By Jeff Rosenberg
We, the United Organization of the Orphaned Youth, would like to express our deep concern over the way Hollywood has portrayed orphans in the film industry over the years. We're not sure what warped reality you all live in where innocent, abandoned children play the part of psychopathic killers, but that's not the picture we're trying to paint for these lovely little angels.
The most recent atrocity, Guillermo del Toro's horror film "Mama," follows the story of two little girls abandoned in the woods by their deranged father. They are only saved from imminent death by an unknown entity who they come to call Mama. Years later, the two girls are rescued only to return to civilization feral and violent along with their homicidal surrogate, Mama.
Before that, there was “Orphan,” the story of a maniacal 9 year-old adoptee who wreaks havoc on her foster family.
And before that, “The Omen,” where we find the possessed Damien puppeteering increasingly violent murders.
Even the comedic “Problem Child” trilogy, though wildly successful, is predicated on a misfit child enacting mischief on everyone and everything he comes in contact with.
Do you see a trend here?
Imagine, just for a second, what it would feel like being an adopted child in school going to see one of these movies on a Friday night with your friends. Can you empathize? What you are doing is perpetuating a stereotype and stigma for financial gain, and it’s truly sickening.
Oh, I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “Well what about Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and countless other beloved superheroes who have dominated the box office for the past decade?” While we respect that these superheroes are in fact heroes, they’re still deeply disturbed individuals. Just saying that not all orphans are mentally unstable is all.
Oh yeah, and “The Orphanage” where there were murderous ghost orphans.
If anything superheroes place wildly unrealistic expectations on children who are already emotionally fragile. Just last week we caught a little girl eating butterflies in front of a microwave because she “wanted to be a beautiful flying princess who saved all the ugly orphan girls.”
Do you know that tens of thousands of children are in dire need of adoptive care? Do you know how difficult is for older children to be placed in permanent homes? Prospective foster parents shudder in fear at the thought of adopting older, possibly bloodthirsty orphans. But I bet you didn’t know that Steve Jobs was adopted. And I have a sneaking suspicion that when his biopic comes out, that little tidbit will go untold. Leave it to Hollywood to gloss over the the facts - we’ve all seen Argo.
And “Children of the Corn.” How could I forget!
Anyways, I currently run PR for the organization, and wouldn't you believe I was once an abandoned child myself? It’s funny, isn’t it? But I don’t ever recall manipulating people to jump off buildings or putting the fear of God into our local minister by coldly staring into his eyes. I also don’t remember setting fires to buildings simply by looking at them or speaking in tongues during an exorcism. Sure, there was that one instance in my youth when I attacked the neighbor boy and dragged his bloodied carcass into the dog house where it went unnoticed for a full fortnight, but who doesn't go through an angsty period in their teens?
Annie “The Little Orphan” Bennette