Amanuensis (amanuensis1) wrote,
Amanuensis
amanuensis1

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Non-sexual squick: fish-out-of-water syndrome.

While common sense tells me I should see Enchanted--it's a Disney movie, Menken songs, well-reviewed, likely to be seen by enough Disney fans that I will want to assimilate it into my reference knowledge--there's something about the premise that hits my squick buttons: the humiliating fish-out-of-water factor.

Watching someone flounder (no pun intended) in a situation completely unfamiliar to them--a situation so familiar to us, the audience, that it's meant to provoke laughs at the someone's expense--is hideous to me, makes me run out of the room crying. Whether the floundering is because the situation is merely alien to the individual, or because the individual has a mental handicap, I react the same way. It doesn't matter how well it's done, or how warm-heartedly it's meant.

I can't listen to people tell me how Being There is one of their favorite movies, or how Star Trek IV (the one with the whales and the time-travel) is the best film of the franchise. I wept fat howling tears over Pleasantville and The Jerk. Don't even think of asking me to see Elf. I especially--god, it's hard to talk about this trigger--will freak when someone is portrayed as being hungry but does not know how to go about getting food in their alien situation. Not because they're being denied it--watching someone starve because they're trapped or having food deliberately withheld is awful, but in a general "horror" sense--but because it's easily obtainable if they just knew how to get it. The idea that they might go hungry under those circumstances terrifies me.

Some people have tried to tell me I'm viewing these all wrong, that they're meant to be uplifting, to show how adversity can be met with innocence--I can't hear it, can't even listen to the defense without running away crying.

And it's because each time it's a situation the viewer's familiar with--our world, one we adapt in every day--that I'm sickened, struck by the humiliation. Stanislaw Lem wrote a book called Return From the Stars where an astronaut from our era returns to Earth far in the future, and refuses to spend precious time in re-orientation--he just chucks it and goes out into this unfamiliar world to acclimate as he goes. And that doesn't distress me, because our heads are with him, in his head--not in the heads of the people who see him and are puzzled at his ignorance. From his point of view, we move along with him and think he's doing pretty well, we're doing pretty well, for someone who doesn't know the rules and is feeling his way. Pleasantville doesn't bother me to watch the brother and sister try to function in the television fantasy world, because they're more knowledgeable than the people of the world into which they go. What gets me is when the rules of the fantasy world start breaking down, and the fantasy world inhabitants have no idea how to cope with the new rules as their world turns into ours.

(Forrest Gump doesn't bother me much, but that's just because it's dumb and I can't suspend my disbelief for any of it. About the time we got to the "I taught Elvis how to move" part I was gagging.)

So I may just have to read the synopsis on Enchanted and leave it at that.
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