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Fatherlessness, the lack of natural fathers in children's lives
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Advice to Men

In Memory of Allen Wells

This set of web pages for Allen Wells has been recreated from web pages archived at http://web.archive.org

Key Page for Allen Wells

Re: Boycotting the Berenstain Bears

Path: ads.com!decwrl!olivea!uunet!microsoft!allenwe
From: allenwe@microsoft.UUCP (Allen WELLS)
Newsgroups: soc.men
Subject: Re: Boycotting the Berenstain Bears
Message-ID: <70682@microsoft.UUCP>
Date: 14 Feb 91 20:07:30 GMT
References: <V~#&|L-@ads.com> <1991Feb1.094402.1309@mdcbbs.com> <00943D63.F9E26EC0@aclcb.purdue.edu>
Reply-To: allenwe@microsoft.UUCP (Allen WELLS)
Distribution: na
Organization: Microsoft Corp., Redmond WA
Lines: 41

One unfortunate aspect of this is the near-impossibility of finding
children's entertainment that does NOT have a rather pathetic image
of men and fathers. If one insists on filtering it all out, I
suspect there would be very little left to read to your child that
had any sort of family environment portrayed.

Luckily, this seems to be changing. I've been taken aback at how
positive father images seem to be coming into style all of a
sudden. Two rather heartwarming examples I have recently seen are
the movies Home Alone and The Never Ending Story II.

In Home Alone, the child's father is portrayed as a loser, but his
mother is pretty much portrayed the same way so I would have to rate
this as 'even handed'. The interesting portrayal was of the next
door neighbor. The director used all the stereotypical cues which
lead audiences to attack the 'insensitive evil male mugger rapist'
label to the old man next door, only to turn it around and show him
to be a loving, caring man filled with pain at the loss of his
family. He magically turns from an ogre to a real human whose
reunion with his son and grandchild help turn the end into something
of a tear jerker.

Even better is The Never Ending Story II. In the original movie,
the single father was given a very one-dimensional role as the movie
focused on the loss for the son of his mother and his use of fantasy
to heal that pain. The sequel is nothing less than a Bly'ish use of
fantasy to initiate the son into the world of men (as he gains his
courage) and to bridge the gulf between the son and his father. His
father is not only given a real persona, but is needed to give his
son the confidence and ability to take that step into 'manhood'. In
the process, the father is liberated from the boundaries modern
society had been placing on his soul.

Quite remarkable. I year ago I would have considered the idea of
plots like this making it into mainstream children's entertainment
to be fantasy. Perhaps things are changing.

---------- "Never seal dead flies in a closed container. Doing so
Alien | may result in hazardous explosion."
---------- - documentation for the 'Fly Sniper'

Unfortunately, the trend that Allen Wells thought was emerging in 1991 appears to be farther from becoming reality in 2006 than it had ever been. --WHS

Next article by Allen Wells: Re: Affirmative action

Posted 2006 09 04