Sexism, Racism, Jingoism and Homophobia- That's entertainment!

Discussion in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' started by Vid Electricz, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. fallenAngel

    fallenAngel Well-Known Member

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    My two favorite quotes on this list. Though Star Wars I wouldn't really call that nerdy. The Expanded universe is but the movies themselves are the most accessible and mainstream of any scifi/fantasy works. And Nolan, I won't go there since I know I'm in such an extreme minority. But there are dozens of us, dozens!

    As far as this whole thread is concerned I feel like this is trying to analyze commercials. I do this all the time and the response I get from my friends and family were, "huh, there was a commercial." I find engaging advertising to be fun and stimulating and am a little frustrated at times that people don't take the time to analyze all the information that is presented to us every second of everyday. But then, the way people pass it off I also don't think it necessarily harms us that much either.

    Whole books can be written on subliminal messaging though so who knows. It is hard to figure it out and at the end of the day movies like Transformers exist because one can drive ones self crazy looking for "meaning in Pauly Shore movies".

    I do hate when people try to defend movies like this as being "mindless" on purpose though. Why would anything every want to be mindless on purpose, there is a difference between being accessible and fun entertainment and being offensive because it is so dumb.

    I don't think that Michael Bay is in anyway a passive director. His composition is way too thought out for me to by that. He throws a lot on his pallet, but he knows what's there and he knows what he is pushing. Therefore I don't think it is wrong to attack him or what messages you may find in the films he makes. Its just that those said messages may in fact be debatable.

    (I will side with those posters who believe that finding black stereotypes in characters like the twins and Jar Jar Binks may in fact be a representation of their own racist feelings though and I am glad I am not the only one who thinks so.)

    Oh and I think that these boards actually promote much more intelligent conversation than a lot of other boards. but it is the internet, you can't have too high of standards.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  2. Vid Electricz

    Vid Electricz Well-Known Member

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    Analyzing movies like this, to me, isn't the practice of look at and evaluating the actual content (of which there is little), but rather taking a good hard look at the way the content both reflects and affects larger societal issues in our culture.
     
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  3. fallenAngel

    fallenAngel Well-Known Member

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    "Reflects" is one thing. This is tangible. Though I would argue it takes analyzing what is actually in the movie and avoiding the dangers of projecting what you think you see based of your own opinions about the world and everything in it. (like the south park episode about the poop and the pee). And I'm not saying this is what you are doing, just that is always a danger when critiquing something.

    "affects" I would have a hard time studying without the use of grad students, and research both on previous written materials and just interviewing random people who go to these movies.

    Debating and raising philosophical questions is one thing, but I'm starting to get the sense you may be looking for actual conclusions to which I would say good luck. Especially with a movie like this which at the end of the day it is so easy to ride off because as you say yourself, there is little actually there.
     
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  4. Spider-Who?

    Spider-Who? ERMERGERD!

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    I really didn't get a chance to flesh out my thought earlier, so let me do that now, and address your points.

    I do not believe that movies - regardless of genre - can lack the potential to be truly moving, societal-changing works of art. Anything and everything has that potential. But having that potential does not mean it will ultimately fit the requirements of "high art" and it certainly doesn't mean that every piece of art, every book and every film should even try. There is absolutely nothing wrong with "low brow" art and entertainment at its core; there is only our reaction to it.

    In terms of these movies, we have to look at them for what they are. These are standard summer blockbuster movies that are meant appeal to a wide range of people. These movies are designed to be purely adrenaline pumping action set pieces. That was the film makers' intent. That intent is what we should judge it on. My comment about trying to get milk out of an orange reflects this. It seems like those who are the more vocal in this thread are looking for philosophical inspiration, messiah-like ideals and values out of a movie that was never intended to harbor such things.

    Could the movie have handled some things better, while remaining a popcorn flick? Yes. Should directors not cave to the summer blockbuster check lists? Yes. Do I think that Transformers should have been the steeple of the "watch this movie to be enlightened" movie genre? Hell no. I personally don't want to watch a movie like transformers and be hit over the head with morality lessons and philosophical mutterings. There are a plethora of other movies, games, books and sermons for that.

    My intent is to not excuse the weakness of these films (lord knows there are many), such as story structure and the unnecessary sexuality of certain characters. My only intent is to offer my opinion that looking for and ultimately complaining about the lack of high art appeal and musings in a decidedly low art film is frivolous. Vid and others are analyzing this film based on what it could have been, while I am looking at how it is.
     
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  5. Vid Electricz

    Vid Electricz Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry you're disappointed, but I cannot say I have any interest in cultivating an image or reputation, so to speak (and I'm not being self-aggrandizing or flippant).

    I realize that some of what I've written could be interpreted as a bit brash or brazenly dismissive, but in all honesty (and if you look back at any of my comments), all I'm expecting is that if one is going to make an argument or attack, then at least be informed and be able to substantiate it.

    There have been quite a few wonderfully thoughtful and insightful comments contributed to this conversation among many others that have in no way made any effort to reply to the actual subject matter.

    That said, what are your thoughts on the topic?
     
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  6. PowersOfMind

    PowersOfMind Well-Known Member

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    We must not have been watching the same movies.
     
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  7. def28

    def28 Well-Known Member

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    Theres plenty of psychological development going on with the characters in The Dark Knight and Inception imo. I would say Dark Knight more so, but a majority of the scenes with Cobb in Inception has to do with his wife and sanity. There are other things going on besides the actual heist.

    To each their own in the end. We all have our tastes and different way to interrupt movies.
     
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  8. OoAnd1

    OoAnd1 Well-Known Member

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    Simple question.
     
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  9. bell110

    bell110 Drunk on Capitol Hill

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    That's the thing. Nobody is expecting "high art". People seem to be dealing in extremes when it comes to other people's opinion of the movie. The two arguements people use against other people's negative reactions are "What were you expecting, Citizen Kane?" or "The cartoon was dumb, why shouldn't this be?". How it is is that it's not a very good movie. I'm a Transformers fan and I see how this could have been a good movie. And I'm perplexed at other fans just going "good enough" or "it was dumb just like the cartoon". That's where I find the lack of imagination coming in.

    Maybe you should substantiate your arguments first. You made this topic specifically accusing this film of sexism, racism, jingoism, and homophobia and give weak exaples of why you think this. People have replied and you've either dismissed their arguments and insulted them, or just ignored them. After five pages you've only engaged one person who has disagreed with you on only one point and that ended up turning into a conversation about the guys wife. The rest is just praise for people who agree with you.
     
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  10. Vid Electricz

    Vid Electricz Well-Known Member

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    It's difficult to engage in a discussion when the other side is only half participating, hearing what they want to and responding to points concerning their interest (in that case, his wife) and ignoring the rest.

    What exactly that I've said needs substantiating that I haven't already explained? I've stated all my points and opinions in detail over and over again over the past several pages. If you'd like, feel free to go back and peruse them.

    What you're looking for are concrete superficial examples of the things I listed (racism, sexism, etc...), but what you're obviously not understanding (as you've claimed I haven't explained well enough or substantiated my arguments), is that I've laid out my views and ideologies quite clearly in my initial post and in several others following that. Like I said, go back and take a look.

    As for your "rebuttals", no I haven't answered to them as I have already addressed arguments of a similar nature (looking for face-value excuses for the reasons sexism, racism, jingoism and homophobia exist in these films). I believe you wrote for sexism, something along the lines of: "No guy is offended by looking at a hot girl." Totally missing the point. Sorry to be blunt, but if that's your rebuttal, you're just not getting it.

    Either you see and understand that these things exist in these films, or you just don't. It doesn't get simpler than that. If you don't understand the way these types of things exist in our society and pervade our media and culture by now (I'm presuming you're an adult), it's not possible to teach it through an internet message board. It's something you've either learned or you haven't.

    What else needs explaining?
     
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    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  11. bell110

    bell110 Drunk on Capitol Hill

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    Your first problem is how you went about trying to get this discussion started. You think people should be offended by these movies, and if they're not, they're just to stupid to realize they are bing offended.

    Yes, I get your point. You see sexism, racism, jingoism, and homophobia in society and you think this movie helps perpetuate it and that offends you. I get your ideology. Myself and other do not see those things in these movies. YOUR problem is that you take that as us not being able to recognize what we are watching on screen. What you see as highly offensive on screen, I see as a trivial matter. Yet your opinion is somehow more valid than mine.

    You gave superficial examples to illustrate your point, then when somebody deconstructs your examples you claim it's just an excuse and the person just isn't getting it.

    Is there sexism, racism, jingoism, and homophobia in society? Yes, there always will be. Do these films reflect or perpetuate them? I say no. And you haven't made a strong case to the contrary either. All you've given us is your perception, opinions, and feelings.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  12. Hotwire

    Hotwire Dealin' W/ Demons

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    Thanks. I knew I was being talked about, and was going to say something, but, you did it for me.
    Thanks again.
     
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  13. Vid Electricz

    Vid Electricz Well-Known Member

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    These things exist in this film (whether you realize it or not) and by virtue of the fact that they are not looked down upon, but rather encouraged as harmless, ignorant fun, they are perpetuated and endorsed. It's just that plain and simple. I can only say the same thing in so many different ways (as myself and others have continuously done throughout this thread).

    Also, "deconstruction" is the wrong word to use in this case as that implies the systematic breaking down and analysis of my argument...I am sorry my friend, but this has not been done in this thread at all.

    What has been done is the simplistic refutation (to paraphrase): "I don't believe these things exist in these films and you're over-thinking it by trying to investigate them".

    My post:

    Sexism: Specifically, the objectification of women- Women are trophies to be won or lost. They must always appear sexy and seductive (for all the adolescent boys and peter-pan syndrome boy-men watching).


    Your reply:

    There is nothing wrong with having sexy and seductive women in the movies. Was the first scene with Rosie necessary? No. Was it awesome? Absolutely.


    I am saying, women are objectified and treated as objects...which is plain to see in these movies as Michael Bay practically date-rapes the women with his camera, lingering on needless shots of them bending over cars and full-moon shots which exist for no purpose other than titillation. It's degrading, plain and simple. The women in these films have no personality and are shallow, emotionless husks that exist for the adolescent boys in the audience to drool over.

    You are saying, that it's perfectly OK to degrade women because it's awesome and because it serves you.

    That's not a deconstruction my friend. That is barely a refutation. You're saying you accept the fact that women are objectified and you're OK with it because she's "hot". The same goes for the rest of your rebuttals.

    Anything else?
     
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  14. def28

    def28 Well-Known Member

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    I just love how this is the third movie and yet the people who complained about the lame humor and awesome beautiful shots of women in the first two saw this one. Bay gets the last laugh and your money. Thanks for contributing to me and the other Transformer fans getting a sequel. Sorry Vid but if you truly believed in your first post then you shouldnt have seen DOTM. Unless you have never seen a Transformers movie. But Im thinking you have and I dont get that, doesnt seem like the right thing for a person who thinks a franchise is bringing more hate into the world to do. All the things you point out are present in all his movies, they are not in anyway as bad as your making them out to be, but they are present in his films and especially The Transformers movies. Its like someone buying porn then being shocked and disgusted by people having sex in it. I think you just need to stop thinking Michael Bay is a hate endorsing brainwasher in disguise (his movies are not smart enough for that), throw on some Piranah 3D or Machete and enjoy having a good time in the entertainment genre we call exploitation. :awesome:
     
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  15. Vid Electricz

    Vid Electricz Well-Known Member

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    Did you or did you not bring up your wife in this conversation?

    There you go dude, that's the extent of you being "talked about". Oh, and how about that, it wasn't me who brought it up.

    If you want to act like I'm the bad guy and you're a victim, go right ahead.

    Thanks for the laugh.
     
    #115
  16. Hotwire

    Hotwire Dealin' W/ Demons

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    There you go again. You read way too much into everything. You and others were discussing my posts. I was going to comment, however, bell110 said just about everything I had in mind. He saved me having to type it.

    Yes, I did mention my wife as an example, but I also offered counter arguments to the points you made, and chose to call them excuses and continued have a very condescending tone to your responses. This is something else, bell110 brought up.

    I am not playing a victim here at all. I am not the only one here who feels you have a pretty rude tone to the posts you make in response to people who don't agree with you.

    Posts like the one above only serve to further this impression.

    You said you wanted intelligent debate on this topic, but as others have said, you offered weak examples to begin with, and when others disagreed, you took the stance that they "just can't see it." Not the best reply.

    It was also said that your attitude does little to further your image, to which hiya said you're not worried about that. Yet, everything about the posts you've made seems to be an attempt to somehow put yourself above everyone else, because, you "get it."
     
    #116
  17. bell110

    bell110 Drunk on Capitol Hill

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    Again, these are you opinions. It's not "plain and simple". What you see as perpetutating the worst of society, I see a non-issue.

    I'll admit, I brushed your sexism complaint aside, but I stand by the other issues. I'll restate these issues.

    Sexism - women serve no purpose other than a trophy? No, boy getting the girl is nothing new and doesn't perpetuate sexism. Mikaela served more than just being a prize. She stood up to her jock boyfriend when he called her his bunny. She stood up to a government agent threatening to throw her and her father. She successfully saved Sam from Frenzy. She's knowledgable of cars, definately something that girls are stereotypically ignorant of. Other girls in the franchise: The austrailian chick was a computer expert, the cold shill that was a top ranking government official, even the ****bot's advances were pushed away by Sam. Sure, they looked hot, but there is nothing wrong with that in itself.

    Racism - No, almost every character gets treated badly regardless of race. And Epps was one of the few that were treated as a normal human being.

    Jingoism - Bay has a military fetish, to be sure, but that does not mean these film are jingoistic. US Government officials served as the biggest ***** in all three movies. Twice, the US wanted to banish the TFs, which turned out to be a stupid move.

    Homophobia - There isn't any. The only thing I can think of is that they hinted that Dutch might be gay, but he turned out to be a badass, disarming the Russians and hacking into traffic cameras.

    Any issue with characters being one dimensional is a writing issue, not sexism or racism.

    You are seeing these thing in these movies and insist that people that don't are just not looking hard enough or are just complacent. That's not the case. It's just that these are you opinions, nothing more. I don't share these opinions because I am not easily offended. I'm a heavy metal fan. People hear my music and only hear screaming and noise. I could say they are just not listening close enough. I, on the other hand, hate country music. All I hear is twang and whining. I don't know your background, but you seem to live in a world were sexism, racism, jingoism, and homophobia are all around you at all times. I don't come from that world.
     
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  18. Monsieur Xavier

    Monsieur Xavier Recycled

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    Sexism ? Bay hired a Victoria Secret model, she choosed to be objectified, it is her job.
     
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  19. moviedoors

    moviedoors Well-Known Member

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    So that does by deliberating allowing yourself to sexualized, you remove an accusations of possible sexism? Huh?
     
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  20. Monsieur Xavier

    Monsieur Xavier Recycled

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    In the case of Rosie Huntington it is missplaced, in my opinion.
     
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  21. Spider-Who?

    Spider-Who? ERMERGERD!

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    I’m going to address these concerns the best I can, using their actual definitions to help clarify exactly what we’re talking about here.

    Sexism - Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. Where is this in the movie? The only thing the movie does with the women that can be seen as a negative issue is the music video style shots of the attractive female leads. Are these shots necessary for their characters or story? No, but it is hardly sexist. Where is the stereotyping? As others have pointed out, both female leads broke through the typical damsel in distress cliché, and were actually quite strong and brave characters who fought along side the men in one fashion or another to defeat the bad guys. Yes, Rose’s character was kidnapped, but she certainly held her own in this situation, and even braved meeting Megatron face-to-face. Discrimination? Again, I don’t see it. These women were not made to sit ideally by to let the “strong men” take care of things. They were front and center throughout much of the situations. Never mind the government official calling the shots was a woman. All this taken into consideration, the only negative thing we can say is that the female leads were made to look sexy as well as being strong, aggressive characters. Looking sexy is not sexist. Unnecessary at times, sure, but certainly not sexist. In the theater I saw it at, there were several girls who screamed with young teen lust whenever certain male characters appeared. Their reaction does not make those characters’ portrayals sexist. One’s reaction to what they’re presented does not always equate to the intent of what they’re shown. I agree that the camera’s lingering went too far, but sexist the film is not.

    Homophobia - An extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people. I don’t recall any homophobia in this movie. As another poster pointed out, there is a gay character (btw, how does including one equate to homophobia?), and this character does not fall for the typical gay cliché; he was actually quite the bad ass and personally, was one of my favorite characters. I don’t see how having an active, smart, physically capable gay character (whose sexuality is never made to be an issue) is evidence of homophobia.

    Racism - A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Again, where are the examples that show this? Having the main characters be one race or the other does not equate to racism. Nevermind the fact that Bad Boys 2, arguably Bay's biggest film outside of this franchise, and a nearly completely black cast...why would a racist do that? Do you cry foul when a british movie features british actors in the title roles? There are certainly other races that live in England, but its primarily white british actors you see. Is that racist? Hardly. And to complain about Tyrese Gibson being a “stoic black man” is really grasping for straws, especially considering he was the voice of reason through the initial battle, and his buddies (also black) were integral parts of the winning side. All this taken into account, I really feel like you will look for ANY thing to gripe about, and the only way you’ll see something as racially acceptable is if Optimus spent half the movie proclaiming equality for all.

    Jingoism - Extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy. I think you’re confusing patriotism with jingoism. These are not the same thing. If you want to see jingoism in film, go watch Team America. And even when discussing patriotism, there is little in this movie. Having the military be an integral part to a sweeping sci-fi epic about aliens trying to take over the world is not patriotic – its logical. Especially when you’re wanting major action sequences. I see no cause for alarm or any sense of jingoism by incorporating the military into this type of movie. There was no sentiment of America being the greatest nation in all the land. But since this is a movie made in America, by Americans, taking place in America, you feel it is unnecessary to include the US military, or any sense of Americana? I think this boils down to you being from another country and not liking any indication that the movie takes place here. Simple as that.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  22. Hotwire

    Hotwire Dealin' W/ Demons

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    Well said, Spider-Who?.

    I kept forgetting to mention Frances McDormand's character. Along with her repeated insistence that she not be called, "mam."

    You also made me wonder. Since when has stoic been an exclusively black trait?

    You hit the nail on the head with the jingoism part.

    You also echoed what I had said about homophobia. My example being, a homophobe has the irrational belief that somehow what two consenting adults do in private, effects their personal life.

    Again, well said.
     
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  23. Spider-Who?

    Spider-Who? ERMERGERD!

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    Thanks. And yeah, his post was the first time I've ever heard stoicism to be a black stereotype.
     
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  24. Grievous

    Grievous General of the Droid Army

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    As I said on another page in this thread, is a teenage girl being sexist to herself when she goes to the mall with make-up,a low cut shirt,a skirt and a thong to get guy's attention?
     
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  25. DTH

    DTH Active Member

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    So...What I find primarily interesting about this post is that it is out of the following;

    A) Typical
    B) Predictable
    C) Redundant
    D) Total BS

    Why? Because I can see you stomping your feet on the ground, MAD because a movie, a sense of entertainment carries...Propaganda. What a shock. Also, maybe you should realize that it's not so much promoting those stereotypes as noticing those types of personalities of people that come from every day life.

    Because someone who doesn't speak spanish who has a spanish speaking friend and when in the heat of the situation wants that friend to speak english is racist? Interesting.

    Sexism? Don't act like the body isn't attracted to actual physically appealing forms, big breasts, perky breasts, toned stomach, six pack abs, huge biceps etc etc, granted, everyone has their own fetish, but please don't parade around here, trolling like you're the defender of women's best interests.

    Homophobia, seriously? Grasping at straws here broseph. I don't know you, but this whole post you've created just screams "I AM THE PURVEYOR OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND JUST IN THE WORLD!"

    I don't know what some of you guys want these movies to be? The original G1 animated series? Well, if you want that, go watch those, and on your way to watch those, I don't want to hear "Well at least the cartoon series wasn't a vehicle to sell cars!" You're right. It was to sell toys. Watch a documentary or two.

    You may not like the stories contained within these films, and that's okay, but here's the thing. The world - fictional or not, contains personalities from nice, to mean as hell, to bi-polar, to motivated and self loathing. If you write a story people can't relate to with people from every day walks of life, then you have nothing.

    Instead of cursing, maybe you'll want characters to say "Fishsticks! Golly goshdarn icecicles!"
     
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