Friday, May 11, 2012

Movies and Man-Children: Is Growing Up a Bad Thing?

Steve Rose has a piece in today's Guardian about the increasing presence in Hollywood movies of men who won't grow up. Men who live with their parents, act like kids, play computer games and have traditionally 'childish' hobbies.

I do agree that the overgrown man-child figure in films can be very annoying, but I also don't like the fact we live an a society that worships 'maturity.' Yes, it's important that adults should be capable of earning money, supporting themselves and not behaving like pre-socialisation children (there's a reason all our parents/caregivers taught us the lesson 'If you aren't nice, people won't like you.' Because, seriously, they won't). Note that I said 'capable' - sadly in today's economy, too many people can't do some of these things, through no fault of their own, or temporarily choose not to, to pursue other goals.

But what the hell is wrong with a forty-year-old man liking computer games or collecting Star Wars figures, or meeting up with his friends for a beer? For that matter, what's wrong with a forty-year-old woman liking Hello Kitty t-shirts and collecting Pez dispensers and watching Roller Derby? Whatever it is, I can't see it. And I know I'm voluntarily childless, so I don't need to worry about 'setting an example for the kids,' but honestly - I remember my mother singing along with Paul Simon and Elvis like a loon and it never did me any harm, nor did my dad's devotion to Manchester United.

I have a couple of very immature vices - I love what Americans call soft-serve ice-cream (we call them cones or 99s if they have a chocolate flake stuck in them  - mine always have the flake, all else is sacrilige). I eat chocolate and sugar in amounts that would sicken the average child and send the average adult into a sugar coma. I have no plans to ever stop travelling (definitely not just for the young!) and age has not, so far, given me a taste for 'mature civilised person' alcoholic drinks like wine and whiskey. I still like my vodka drowned in Coke or OJ or, ideally, replaced entirely with peach schnapps.

What about you? Still a child at heart or happy to be mature? What are your most childish vices?


  1. Oh definitely still a child at heart. I play World of Warcraft like there's no tomorrow, I've never outgrown the colour pink (a colour all girls would love when I was in elementary), I love staying up way past my bedtime and I like swinging. In fact, I had some time on the swing last week. I'm never giving those things up.

    I guess, the general conception of being "mature" is being "serious", but if that is the case I never want to grow up!

  2. Still a child at heart in ways... I still read comics, goof around a lot...

    I think the man child phenomenon sort of manifests itself in the sort of person who can't take anything seriously- that's when it crosses the line into a problem.

    And in popular culture, the obvious examples are actors like David Spade, Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Jack Black, that sort... all of whom, personally, I think are complete, well... assholes.

  3. My name is Norma and I obsessively collect stuffed animals. I love animated films and crush on comic book superheroes.

    But like William, I hate slacker movies. All of the above-mentioned actors and their characters are indeed assholes!

  4. I love anime & avatar which basically boils down to Saturday morning cartoons and I get a massive kick out of riding my bike as fast as possible down the hill. I have a real problem with jelly sweets and I love swings!! It's so devilishly deviant to act like a child sometimes particularly when it involves silliness. I love being silly every now and again just to release tension. However where it becomes a problem for me is when I use silliness and infantile behaviour as a defence mechanism against being taken too seriously. It's easier sometimes to say don't mind me I'm just a silly, clumsy messer then to be taken too seriously, or heaven forbid be given too much responsibility. I think this can sometimes be a problem in how women are portrayed or act esp. dumb blonde syndrome

  5. My husband and I like toys, we also like to watch a lot of children's movies. I don't think there is anything wrong with that (or liking icecream, or lollypops) but I do find it difficult to watch adults who will not accept responsibility, that doesn't even mean "get a job, slacker" it means; help with the chores, take initiative, get your head out of your butt"

    Mimi Torchia Boothby

  6. Me and my boyfriend bond over the Nintendo 64 Pokemon stadium game. He is studding to work as a 3d modeler for game industry while I write novels. We watch cartoons while eating supper, and we talk ( argue) about what make sense in the marvel world when we go outside with our DS and Tablet.

    If men have to grew up, there will be no such things as entertainments for kids, cause no one would be creating them because they wouldn't be thinking like a kid.

  7. we are all still kids, whether we acknowledge it or not--good for you!!

  8. Adults just have higher eyes. Of course that means they need to set their sights higher, and expectations of them are higher. But essentially we are the same person we were when we were younger. Some people just hide it better than others. But everyone should play sometimes.
    I agree though, that when someone refuses to take responsibility and just doesn't feel like taking care of themselves or their family, then that is a huge problem for society. It's time to grow up and learn when to work and when to play.

  9. I love some of the things you guys have posted! There's a definite zest for life in the blogging community :)

  10. I too enjoy all the things you mentioned -- all without being what is referred to as "immature".

  11. I love kids' books - Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, I can't even get rid of my Enid Blytons. And next week, when I have a holiday, I'm off to one of my favourite places, a massive adventure/theme park. The excuse is that I'm taking my friend's kids, but that is just an excuse. I'm pleased she's got children so I have an excuse to go back there.


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