I read the article, "The Monster-Victim Mix-Up: Anyone who thinks monsters are just 'misunderstood' has misunderstood monsters" by Jonah Goldberg, and almost yelled out, "Thank you!!!!" Thank you for saying what I've thought many times while watching cartoon after cartoon with my children. Not all bad guys are just nice guys who are misunderstood. In fact, some bad guys actually want to be bad. That's the plain truth.
There are people in this world whose greatest desire is to be good and do right. There are people in this world who are just sort of doing their best but make terrible choices because of their upbringing or circumstances. But there are some people in this world who really do want to be and do evil.
No matter how much we try to blame people's behavior on biology or circumstances, there is no denying that two people can be raised in appalling conditions and yet choose completely different paths. Some will do everything in their power to overcome, triumph and change their circumstances and behavior. Some will allow their suffering to harden them and to continue destructive patterns and behavior. We really DO have the freedom to choose.
Maybe that's what bothers me so much about the stories and movies that teach my children that there really isn't such a thing as evil, so nobody can choose evil. They're just made to do evil because of their circumstances, and if we only understood that, we could convince them to change their evil ways.
As a mother, I feel that one of my responsibilities is to teach my children to be wise. I want my children to be aware of danger and to avoid it at all costs. But how can you expect your children to avoid danger if they believe it doesn't exist? If a monster is really just misunderstood and doesn't mean to be a monster, why should we avoid him? Let's embrace him, put our arms around him, and allow him to do his will with us. I don't think so! No matter how much we wish we didn't, we do live in a dangerous world. As a parent, I have no problem explaining to my children that the world is dangerous but there are ways to stay safe and avoid the monsters who unfortunately do inhabit this world with the rest of us.