There’s a commercial that plays on a lot of new dvd rentals these days. Apparently I’ve been too busy making fun of it to remember what the product and company names are, but its boast is something like: “Now you can take your movies with you wherever you go!” It shows a squeaky clean American family sitting together on the couch watching movies. Then it shows how the cute little boy (about eight years old) can watch movies anywhere: in his playhouse! at the beach! with his friends! You get to see a movie (Rio) playing on his handheld device, and then you see a little glimpse — a thin margin of real life, you might say — around the edges of his handheld movie. White sand and blue sky, the tops of the heads of his faceless friends, or the wooden edges of his playhouse.
I would be so sad if my sons could only talk about the beach as the place where they first watched Toy Story. Or if their fellowship with friends consisted of a group sitting around watching their own handheld movies.
Today’s technology is amazing, and very scary sometimes. Since I live four seconds away from screeching chaos at any given moment, I know the horrible temptation to put on a movie and grab a few minutes to myself while the children stare at a screen like zombies. I actually have to make movies as inconvenient as possible just to put one more obstacle between me and that easy relief. (For instance, if we set up the portable dvd player for a long ride in the car, we take the system down again immediately after so it won’t be readily available for short car rides. And we got rid of the tv before any of our babies were born in favor of a projector system that requires a lot more work than the flip of a switch.)
The thought of putting a constant stream of movies into the pockets of my rambunctious little boys seems crazy.