Cultural Divide

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The lights dim and you press Play on your entertainment system. You lean back in your seat to enjoy another entry in a well-loved genre. It’s quite likely a story you’ve seen a few thousand times by now, but you recognise the names of the creatives and you’re willing to give things a whirl.

You know the story, the one about the willful child who careens from one self-inflicted calamity to the next, while their forbearing parents, patient and compassionate (and invariably well-resourced), try their best for their child. And we know how it ends — on screen, at least: as our story reaches its appointed climax, the child — having spurned their awful, selfish and clueless parents for the preceding 80 or 345 minutes — returns to the arms of their parents, safe, secure and totally forgiven.

The earliest memory I have of exposure to such stories is from The Wonderful World of Disney television series when I was ten or eleven. That same memory includes 10-/11-year old me exchanging a look with my Awesome Sister, and together we would look at our Stern but Loving Parents, and we’d think, That shit would never fly in our family.

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