Awful Lessons Taught by Familiar Stories

beautiful young woman read bookThere are fairy tales, folk tales, books and movies that have become so familiar to us that they are programmed into our nerve endings. In most cases, we are taught to see positive messages in these stories. On the other hand, there are multi-layers in these familiar tales, and if we look deeper into them we find some lessons that are best left untaught. Here is a partial list of these sneaky subliminal messages.

Batman: You can always recognize an evil person because they are the weirdest looking bunch of psychopaths on the planet.

Beauty and the Beast: Bestiality will be rewarded.

Cinderella: Your most important measurement is your shoe size.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears: If you are a cute little blonde kid, it is okay to wander into a house when the occupants are out, eat their food, mess up their furniture and sleep in their beds, then, when they come home and find you, run away without even offering to clean up after yourself.

Hansel and Gretel (a): If you get lost in a forest, you won’t freeze or starve or be attacked by a wild animal. You just have to stay away from evil, cannibal witches.

Hansel and Gretel (b): If you don’t have any food in the house and your kids are pestering you because they’re hungry, it’s okay to send them out into the woods to pick berries, even if an evil, cannibal witch lives nearby.

... like this one.
… like this one.

Jack and the Beanstalk: Breaking, entering and burglarizing is perfectly okay, as long as the victim is a giant.

Old Yeller: It’s alright to cry buckets of tears when Old Yeller gets rabies and the kid has to shoot him. (Yes, this is a GOOD lesson. I just want to see if you are paying attention.)

Rumpelstiltskin: It’s okay to get someone to do all your work for you, then stiff him on his wages.

Shrek: It’s a lot of fun to pick up random animals in the woods and fields and blow them up into helium balloons.

Sleeping Beauty: It is perfectly alright to sleep for 36,500 days, and no, you won’t die of hunger and thirst in the process.

Snow White: Necrophilia will be rewarded.

Star Wars (a): Never try to kill a wicked monster who destroys whole planets because he might turn out to be your long lost father.

Star Wars (b): A brave, intelligent, resourceful, valiant young woman like Princess Leia is appreciated, but she will never be invited to train as a Jedi because … well … she’s a woman. She also needs a new hairdresser.

Superman: Forget what you hear about journalists who go after stories with all the energy they have. Big metropolitan newspapers hire mild mannered reporters.

The Lord of the Rings: If you think you are being spied on by a huge, fiery eye, you are.

The Terminator: A machine that used to be a murdering monster will make a great substitute father if you reprogram his brain.

The Wizard of Oz (a): You can kill evil, green-skinned people by forcing them to bathe.

The Wizard of Oz (b): It is worth it to risk your life for a great pair of shoes.


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12 thoughts on “Awful Lessons Taught by Familiar Stories”

    1. That’s something I wouldn’t know. I do know that Han Solo has great buns, though. I guess it was inevitable that the two of them would end up together and produce some great looking, buff kids.

  1. Kathy, I think you have hit the nail on the head! And that shoe thing in Cinderella and The Wizard of OZ may explain my shoe fettish! Yes, I’m re-posting too! Great job.

    1. Thanks. 😀

      I must be the only woman in the world who hates shopping for shoes and who doesn’t go gaga over them. I attribute this to my sensitive, easily injured feet and ankles and my wide width shoe size. I am a big fan of Crocs.

      On the other hand, I am a serious collector of handbags. Sometimes I have to go into my stash and give at least half of them to a local thrift shop, just to make room.

  2. This is really a very insightful piece that you have written. I know that some people have claimed that those messages really do have an effect on kids but I’ve always thought that they were being a little hysterical but now that you’ve illuminated the case so vividly, I don’t know, maybe they’re onto something.

    And you know what – I did cry buckets over that scene in Ol’ Yeller.
    I was about five years old and it traumatized me.

    I also cried when Dorothy had to go home and leave her friends in Oz. It didn’t traumatize me but it did make me really sad.

    My early experiences with cinema were kind of rocky. My mom would take my sister and me to the drive-in all the time but she didn’t give much thought to the psychological impact of cinema and movies weren’t rated in those days.

    I remember when, around the age of six, we were at the drive-in, I think the movie was Jail House Rock. There were these thugs on a pier. It was late at night and they stab this guy to death. I remember asking myself. Did they really kill that guy? I know this is a movie but it looks like they really killed that guy. How did they talk him into that? They must have offered him a ton of money but what good is that doing him if he’s dead?

    I think that was the moment when I first began to wonder about how movies are actually made.

    1. I used to get traumatized by TV shows, like The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Fortunately, I grew out of that!

      Old Yeller will always get to me. I never cry in movies, but I come closest at ones like that.

      I don’t remember any scenes of murder in Jail House Rock, so maybe that was another movie that you saw. I love your description of your six-year-old logic. Smart kid!

  3. Reposting. Well, after a pause. I got the message that I was posting too fast. Should slow down and smell the roses, except we’re under drought restrictions down here, and darned if I’m going to go outside and sniff the cacti.

    1. Roses smell good. Skunks don’t. We get both around here. 😀

      BTW, I have gotten that same message at times. The only thing to do is copy what you have just written, wait a moment, then check to see if your comment appeared. If it didn’t, start a new one and paste your comment into it. It usually works then.

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