Kids and the End of the World

Does anyone else remember growing up with The Goonies?  How about the Rat Pack movies?  You know teen angst, a little danger, a little romance.  Or more recently how about the Harry Potter series, or even Twilight (hack-hack)?

Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Ender’s Game!  What is it lately with kids having to save the world?  It isn’t enough that they are still trying to figure out who they are and what their place is in society, they have to help everyone else, too.

Or maybe someone is more brilliant than we give them credit for.  We have all seen our share of conspiracy shows/movies.  I think we have all seen and heard enough to realize that it isn’t in the government’s best interests to tell its people everything.  That naturally makes its citizens less trusting; how much should we trust, how corrupt is the government?  When do the people in power start hiding things for their own benefit instead of just to protect the people they are supposed to serve?

And it does get overdone.  Sure, I think that the U.S. government is probably doing things that could effect our future but hasn’t told the citizens about it.  It could be something as crazy as a stargate program, as dramatic as a threat of invasion, first contact with a species that would panic the population (remember Childhood’s End?), or something that connects all those crazy tidbits of information on Ancient Aliens together.  I don’t know.  Maybe there are Vampires and the governments of the world have been negotiating with them ever since the Black Plague!

But by making kids go through the danger, it makes us more sensitive to it.  An 18 year-old should not have to lead a revolution.  A 12 year-old should not be responsible for Earth’s survival.  It’s unfair to say the least, but it’s also stupid from a practical standpoint.  Kids aren’t put in those situations for the simple reason not that it is too much of a burden for them, but because they don’t yet have the life experiences to succeed at them.  That dynamic makes for a great story and highlights the themes that recent juvenile fiction has focused on.  Maybe that’s why we’re seeing so much of it lately.  I hope so.

I also hope that hitting those themes on such an emotional level will help the public focus on some of the problems brought up in these movies.  Are we pawns of our own government?  Are we being directed in our daily activities or in our pasttimes?  I keep coming back to a plotline of Supernatural for one season.  Leviathons had appeared on Earth and were preparing to make the human population their cattle.  Using the right advertisment and getting the right scientific knowledge together, they were going to sell foods that immediately made people fat and stupid – ripe for harvesting.  I doubt anyone is being quite that blatant, but it would make me feel a little better if I knew what was going on.

About Cian Beirdd

I live with my kitty, and encourage his tuna and catnip addictions. I have a website as well;
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1 Response to Kids and the End of the World

  1. You know, in concept, the new stuff is just another version of Treasure Island and a million other kid books I loved growing up. I don’t think of it as doing the same story a million ways. I think of it as myth remade for each generation.

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