Daily Archives: January 26, 2012

The Dusty Television: X-MEN (1992)

One of my favorite things about Netflix is the way it’s there for me at the loneliest part of the day: the fifteen minutes before I fall asleep at night.  I’ve recently started revisiting some shows of my youth as I go to bed. Unexpectedly, this routine has taken a few odd, introspective turns for me.

The shows initially served as a mindless but comfortable place to set my brain before sleep. But on the following days, when my brain was wide awake, I started thinking about how these shows shaped a portion of my personality, especially ideas of morality and heroism. Just as those musings started getting loopy and complicated, I happened upon this Chuck Klosterman piece on nostalgia,which explained that some of us will always care for our memories like dear friends (Klosterman has been moving up the Riedesel zeitgeist with a bullet). So I’ve mostly come full circle. I’m still using my childhood stories as a parking space for my consciousness, but I don’t need to understand their final impact on me to get a kick out of how much I simply didn’t understand as a kid. I’m now satisfied with open-ended reflection.

7 years old during my first viewing, I just finished re-watching season 1 of the 1992 classic, X-MEN. And most of the take-away can be represented in this picture:

Don’t complain about the size (that’s what she said?). It’s just what my phone delivered. What you’re looking at is an impressive strategy of destruction hatched by the world’s most powerful mutant mind. In an effort to take out a giant, power-hungry robot named Master Mold, Charles Xavier has loaded up the team’s jet (the Blackbird) with clearly-marked drums of gas and crates of TNT and is going kamikaze on Master Mold’s metal butt (it would feel wrong to use PG-13 language for a Y7 show). I’m already a little on-guard about Xavier’s choice of cowboy-age explosives to defeat a futuristic robot. I know the Blackbird has weapons on it because I just saw it shooting lasers a few seconds before this “suicide is okay if you think it’s meaningful” scene. But that’s not the most troubling decision from Xavier. This is: none of the X-Men seem to know that Professor X is going to embrace sweet release behind a veil of heroism, which really only leaves two options: 1) Xavier picked up every drum and crate and rolled them onto the jet in secret…we’re nixing this possibility since the X-Men jumped into this battle under a real time crunch. 2) Xavier brainwashed/mind-controlled his team into helping him without their knowledge. That’s a breaking rule #1 in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Telepaths.  I wish this were unlikely, but true X-Men fans know that it’s totally Chuck’s style. Bottom line, with this evidence in front of me, I can’t trust Professor Charles Xavier.

I never noticed these things as a child, and I suspect it was because I was too naive and trusting. Well, shame on me. I knew adults were crooked enough to make me learn long division while a calculator sat only inches away, why did I think they’d be straight with me in my stories?

X-MEN season 1 summary: My childhood was a sham.

Wishing I was a mutant with perfect memory powers,
Dusty “stuD” Riedesel

Editor’s note: I am my own editor, and this blog post really got away from me. I wrote it while vacationing at my parents’ house, drinking an average of six Dr. Peppers a day and wearing a maroon shirt that said “I’m an over-caffeinated, future diabetic that can fit this phrase on my shirt because I’m fat from all the Dr. Pepper I drink.” I’ll do better next post.