Netflix, Wednesday Adams, And The Glorification of Violence Against Males
I was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw a trailer for “Wednesday,” an obvious spinoff of The Adam’s Family that would (apparently) focus on Wednesday Adams.
For those not familiar with the franchise, Wednesday Adams has typically been depicted as a witty character with a dark sense of humor. Despite the dark humor, she is one of the characters the audience is supposed to sympathize with.
At first, I thought this might be cool. I used to enjoy this franchise when I was a kid. I even enjoyed much of the fan-fiction video series Adult Wednesday Adams. The Adam’s Family is known for macabre and somewhat dark humor. Someone is handed a metal rod in a thunderstorm, gets struck by lightning and their hair stands on end, but they are essentially uninjured and a witty comment serves as the punchline. The entire thing is tongue-in-cheek and meant to be cute. While the result of a lightning strike, or throwing knives at one another would be gruesome in the real world, in the world of the Adam’s Family, the rules operate differently. In fiction terms, we would say that this world has a different set of physics. And that is why we enjoy the humor of this franchise.
But when I watched this trailer, that is not what I saw. Instead what I saw was a glorification of violence. Wednesday Adams approaches a group of high school boys in a swimming pool, and after a brief exchange, drops piranhas into the pool with them. The boys rush out of the water, but blood fills the pool around one of the boys below the waist, and he screams. Wednesday can be heard narrating, “I did the world a favor. People like Dalton shouldn’t be allowed to procreate. Getting expelled was just a bonus.”
This trailer is glorifying violence against the genitals of a teenage boy. And somehow none of the reviews or comments I read had any problem with that.
This is not the first time that I’ve seen content that glorified violence against the genitals of males or even against the genitals of a teenage boy. In my early twenties, I saw an indie movie that did the same. As awful as that was, it was not mainstream.
It amazes me that this sort of thing is what the Sexual Revolution has come to.
Would this trailer have been acceptable if the character committing the violence were male and the victim female? America has become a culture of pornography, which tends to explicitly demean those on the screen. In a culture where transgenderism is being pushed on children, so that their bodies, including their genitals, are chemically mutilated before they turn 18, the open glorification of this sort of violence against minors is not surprising.
It was not that long ago that Leftists wanted to turn a blind eye to female genital mutilation in non-western cultures in the name of “tolerance” and “multiculturalism.” Now the same is being glorified in ours.
Tim Burton is the king of macabre. He has used this art form to entertain people and make them laugh for decades. He understands what art is, and he should know better than this, especially in an age of school violence. Why then did Tim Burton and Netflix think that this kind of thing was appropriate and acceptable? Who depicts the castration of a teenage boy as a funny “haha” thing to be enjoyed? Even if he were a bully, this is not acceptable.
After the issues surrounding “13 Reasons Why,” I would have hoped the individuals at Netflix would have made better decisions than this. Clearly, teenagers are very impressionable, and they often emulate what they see in fiction.
I am very concerned that teenagers and other vulnerable people watching this show will see the behavior of Wednesday Adams towards these “bullies” and will seek to emulate it.
In the Old Testament, we see this kind of behavior condemned.
11 “When men fight with one another and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, 12 then you shall cut off her hand. Your eye shall have no pity.
Even in the law of Moses, violence against someone’s genitals was roundly condemned. Contrast this with Pagan cultures that glorified castration to their “gods.” All religions are not created equal. As Augustine pointed out in The City of God in the 5th Century, the behavior of the pagan gods reveals them to be devils, because any supernatural being that behaves in the way that the so-called gods of the Pagans act, is, by definition, a demon.
We cannot sit in horror of the castration of boys in the Holocaust, and then ignore it when the same is done in our culture.
Netflix, likewise, has had a history of going way too far, including the publication of what many have called soft-core child pornography.
The Power of Art
Art is a very powerful thing. The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue (see Proverbs 18:21). Even in our culture, we recognize that “The pen is mightier than the sword.” We also recognize that “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Our society is teetering on a knife edge. We are not a good place. I really don’t see how making a joke about a girl bringing piranhas to school to castrate a teenage boy is helpful in our time.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
- Philippians 4:8 ESV
If we want to change the culture, we are going to have to vote with our dollars. I have a lot of Conservative friends on FaceBook who post about how bad the culture is, and yet they go and spend their money to watch Game of Thrones. As I’ve asked in a previous article, “if Jesus were sitting right next to you, would you still be watching?”
So what can we do?
In the day and age of the Internet, we have an incredible range of options for the type of content we consume. My advice is to put our time and money into content that is enjoyable, entertaining, and edifying. I personally spend a lot of time listening to books on Audible, watching Star Trek, and writing fiction of my own. I am also partial to nature documentaries while I study. Also, YouTube is free and has tons of apologetics talks.
I would also like to point out that there are a lot of Christian authors writing good content. I am not referring to the terrible fluff that most “Christian” films represent. I am talking about excellent writers who are writing great content that stands on its own merit. In the age of Amazon, one does not have to choose between gore or cotton candy.
In the meantime, after reading this heavy article, perhaps something light is in order? Check out the links below to some of my short stories, some AMAZING SciFi, Fantasy and Horror stories from other Christian authors, and a full episode from The Adams Family.
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