Erin Hunter’s Irresponsibility

9 Jan

The importance of religion and politics in the Warriors universe has always worried me, from the very first book onward. I finally decided not to recommend Warriors to children below or within the target age – 9 to 12 – when it became clear that Hollyleaf was, hair by hair, modeled after an Islamic jihadist. She actually murders in order to protect the Warrior Code or at least whatever she could pretend was left of it as long as certain secrets died with Ashfur. 
And while at some points, Hollyleaf was implicitly depicted as insane, mostly when the absolute simpleton Lionblaze questioned her zeal, her attitude usually seemed to be glorified throughout the narration. Was Ashfur truly so bad for wanting to reveal the truth that the law had been broken? Aren’t those who silence the truth through murder, the bad guys? Oh, but Hollyleaf grew herbs and chased off a fox, that makes it okay.

Now I finished “The forgotten Warrior”, in which Sol turns out to be little more than a butthurt lol-cow out for revenge. He is finally demonized without any room for rationalizing his actions and attitude. He is purely bad, purely out for revenge and wreaking havoc.
However, this seems too easy. Is this really what Erin Hunter had planned for him from the beginning? And if so, what do the writers want to tell their target group, easily brainwashed children, about choice, free will, and democracy? 
I thought that when Sol first made ShadowClan question the Warrior Code and Clan life, this was a good thing. Only when informed about all options, should one pick a certain lifestyle. It was a good thing that ShadowClan – or any Clan cat – was educated on other possibilities and encouraged to question dying for another cat, or for principles that practically make little difference or bear little negative consequence, such as frequenting kittypets or interacting with humans. Shunning and deriding kittypets actually has a lot in common with racism, homophobia and other such concepts of unjustified discrimination. But while no fictional hero would get away with calling a black character “Nigger” or a gay one “Faggot”, or disadvantage a Jew for being a Jew, it is perfectly acceptable for handsome Lionblaze to snarl at a kittypet for being a kittypet, and remain the popular good guy. Clan life may be the way of life of the central characters, but that does not mean that all other ways of life need to be depicted as negative. However, that is exactly what Erin Hunter do (for those not familiar with Erin Hunter: I refer to them in the plural form because Erin Hunter is actually a pen name behind which there are four writers). And just because the heroes are cats, I guess that means that all other creatures are “crazy”, “ugly”, “clumsy”, “smelly” or other bad things. Can one concept not be glorified without vilifying all others? Are Erin Hunter such simpletons that they cannot think in shades of gray, or do they deliberately present the reader with “the only right way”?
Basically, what Sol did, was introduce the concept of independent thinking to a flock of mindless sheep. Nowadays, that is a bad thing only in radical Islam, and certain Asian societies. Right, Kim Jong Un? Oh, and Russia, and… Ah, forget it.

I had already noticed how it was not depicted as merely unusual, but actually bad, when the ancient pre-Tribe cats cast votes rather than yowling agreement like an angry mob at whatever their leader decided. One person “up there” preaching to the applauding crowd, is what Achmadinejad does, what Hitler did, what Jerry Springer does. But is it a good thing? Mindlessly following one person’s orders?  Unless you’re the teacher of a bunch of children or mentally handicapped people, bascially people who cannot be trusted to make their own sound decisions, no, usually it is not. Clan life, like it or not, is a dictatorship. Sol, in the beginning, suggested a shot at democracy. Free will, independence. That such actions would be chosen by Erin Hunter as Sol’s evil scheme of petty revenge over a rejection, what does that say about what the writers want children to think in terms of sociopolitical issues? 

Probably that a fundamentalist, absolutist dictatorship is the desirable way of life. With Islamization growing and smothering more and more of the Western ways, maybe this is a way to gently ease this generation into an oppressive way of life and not become suicidal from it. Maybe Erin Hunter are doing the kids a kindness. Or maybe, children should not be reading such crafty brainwashing bullshit.

I love the Warriors saga, but I am a 30-year-old responsible adult with an IQ that allows me to question shit. 9-year-olds are neither responsible, nor able to make up their own minds. They think they are, but that is not the same. At this point, I don’t even know if I care whether Erin Hunter infused their books with political brain bleach on purpose, or not. The message one can read not just between the lines, is very clear:

“Baaaah! Baaaaah! Let’s graze over thaaaaaaar!”

There is a reason that user-generated content networks like deviantART and Facebook want kids below 13 off their turf. This is not because a 12-year-old is an easier target for pedophiles than a 13-year-old. It is because somewhere, a line has to be drawn and children too young to not be influenced by content only mature persons should see, need to be kept off certain platforms that are likely to provide such content. A versatile art platform like deviantART, or Facebook, where everyone propagates their religious or political radicalism, are such places. Children as young as the Warriors target group, cannot yet question the actions and opinions of their idols. Meaning their idols should, if they have to be political, not represent radicalism or fundamentalism.
I know many Americans try to make democracy look bad because Obama mad a few wrong calls – or maybe because he’s black – but any regime will produce errors along the way. That does not make democracy a bad thing. Take Israel for example; it is the only democracy in the Middle East and also happens to be the only place where women, homosexuals and even animals, have rights. Democracy is not anarchy, as some seem to think and as Erin Hunter seems to depict it.

I am a very political person with a few very extreme views. But Erin Hunter have to be either evil or utterly retarded (or high?) to think such views are appropriate in books written for children.

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