This is the definition of irony: using Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” in the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are. “Wake Up” is a foot stomping anthem railing against the corrosive phenomena of growing up. Where the Wild Things Are is an adaptation of a book beloved by children who are now grown up. The incongruity of an anti-adulthood paean being paired with a sign that my childhood is over is nearly palpable. Its hard not to talk about the contrast of the two and not let the word sardonic creep into the conversation.
“Children don’t grow up,
our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.”
Where the Wild Things Are was the first book I ever read on my own. Actually, I didn’t really learn to read it. I made my mom read it to me so many times that I had it memorized before I was four years old. I’m not sure when I crossed the line from just knowing the words to actually processing them, but that was where it started. When I heard they were making a movie, I hadn’t read the book in years. I went back and flipped through my tattered copy and it didn’t grab me like it used too. It was still the same story, the same wolf suit, the same mischief of one sort and another, the same wild things, but it just didn’t electrify me like it did when I was four. At twenty-one, it can’t get me like it used to get me.
“Children wake up,
hold your mistake up,
before they turn the summer into dust.”
It’s an understatement to say that I’ve changed since I was four. I’m not afraid of the dark anymore, I can cross the street by myself, and I spend a lot more money on alcohol and tobacco. I spend more time doing things I rather wouldn’t do, and less time without care; more time studying, less time on the playground. When I was four I’d read the book then go play with my GI Joes. At twenty-one I’m sure I’ll see the movie then go to the bar. Never in my life has it been more apparent that I am not a kid anymore. I’m in the most academically challenging semester of my life, I’m taking debts on my own name, and my brothers are getting married. This movie is a sudden single-lane bridge back, a bridge that goes over seventeen years of growing, seventeen years of good choices and bad decision, seventeen years that got me here, seventeen years that have me writing this.
“We’re just a million little god’s causin’ rainstorms turnin’ every good thing to rust.”
The Where the Wild Things Are movie is just another addition to what I consider the commercialization of our youth. The kids I grew up with and I have watched all the things we loved in elementary delivered to us in new media. They gave us Batman back last summer, they brought us GI Joe on the big screen two weeks ago. Now, Where the Wild Things Are. What’s next? A Where the Red Fern Grows movie? A live-action remake of Aladdin? All considered, these things are amazing, but it’s a badge of our generation that we are unwilling to let go of what we used to have. I feel like ‘going green’ is one of our hallmarks, but are we recycling to save the planet or are we recycling because we’re afraid to lose anything?