Saturday, March 26, 2016

The moral of the story is guns!

NRA Family:
'...we'll fucking end you.'
(actual slogan)*
Hey, if someone re-wrote Little Red Riding Hood so that the little girl has a rifle and grandma's a shotgun-toting badass, you'd think it was kind of messed up, right? Like, it's the kind of thing you'd read to your child if you want them to grow up to be a serial killer. The NRA however, disagrees. Probably with almost everything you believe in, but specifically on the family-friendliness of awkwardly rewriting fairytales to teach kids important lessons about gun-ownership and publishing them on their website, NRAFamily.

"Ok Gretel, remember, if she gives us
any trouble, we smoke the bitch."
So far they've adapted Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. Now, instead of being helpless children who get kidnapped by a cannibalistic symbol for medieval European anxieties about starvation and non-Christians, Hansel and Gretel are hunters who come across a house in the woods. Weirdly, for an NRA thing anyway, the two kids stage an armed home invasion and free some other random children the witch was saving for lunch. They then call the cops and have the witch arrested which is less violent than way the original story ends, but I think the moral here is that the witch should have had a gun too.

The Growing Patriots® series,
"Putting white males front and center..."
(another actual slogan)†
According to Amelia Hamilton, the conservative children's author who wrote the gun-ier versions:

"The stories are also really for adults to. And it's all about safety and it's for parents to start those conversations..."

-Amelia Hamilton, author of Growing Patriots 
a series of propa-uh, children's stories

Safety? Ok, Hansel and Gretel's parents did hand their children rifles and send them out into a witch-infested forest to hunt for food so call maybe CPS?

For once I think we can actually
be grateful for Disney-fication...
In the same interview, Hamilton also expressed surprise that many of her critics hadn't actually read the stories, which, I'm not sure is true, at least, how would she know? Anyway, I did, and yeah they totally read like transparent NRA propaganda about how much safer we'd all be if we all had guns. I guess her point is that the stories are much less violent than the way the traditional version ends, but that's kind of a low bar. I mean there's Gretel burning the witch alive, the wolf eats Riding Hood's Grandma and holy shit, the Little Mermaid sells her tongue to a witch who slices her fish-tail in half. 

Above: Gretel shoving an elderly
woman into an oven where she
dies screaming. Sleep tight kids.
Ok, fine, menacing fairy tale villains with guns is somewhat softer than the whimsical tales of immolation and murder we're used to. Great. But are the only options here unrelenting horror or pro-gun indoctrination? I guess my issue with these, apart from the terrible writing and ham-fisted message, is the suggestion that we can only tell violent stories. Sure, in Hamilton's story Hansel and Gretel save two children and the witch is brought to justice-which in 19th century Bavaria is probably still hanging-but the lesson is that these kids were safe because they had guns, which is demonstrably untrue

I'm not sure kids, or a lot of the NRA's membership, get that the threats can be themselves a form of violence. Not to get all bumpersticker on you here, but I don't think it's such a long walk between waving a gun and using one. 
"What? I'm just standing here, pointing a gun in your general direction
and if you happen to place your wallet in my outstretched hand, I might
not shoot you. How is that violent? If anything, you should thank me."

*ok, no it's not.
†yeah, I made that one up too, but c'mon, it's not exactly subtle. 

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