Speaking Truth to Power, Jamie-Style

This past Saturday, as Sarah was out grocery-shopping with Dominic, and I was doing something equally important, James, the Fifth Son, was watching Netflix.

Saturday-morning cartoons are pretty much an inalienable right in our house. If I remember correctly, the majority of the boys were downstairs with “Wolverine and the X-Men” at the time. (Speaking of which, almost nothing is funnier than Cormac, the Sixth Son, saying “Wolverine.” Awesome.) But since James tends to be a bit more timid in his viewing habits, he’ll often break off into his own cartooning session.

Usually, that means “Phineas and Ferb” — Yes, the family dinner hour often features all six Speaking Susanka boys reciting entire “P&F” episodes verbatim. Why do you ask? — but today, for some reason, he went with “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.”

I must not have been paying much attention — because coffee, remember? — or I’d have put a stop to it. “Jake” is a not-favorite of mine, for two reasons (at least), both of which are nicely captured in the show description: “An Annie Award-winning musical interactive animated Disney Junior show based on the successful Disney franchise.”

First, “…franchise.” It feels ponderously geared towards merchandising/franchising, which I rarely like. (Merchandising and franchising are fine with me, really. I just don’t want to feel like they’re the driving-and-maybe-only “creative” force.)

Second, “interactive,” a stylistic staple in recent ToddlerTV shows for which I cannot adequately express my vehement hatred. Seriously. I really hate it. (It always feels like “talking down/condescension” to me. Yeah, I’m crabby and old. But still, dislike.)

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However, being not always as mean as I seem — or maybe just not being caffeinated enough to let my true meanness shine — I allowed James and “Jake” to play together for a bit. And my “kindness” was rewarded by this fantastic little exchange:

JAKE (with a treacly charm): Hey, mateys. Will you help us keep the golden egg safe while we figure out who it belongs to?

JAMES (with an astonishing vehemence): NO!!!

I jumped.

And burst out laughing.

Ah, it warms the cockles of me “heart.”

Completely out of the blue, as well. He’s usually so mild-mannered.

I might be rubbing off on him, just a bit. Yeah, that worries me. But yeah, he kept watching. So maybe I’m not actually rubbing off that much.

Thank God.

Attribution(s): “Neverland Prisoners”s courtesy of Getty Images, which allows the use of certain images “as long as the photo is not used for commercial purposes (meaning in an advertisement or in any way intended to sell a product, raise money, or promote or endorse something);” “James” courtesy of me.

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About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.