Friday, September 26, 2014

Defending the Glorkian Warrior

Recently, The New York Times ran an op-ed (I hate to link to it, but it's here) about the deadultification (not a real word, because according to this piece, I would not be a real adult) of America.  The writer bemoaned the lack of the "good old days" (HA HA HA!) when kids went off to college, got married, made casseroles, and read Adult Literature (that must be capitalized by the way, to emphasize the extreme maturity and literary quality of these books that serve as makeshift doorstops).  This doesn't happen anymore, because ICYMI, the patriarchy is dead.  So is sexism.  Which means misogyny and rape are all things of the past, right?

You have got to be kidding me.  I'm being excessively polite in this post.  I will simply express the opinion that I believe the author of this article to be delusional at best.

Forever arguing that things were better as they were (x) amount of years ago is untenable.  I don't particularly want to write an essay on the relationship between societal and technological change and expected behavior of "adulthood."  If adulthood means that I put on a dress and pumps to vacuum my apartment à la Mrs. Cleaver, I'll pass, thanks.  What if reading novels by John Green and blogging and geeking out about stuff is the new definition of adulthood?  None of those things are bad--and to attach a moral judgement to a genre of fiction boggles the mind.  Let's go back to the basics: murder is bad.  Rape is bad.  Theft is bad.  Young adult fiction is not bad.

I'll take one more quote before moving on, because if I don't stop here I'm going to explode like Mugatu. "We can live with our parents, go to summer camp, play dodge ball, collect dolls and action figures and watch cartoons to our hearts’ content."  Guess what, A.O. Scott?  In many cultures, it's not seen as failure to live with one's parents--it's a sign of respect for family and for maturity.  Plus, just talking about in the United States, as you so repetitively pointed out in your essay, this is not the Mad Men era.  Kids cannot just walk out and get a job and find a mate and keep their jobs forever and ever, amen.  For a lot of people, living with their parents is the only option.  Or should we just toss a generation out on the street (as though we haven't done that already in many other senses)?  And have you had a traumatic experience with dodge ball that you cite it as part of the downfall of adulthood as you wish it to be?  

So let us turn now to The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie.  Like its predecessor, The Glorkian Warrior Delivers A Pizza, this graphic novel is unabashedly silly.  The titular Glorkian Warrior doesn't have the sharpest mind, to put it mildly, but through pratfalls, lucky escapes, and the help of his awesome talking Super Backpack, he manages to bumble through all right.  In Adventure Pie, we encounter our hero attempting to fight a bubble monster, but he's thwarted in his quest for glory by another Glorkian, Buster Glark.  Buster is a bully Glorkian.  Our Glorkian heads home to hang out with his little green alien baby who likes to suck out his brains and a young Glorkian named Gronk.  

Due to repeated sessions with Alien Baby and his own smattering of brain cells, the Warrior and Gronk get in a fight about where their brains actually are.  The Warrior maintains they're in his elbow, and Gronk says they're in one of his eyeballs.  After some stupid yet weirdly logical arguing, Gronk convinces the Warrior to take him out on patrol.  Unfortunately, the Warrior succumbs to Baby Alien's voracious appetite and collapses.  What follows is a zany quest to revive the Warrior and hold off attacks by that big meanie, Buster Glark.

There are fart jokes (the Warrior is always concerned about "tooters").  There's rampant silliness.  And it is unbelievably hilarious.  I'm completely shocked that the ratings on this on Goodreads are so low.  People are all offended that this has fart jokes and a main character who's not the brightest crayon in the box and a small alien who talks like the stereotypical Neanderthal.  How is any of that "bad"?  Is it murder/rape/theft?  No?  Maybe you should unwind yourself and actually just laugh once in a while.  Is it so very important to you to be considered hip and cool and worldly and that the only things you find funny are ironic jokes made by television shows from Iceland?

The Glorkian Warrior made me laugh.  He lifted the fog of depression I'm in, if only for a little while.   He loves pie.  How can I not love him back?  It doesn't make me a bad person or a bad adult to love The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie.  Life is so full of horrible garbage that I just need a jolt of silliness.  I worry about race relations in the wake of Ferguson and I worry about air strikes in the Middle East and I worry about people shooting down passenger jets and I worry about unrest in Scotland after the independence vote.  Let me enjoy something purely entertaining.  Give me my Glorkian Warrior.

An ARC of this title was provided by Netgalley.

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