February 27, 2012

Varying Princesses

Filed under: Estrogen,Idiot Box — Katrina @ 1:18 pm

Yeah, I’m thinking about Disney movies again.

You know what bugs me? Seeing all the Disney princesses lumped together. Snow White. Cinderella. Aurora (maybe). Jasmine. Ariel. Belle. Pocahontas (maybe). Well, that’s not all the princesses, missing Eilonwy and a few others, but you get the idea.

But, yeah, the thing is… not all of those characters are the same. For one, Snow White and Cinderella are from around World War II, while Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine are from the early 90’s. A lot of feminism happened in the interim. And it shows.

You really cannot compare Snow White (from 1937) with Jasmine (from 1992). You cannot paint those two with the same brush. Because, simply, Snow White sucks, and Jasmine is awesome.
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February 7, 2012

Disney Captivity

Filed under: Estrogen,Idiot Box,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:11 pm

So… I’m thinking of a popular animated Disney movie. Let’s see if you can figure out which one I mean!

Main character passes through a scary night in a strange unknown place, having lost someone. Then main character, upon being discovered by those who live in said strange unknown place, who in real life are inanimate objects but for the movie’s sake they can talk, is now being held prisoner there! Sure, they try to make friends with this imprisoned visitor otherwise, but still, the main character is trapped, unable to leave, forbidden from contacting the outside world.

Those in this strange place are also under some hard times, have been for a while, and are always waiting for a miracle to save them.

Main character does finally escape and gets away faster and faster… only to get caught and returned, imprisoned again.

The main captor offers the main character better place to spend the night than the original prison-like conditions, a move the main character sees as a great kindness despite still being just as senselessly trapped there.

In fact, the main character even begins to fall in love with the captor! Despite still being, you know, a prisoner.

When at long last the main character is liberated… just turns right back around and returns to the place of imprisonment, having fallen in love with the main captor and befriended the former jailers. And in doing so fulfills the miracle they long awaited.

The end.

OMG! Did you see that? Fell in love with the captor and returned even when finally freed? Stockholm Syndrome much, Disney?

So… what movie am I describing?

Yup, you know which one.

The movie I’m describing is…


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January 5, 2012

Offensive Independence

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Think About It!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 1:48 pm

You know what’s amusing? Adults who feel personally offended by the mere idea of independent children.

I recently reread Alex’s piece from 2007 about that old show Kid Nation (which I wrote about a few months later), and how, before the show ever aired, adults got all up in arms about “oh noes, this show is abusive toward those kids and forcing them to take care of themselves, exploitation!” Something they seem to only ever say when the kids shown are competent and independent, and something they are quiet about when the kids are being abused and actually exploited.

Movie called “Dolphin Tale” came out this past year. I haven’t seen it, but I just gathered it’s based on a true story. My supervisor told me she was going to see it in theaters, and mentioned that, even though it’s based on a true story, she doubts the 12-year-old boy depicted in the film really played at any part in it.

Why would she say this? Well, her son is 12. Maybe she believes him to be incapable of anything great and certainly unable to make independent decisions. Maybe she likes it that way.

Similarly, I’ve actually seen complaints about, of all things, Dora the Explorer! Oh noes! How dare the show depict a 5-year-old girl wandering around… without adult supervision?!

And, of course, let’s not forget… Home Alone. Eight-year-old Kevin is accidentally left home when his family leaves the country, and during this time he must protect his house from burglars. Then later in the sequel he’s in New York City by himself and again managing himself just fine, and ends up rescuing a toy store and a children’s charity from the same burglars. Even though these two movies (I don’t consider any later “Home Alone” movies to exist, it’s not Home Alone without Macaulay Culkin!) are beloved classics now, sure enough, you’ll find no shortage of people who feel personally offended that these films depict a prepubescent child successfully taking care of himself and fending off two burglars without adults around to oversee and take care of him, save for the old man with the shovel and the bird lady who come to the rescue when the burglars do have him cornered. Even where movies with adult heroes are significantly less realistic, Home Alone will get picked apart, because how dare John Hughes suggest a heroic independent child?!

And there’s the people who are even offended that Bart, Lisa, and Maggie Simpson are smarter than their parents.

The list goes on. And it’s not even just fictional characters, as even real youth who show courage and independence or great skill are often derided, and assumed to be neglected or abused.

But if these people are so disturbed by this? Good! Let’s keep disturbing them! 😀

December 26, 2011

Getting Kids Reading

Now for a juvenile, literary edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

People who are all like “we’ve got to get kids reading!”

There’s been ads for James Patterson books on TV, and some recent ones start off with “James Patterson gets kids reading!” Because he’s apparently written young adult lit now, so it shows a pre-teen reading from a book about middle school.

Because if there’s anyone who truly knows what middle school is like, it’s authors in their sixties!

But, what, they couldn’t just advertise the book? They have to include some crap about “getting kids reading”?

That takes away the “here’s something you’ll enjoy” factor and turns it into yet another “getting kids to do things adults want them to be doing”. Okay, the implication seems to be “it gets them reading BECAUSE it’s enjoyable”, but it still makes it being enjoyable to the young reader secondary to satisfying some cliched expectation. Because, after all, the world cares nothing for kids’ personal desires and cares entirely for what adults desire for them.

Also, maybe someone should tell these adults that when kids are reading, they’re generally -gasp!- inside and sitting! Oh noes, they’re getting fat! So send them outside to get exercise. Then bitch that they aren’t reading enough.

December 22, 2011

Twin Fail

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Science,What the hell? — Katrina @ 4:29 pm

There are two things I want to see movies and TV shows stop doing when they have twin characters.

For one, stop showing a twin brother and sister as “identical”. Identical twins are also identical sexes because of that whole identical DNA thing. They’ll look sort of alike anyway just from being siblings, but they are still fraternal twins as they came from separate eggs and sperm. But you get brother-sister twins being shown looking exactly the same except maybe one hair or facial feature so that you know the sister is female. Or Phil and Lil from Rugrats looking completely identical, and occasionally being mixed up, except for Lil wearing a dress, though that still is basically the same outfit Phil wears. Seriously, writers, stop that shit!

And this isn’t the sort of thing only biology majors or whatever know. It’s almost common knowledge.

Then comes the other annoyance. You get shows or movies that are about conjoined twins… who aren’t identical. Conjoined twins are always identical. They didn’t just get hooked together at some point. They, like all identical twins, were initially one fertilized egg that then split into two identical ones. But for conjoined twins, didn’t finish splitting, so they’re stuck together. And still identical. I mean, I’d give Oblongs leeway since on that show the family is basically all mutants anyway, but you get other shows and movies showing conjoined twins with entirely different features and trying to pretend this is how they normally are. Again, writers, stop that shit!

It takes like no time to look this shit up. You’ll save so many brain cells!

December 20, 2011

The Cratchits

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,What the hell? — Katrina @ 9:42 pm

So I’m watching “A Christmas Carol” (1984 version with George C Scott) on AMC since it’s on pretty constantly and why not.

Christmas Present takes Scrooge to the Cratchits’ house where Scrooge is informed that sweet lad Tiny Tim is going to die from some unnamed illness that can apparently be cured in 1845 England with enough money at least but money the Cratchits of course don’t have. Then they have their meal and Mrs. Cratchit brings out the dessert, this round chocolate cake thing.

She sets it down nervously in front of her husband, and he takes several severe looks at her while scooping some onto a fork, then he takes a bite, and now is smiling and says “another triumph, my dear!” Followed by invisible-to-them Scrooge saying “what a relief for Mrs. Cratchit!”

Is it just my imagination, or does all that imply that if she screwed up the cake, he’d have slapped her?

I mean, okay, okay, maybe it was just playing around, that she was being a perfectionist and he was quietly teasing her about it.

But then later, during the Christmas Future sequence, after Tiny Tim is six feet under, Mrs. Cratchit is sewing and remarks the color thread she’s using hurts her eyes, then after a minute she says it’s better now. Then she remarks to her remaining children she doesn’t want their father to see her with red eyes when he gets home. Because, as a wife, she’s supposed to completely put away her own feelings or emotions and stick to serving her husband’s every whim. Selfish woman! How dare she be sad that… her son died!

Though that’s not the most disturbing part of the movie. Christmas Present does open his robe at one point to reveal two shriveled waist-high children standing there for some reason… :scared:

December 19, 2011

Out of Context

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Musical Musing,Think About It! — Katrina @ 12:55 pm

Common Christmas time song is “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. The song is a list of how awful this Mr. Grinch guy is. To someone unfamiliar with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (theoretically, since I’m not sure such a person exists), hearing this song among all the other Christmas songs might seem a little odd. Because, really, standing alone, the song makes no sense, nor does it explain why said Mr. Grinch is so horrible. It doesn’t explain it’s because he’s robbing a whole lot of houses on Christmas Eve out of spite.

But we all know that story, so it seems appropriate to hear the song among Christmas music. It’s funny how often this can happen.

If you’re a fan of The Sopranos, you know that one of the characters’ nicknames is Big Pussy, usually shortened to just Pussy. So thinking of the show, you might find yourself talking about things that happen, saying “pussy” a lot, and someone overhearing this who’s not familiar with the show might be like “what?!” I’ve had that happen a couple times!

October 30, 2011

Matilda’s Rights

Filed under: Idiot Box,Think About It!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 7:10 pm

So the movie “Matilda” has been playing on TV a bit lately. Based on the Roald Dahl book, it came out in 1996. I remember seeing it in theaters. I was 13 at the time.

Matilda is a little telekinetic genius who is stuck with a family that decidedly hates her. Seriously, day she was born, her parents were for some reason pissed and didn’t want her. From then on she’s pretty much neglected entirely. It’s okay because she’s a genius (whether because her neglect meant she had to take care of herself or because of some hardwired gift, it’s unclear, maybe both) and made herself some pancakes instead of the canned soup her mom left for her.

Anyway, she teaches herself to read, gets herself to the library by herself at age four, and the librarian, instead of calling the cops because a little four-year-old is out walking around by herself, helps her find some books. Then she tells her dad she’s supposed to be in school, because she wants to learn more and actually interact with other kids. Her dad refuses until tyrannical headmistress Trunchbull shows up and mentions she has a school, and the dad figures the school seems abusive enough for the daughter he hates.
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April 29, 2011

I Have a Confession to Make

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Idiot Box,Think About It! — Katrina @ 2:06 pm

I watched it.

Yup. Woke up just before 6am this morning and turned on the TV to BBC America, just in time for the service. I watched the royal wedding. I watched Prince William and Catherine Middleton get married, just like the whole rest of the world.

At Westminster Abbey, which I visited when I was in London a year and a half ago, so that was kind of cool on its own! 😀

In spite of the annoying obsessions over it, positive and negative, I still watched it.

Then again, why not? It was cute. It was neat. The people on the ground there watching the event and decked out in union jack-themed costumes were hilariously cheesy. It was seeing the continuance of old tradition. It made lots of people happy.
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February 6, 2011

Sunday Superbowl Sunday!

Filed under: Idiot Box,Sports! — Katrina @ 11:43 pm

Superbowl XLV just ended. Congrats, Green Bay Packers! And thanks for preventing yet another Superbowl from going to the goddamn Steelers.

Anyway, so a lot of us just spent the past several hours watching the game as well as a lot of funny, stupid, and grossly offensive ads that cost many millions to air. And I made cookies, of course. It’s a pastime! It’s the Superbowl!

Then there were the people who just want to bitch and bitch through the whole thing. I don’t mean the people pointing out the misandry, misogyny, and other social ills prevalent in the event, particularly the advertising. Those are legitimate concerns and very worth calling out.

I mean the people who act like they’re hot shit because they aren’t into sports and find the whole thing to be a frivolous waste of time and money. And they must make damn sure everyone around them knows they feel this way. Because they are Very Smart and we benefit from this wisdom. God forbid they should just accept that sometimes that magical glowing box will display something that a lot of people will watch that they personally aren’t interested in, because it’s not like there’s any other way they can use the time!

After the game, I saw a tweet that made me facepalm pretty hard:

OK, 3 hours and about 10 billion dollars later. How is Darfur or Haiti any better off? Enjoy your Doritos. And your Bud.

Really? That’s the card you’re playing? The “there are people suffering elsewhere in the world, so how dare we indulge in our own culture” card? In all fairness, in glancing at that person’s other tweets, he seemed to be watching the game like everyone else, so perhaps not the intention. But it might have been of the crapload of people who retweeted it.

And, yes, I just referred to the Superbowl as a cultural thing. Because it is, consumerism notwithstanding. Yes, we live in a society (world?) that commercializes the hell out of everything even remotely of social importance. Our society is capitalist. This is to be expected. Despite my obvious liberal leanings, capitalism is not in and of itself evil or wrong. It’s just that it oftentimes can be evil and wrong and that should be kept in check. But on Superbowl Sunday, people get together and have parties to watch it, or are like me and watch it alone, there’s excitement leading up to it, there’s other events and activities involved. It’s got all the signs of a cultural event, and just because that culture is American doesn’t make that invalid. Contrary to common stereotype, yes, we Americans have a culture. This is part of it.

Not that those who bitch about the Superbowl because it’s a commercialized cesspool are really worried about that specifically. They just want to bitch about it because, again, they think they’re better than everyone else and want to pretend their stance is because of some sort of real concern rather than annoying others over their personal preference.

As for the “why are we worrying about this frivolous crap?” line, well, do these people listen to music? Watch movies? Play games? Read books? All these things could be considered frivolous. You sound like a damn Puritan.

And of course sports are more frivolous than, say, politics. In fact, it’s sort of WHY we like it. It’s why I can grow really tense watching the last few minutes of a Redskins-Cowboys game, yet secure in the knowledge that regardless of what happens, my life once the game is over will be the same. I’ll still be up the next morning and going to work. There’s a weird sense of fun placing importance, talking trash, feeling intense competition over something that really doesn’t change our lives (assuming no gambling is involved).

But I do have to admit the Puppy Bowl rules. 😀

February 2, 2011

Jokes that Need to Die

Filed under: Estrogen,Idiot Box,Shut the Hell Up!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 2:52 pm

Now for a pseudo-humorous, stale edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

I consider sense of humor to be perhaps the most important character trait in anyone. Couldn’t very well go through life without it. Funny stuff is fun. However, then you get the jokes that just get repeated over and over, from different people acting like they invented it and that they’re so smart and witty. If they were ever clever, it was lost long ago.

Two very recent examples?

“I don’t understand! How could Tunisia have overthrown their government without me signing a petition or changing my Twitter avatar?”

And…

“The new Starbucks Trenta is larger than the average human stomach! Lulz!”
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December 11, 2010

Deathly Hallows

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Dead Tree Sandwiches,Idiot Box — Katrina @ 8:30 pm

So this afternoon I finally got over to the damn movie theater to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1”. Usually when I go see the Harry Potter movies for the first time, I get annoyed. Yup, I’m that person who is all “WTF? that’s not how it happened in the book!” Though more specifically, I can understand deviation from the book in some circumstances, like perhaps trying to save time or not having to cast more people when they could substitute it easily in another way. Better than in “Half Blood Prince” when they pretty much just started making shit up.

For example, in this movie, after they all left the Dursleys’ disguised as Harry, they ended up at the Burrow instead of the Tonks house like in the book. But it was a change that didn’t make much difference.

But that’s about all the deviations really were. The movie was great! They even left in one of my favorite lines: after they all take the Polyjuice Potion to turn into Harry, Fred and George say “we’re identical!” I LOL’d.

They even left in the evil spirits from the locket teasing Ron before he smashed it with the sword.

Although, I could have done without the spirits’ image of Harry and Hermione making out naked. Yeah, guys, I know Rule 34 is quite popular but the movie doesn’t need it! 😆

November 23, 2010

Aladdin and Two Genies

Filed under: Idiot Box,Think About It! — Katrina @ 10:35 pm

So I just finished watching Aladdin on ABC Family. Love that movie! Even taking into account I’m partial to Disney movies in general, it’s awesome. Hard to believe it’s been eighteen whole years since it came out, and I still have most of the songs memorized. And I recall how, back in like 1992, we were all amazed at the wonderful graphics that went into the Cave of Wonders tiger entrance.

But, as often happens when you see a movie you’ve seen many times over many years, you start noticing things. You start to question why certain things happened one way when some other way would have made more sense. Or some other way would have solved or sidestepped a plot relevant problem entirely. Lord knows Cracked has any number of lists along those lines!

What I’m thinking of now is at the very end of the movie. I’m not giving a spoiler alert because, well, I’m not sure there’s anyone who hasn’t seen Aladdin, and even less likely anyone would, well, care about a spoiler to a damn Disney movie. They’re cartoonish fun, not murder mysteries.

Aladdin tricks Jafar into making his third wish, to become an all-powerful genie. So Genie does it and Jafar is all happy and powerful at first, only to get sucked into his newly materialized black lamp. In his itty bitty living space. Then Genie flicks the lamp off into the distance to the Cave of Wonders.
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December 20, 2009

Frosty the… Puddle

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Think About It! — Katrina @ 6:07 pm

So on Friday night, Frosty the Snowman was on TV. The hat is put on him, he comes to life and says “Happy Birthday” for some reason, they dance around and have fun, but then they realize he’ll be gone once the snow melts.

So they figure the best way to remedy this is to stow away on a train that’s heading for the North Pole for some reason. Stuff happens and they end up off the train short of reaching the point where every direction is south, so Frosty and the little girl Karen are lost in the woods and Karen is freezing to death, so they somehow end up finding a greenhouse full of poinsettias. What luck!
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December 17, 2009

Two Decades of Yellow Goodness

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Here's To You!,Idiot Box — Katrina @ 11:36 pm

And now for a stateless, animated edition of…

Here’s to You!!!

So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to you, Simpsons!”

It was twenty years ago today the pilot episode “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” first aired. Nah, I wasn’t watching. Didn’t start watching until the second season actually. But even before then, for some reason, I decided Bart was my favorite character. They were on the cover of a TV Guide, and I showed it to my dad’s friend and pointed to him saying “that one is my favorite”, and he said “You mean Bart?” and I’m like “oh, is that his name?” Something like that. To this day, I still call Bart my favorite character, though it’s really sort of a three-way tie with him and Lisa and Maggie, depending on the episode.
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December 8, 2009

Thirty Second Pissing Contest

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Foodz,Idiot Box,Rants — Katrina @ 1:42 pm

You know what I’m sick of? Commercials that are basically nothing but a pissing contest between two rival companies. You get pretty much no actual information about their products. Just basically “the other guy sucks ass!” I mean, true, that’s about what advertising is, but it seems to be less about advertising and more about expensively airing a stupid spat.

I know right now we’re all thinking of the same spat. Microsoft vs. Mac. The “I’m a PC” crap versus the “I’m a Mac” crap. The Mac ads with the conversation with the “hip, young Mac” against the “old stuffy PC”, so they’re at least mildly ageist. And the PC ads all like “Macs are expensive and shitty, lulz”. Goddamn, STFU both of you.

It’s bad enough our entertainment is being interrupted to view these things, but they also are mindnumbing.
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December 7, 2009

One Truth Prevails… Nobody Thinks Much of Americans

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,What the hell? — Katrina @ 12:22 pm

My favorite anime is “Case Closed”, about brilliant 17-year-old detective Jimmy Kudo who got poisoned and transformed into his 7-year-old self under the pseudonym Conan Edogawa, and is living with his girlfriend Rachel and her detective father Richard (coughElectraComplexcough) though they don’t know who he really is, and when Richard is trying solve a case, which he never can because he’s a dumbass, Conan knocks him out with a tranquilizer dart and uses his bowtie gadget to mimic his voice and solve the case for him. It’s basically several hundred episodes of that, with everybody acting like Richard is so brilliant even though never noticing he’s unconscious and that his lips aren’t moving and that he never remembers solving anything. Haha.

Anyway, since the show is of course originally made in Japan, and only about a quarter of the total episodes have even been reversioned into English so far, I figured some things besides language must have changed. Names like Jimmy and Rachel and Richard sounded a bit English.

Yeah, looked it up, just as I figured. In the original Japanese version, Jimmy is Shinichi, Rachel is Ran, and Richard is Kogoro, as well as a lot of other differences in other characters’ names. The only one that’s the same is Conan Edogawa, but that’s because in the second episode he made it up on the spot from Arthur Conan Doyle and Ranpo Edogawa after glancing at some books on a nearby shelf.
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April 30, 2009

Wicked Sweet

Filed under: Idiot Box,Think About It! — Katrina @ 9:49 am

Apparently, people who are “sweet” should stay out of the rain. They’re so sweet because they must be made of sugar. Water melts sugar. So sweet people melt in the rain or when otherwise wet.

But then how come the Wicked Witch of the West melted when water got sprinkled on her? She wasn’t sweet… or was she?

Now that I think about it, maybe the Wizard, Munchkins, and Witch of the North weren’t as “good” as we might believe. Maybe the Wicked Witches of East and West were actually the good ones. Is it out of prejudice for green-skinned women that they are dubbed evil?

Or is it because the Witch of the West kept trying to kill Dorothy?

Then again, that’s not a mystery. If you crushed my sister with a house, I’d want to beat you to a pulp, too!

March 23, 2009

Brian Loves Lois

Filed under: Idiot Box,What the hell? — Katrina @ 11:48 pm

So for perhaps the billionth time, the Family Guy episode “Brian in Love” was on the other night. From the second season, the episode begins with Stewie allegedly having a problem peeing all over the house, and no one believes him when he denies it. We soon learn it’s actually Brian the dog doing it involuntarily and allowing Stewie to take the blame. This is revealed when he pees in front of them at a supermarket, so he is sent to a psychiatrist after it’s apparently determined the problem isn’t physical. The shrink suggests Brian go out and see the world, which he does and the problem seems solved! But Stewie’s annoyed for taking the blame before, so he pees all over the house for real, and sure enough Brian takes the blame, and he laments that he doesn’t even remember doing it. So he returns to the shrink where Brian mentions a time Peter and Lois were getting romantic with each other, so when Brian describes Lois some more after the shrink asks him to, the shrink tells him it means he must be in love with her, and when Brian denies it, the shrink says “who are you trying to convince, me or you?” at which point Brian is convinced it is true. So he tries to come on to Lois, and fails miserably, but Stewie notices what’s happening and decides to troll him with it by pretending to be all affectionate with his mother. Brian decides he’d better confront Lois, and she picks up on what’s happening and tells him their friendship is great and there’s no reason for anything more, and Brian seems satisfied with that.
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December 19, 2008

Little Drummer Warners

Now, for a divine, animated edition of…

Here’s to You!

So I raise my glass and say, “Here’s to you, Animaniacs!”

I made of mention of this in last year’s Secular Specials entry, where I mentioned the reasons some Christmas specials tend to not touch the story of Jesus’s birth much (or it at least might seem that way). Basically, it’s safer not to. With all these oversensitive Christian morons running around, one false step on the sacred ground that is the nativity story could have like 5,000 midwestern churches wanting your head on a platter. Yet you might have these same people also whining that Jesus is being phased out of Christmas, a doublespeak typical of evangelicals. They want Jesus to get more of a mention, but if you try, they pipe up with “YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!” And because doing the nativity story can have the side effect of coming off as proselytizing, makes it all the more appealing to just stick to other Christmas stories.
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