When I was a little boy, I was very fond of giant monster movies. You know the sort. The ones with men in rubber suits pretending to be a hundred feet tall. Later, of course, I realized how ridiculous they were. But, at the time, they seemed genuinely terrifying.
And I was always a sucker for the sort of story where a young person…even a child…leads the way, confronting the monster with unexpected bravery. That sort of thing happened a lot in the plots of Japanese monster flicks in the 1960s. Not always, but sometimes…
I lost touch with such films as I grew older. Or, perhaps, they lost touch with American culture. The giant beast was replaced by smaller, more intimate horrors…the slashers and serial slayers, Freddy and Jason…who killed on a smaller scale, but did so with greater sadism, and more opportunity for torture…
Still, I rather miss stories of overwhelming, gigantic beasts savaging whole nations. They had a certain simple artistry about them. They were symbols pure and simple, and required no deep thought to interrupt. Sometimes, I have in recent years found myself yearning for a good old-fashioned big monster movie…a Cloverfield, perhaps, but one with a happier ending. And I would like to see the beast outwitted, confronted, by a young person again…just like in those movies from youth.
And, surprisingly enough, I seem to have gotten my wish.
You will recall that on March 24, young people and their supporters rallied all over the country to protest gun violence. I attended my local such rally, and it was impressive, but I would have loved to have seen the one in Washington D.C., in a which a million people are said to have appeared.
And then, naturally, the NRA appeared…mocking and threatening. And in its statements there was always (of course) the hint of violence.
Only, this time, I think the NRA has picked on the wrong people. The youth of our nation seem to have no intention of backing down.
And so, you see, I delight in my story.
I have a monster. I have young people of virtue and courage.
And, when all is said and done, I suspect that I shall my happy ending…
Just like when I was ten, and believed still in the potential purity of our complicated world.