As a middle-aged American, I — like many others of my generation — have been subjected to hours, months, and ultimately many years of meticulously crafted entertainment from the Disney Company. Consciously, we view Disney as a hallmark of purity and high-quality family entertainment that espouses only the highest morals and family values. But under the surface, there is more than meets the eye.
Now, as a fatter, older, and surly grey-haired father of two girls, I am subjected to Disney movies and cartoons at an unprecedented rate. Through all of this, I also see a stark formula readily apparent in these films that I watched casually over the last 30-plus years and films that I am now forced to watch religiously. And it is quite troubling.
What is this Disney formula so ubiquitously found throughout its entire catalog? After watching “Little Mermaid” a few times over the past day or two (it’s playing on our DVD player as I type), I realize that from a father’s perspective, this plot is a direct kick-to-the nuts for dads everywhere. It is probably no better for mothers, either, though I suspect many moms grew up loving this freakin’ movie. Most of all, this formula is even worse for the little girls who watch this movie and are thereby expected to pattern their life’s path to parallel a fictional mermaid princess that exists in an absurd universe of fairy tales and magic spells.
Kebabs, or kabobs, depending on your spelling preference, are a form of food that appeals to the barbarian within all of us. The mere thought of sharp metal and wooden skewers piercing through tender hunks of meat as it sizzles over roaring flames conjure images of Turkish warriors, Arabian knights, and even Greek philosophers gathered around ancient pyres under starry desert skies, awaiting a higher form of sustenance earned only through the shedding of blood or arduous debate over human existence (in the case of the philosophers).
This primal mojo, coupled with my boundless adoration of eating meat on a stick, is precisely what makes kebabs one of my all-time favorite food items. Kebabs, in fact, approach perfection. Easy to handle, you can eat kebabs at carnivals, you can eat kebabs at weddings–both during ceremonies and receptions; you can eat kebabs on your couch, and you can eat kebabs to suppress road rage while suffering through rush hour traffic. On a boat, in a plane, or on the toilet — the kebab allows the eater to fill their stomach in succulent pleasure without the need for elitist plates, forks, knives, or napkins. Simply place the meat in your mouth and chew, swallow, and toss the empty skewer on the ground, and return your focus to the important business of thinking about what to eat next while sitting in front of your TV.
For these reasons, I was particularly excited about redeeming my free lunch coupon for the Tasty Kabob food truck in Washington, D.C.
Boy, did I ever set myself up for disappointment of tragic proportions.