –
Recently in this space I mentioned how Atom Egoyan’s movie version of The Sweet Hereafter was one of the finest films I’d ever seen, but that I had not been able to watch it again after I had children. The film deals with the death of children, and how one makes sense of that. For me, it is simply too nerve-wracking and painful to watch films about children in peril.
It’s not just me. Christopher Bonanos, writing at New York‘s website, says having kids changed the way he watched movies. Excerpt:
Steven Spielberg once said that, after he had children, he changed his mind about the way he’d ended Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The dad who joins the aliens to head off into the galaxy, he said, was created “blithely … Today, I would never have the guy leaving his family and going on the mothership.” The fact that he’s abandoning his children never crossed my mind when I saw that movie as a young person, and I suspect it would puzzle me now.
Yes, I suspect it would do the same for me. Parenthood really is like emigrating to another country, at least if you’re doing it right.
Parenthood changed the way I related to popular culture in a more subtle way, too. I found that I naturally developed — I mean, without thinking about it; it was an intuitive thing — an aversion to certain modes of thought, behavior, and expression in film, music, and suchlike. This was not because these films, etc., involved children in peril, but because I found myself confronted with this question: What kind of world to people who think, talk, and act like this create for my children?