Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Witchcraft Go Down

The other night we offered a free babysitting service at church. We do this like every other month. I was one of the four people who showed up to help, and I was the only guy to boot. I helped freshman girls babysit six children of varying ages up to 5. It was our goal to tucker the kids out as quick as possible so we did everything from chasing them around their makeshift chair-fort to swinging them about by their ankles.

Eventually, after they were docile enough to sit in a chair, we put in a DVD. Apparently,
The Little Mermaid is just plain scary for a five year old, and The Incredibles is too grown-up. Not according to the parents mind you. These are the words of the five year old.

Anyway, we settled on
Mary Poppins. I've only seen this movie a couple times mind you. I never watched it as a kid (a travesty, I'm told), and my wife made me watch it as an adult. Let me just say that Dick Van Dyke is reason enough to watch the movie, but I'd have been interested if it was just 1960's Julie Andrews buttoning her coat for an hour and a half. Arf.

You most certainly may not 'call me sometime.'

However, watching the movie with little kids gave me pause to rethink it a little and I came to see the no-nonsense nanny in a different way. It took all the strength I had not to turn it off right then and there.

I can't believe that Christians, with all their little sensitivities, have let their children watch this for over two generations. Let me show you what I mean.

Why Mary Poppins is a Horrible Role Model for Christians

5. Mary Poppins is incredibly vain - All one has to do is listen to her interview with Mr. Banks to see just how highly Ms. Poppins thinks of herself. After the horse race you can surely see that false modesty is not her strong suit. 'Practically perfect in every way,' my foot. She's practically the blue-ribbon finalist of Vanity Fair.

4. Mary Poppins is manipulative - She's constantly putting ideas into people's heads. Really do you want your children to be able to get you to buy them video games and soda and then turn around and convince you it was your idea? I don't think so.

3. The movie implies that men are stupid - Listen to Mrs. Banks' suffrage song. Maybe this is more of a...personal grief. Still, God put us in charge, so NYEH!

2. Mary Poppins is a dirty drunk - In one of the bedtime scenes, she gives the children some 'medicine.' It's some magic, voodoo liquid candy or something actually, but whatever. The kids like their tasty medicine, which has a different flavor each time. Guess what Mary's is? Rum punch! She even gives a little hiccup afterward. Not only is she a drinker, but she can't handle the sauce.

1. Mary Poppins is a Satanic witch - This one should be a no-brainer folks. She flies in on a cloud, blows the other potential nannies away in a freak gust of wind (monopolize, much?) and takes the job right out of their wrinkly little hands. She slides up the banister in scene reminiscent of Linda Blair's spinning head and displays a number of other magical powers throughout the film. If Harry Potter's bad enough to shield our kids from, surely Mary Poppins should also be bearing the brunt of our wrath.

We Christians pride ourselves on being watchdogs, yet for over forty years we've let this she-devil avoid our damning gaze. We've successfully voiced our outrage over the likes of Harry Potter's bazillion iterations, The Golden Compass and others of their ilk. Don't let the soft spot in your heart for this one stop you from doing the right thing.

And shame on you Disney for like the millionth time. Sheesh.


Katrina said...

Oh, Greg. My lifetime "hero" dashed by you satire... I do not approve! I heart Marry Poppins even though she is Practically Perfect in Every Way. She is in my/our life(s) to stay.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Dude--read the book. It's worse. Kind of freaky...but witchcraft is a new twist to me.

Gregory said...

IC - I was just trying to make it that much more offensive to us Christians. Although I hear Mary is very vain in the books.

PraiseDivineMercy said...

LOL. I dunno. I loved that movie as a kid. Especially Dick Van Dyke dancing on the rooftops.

Please check this out:

A friend showed my one at church today (it was a child's birthday present) and I was rather disturbed. I need you to ease my fear with glib mockery.

CMinor said...

I second the IC-- the book Mary was a nasty, snappish little caricature of a working-class London girl. But for her contacts in the realm of magic, it's hard to imagine any kid without masochistic tendencies developing a fondness for her. For that matter, it's hard to imagine all those magical beings having a fondness for her. Maybe she was blackmailing them on the side.

IC, do you think there's any symbolism in that business about her being related to a cobra?

I'll take Nurse Mathilda/Nanny McPhee any day, thank you. She's a drill sergeant, but at least there's a heart in there somewhere.

Allen's Brain said...

Well, the first several items merely verify that she's a woman, right?

OW! OW! Your umbrella just bit me!

Aaron Harlow said...

Dang. Guess I can't finish Harry Potter..

Claire said...

Too funny! Have you seen the "recut" Mary Poppins trailer on YouTube? It might just confirm all your worst suspicions about the movie. (link:

R.D. Thompson said...

Dude...I love you...

Hoosier said...

Wow. This is ridiculous. As Christians we love this movie. It has many valuable Christian lessons to teach, like cleaning up, sharing and it is good clean fun. We are a little dumbfounded by your extremist views.

P.S. there is nothing wrong with Harry Potter either. Our pastor used Harry Potter and the message of the Power of Love in one of her sermons last month. Is she going to hell?

Aaron Harlow said...

Hoosier: So I guess you find picking up toys with the help of demons a lot of fun!!?? You'll understand one day, when your child comes home with dye in their hair, what a mistake you've made!!

God Bless.

Wes said...

I am a Christian and was raised one. I read the narnia books (filled with magic and evil just like harry potter and mary poppins) and learned the enjoyment of fantasy without believing that that was the way to live. Christians need to spend their time doing God's work instead of staying on the internet nit-picking every little story looking for manipulation. Just turn it off and go on with your lives.

Aloise said...

I just watched Mary Poppins for the first time as an adult (with my five-year-old son). I used to watch this movie once a week when I was his age and, although I wondered where Mary Poppins came from, I never thought she was a witch. As an adult, it was my first thought ("She's totally a witch.) Honestly I was more struck by how vain and deceiving she is than trying to figure out the source of her power. Nothing in the movie eludes definitively to where she came from or why she can do magic. You could just as easily make a case for heavenly origins... you know, if she wasn't so darn manipulative and narcissistic.

Yokimato said...

Woah, I never knew there were people really like this out in the world, just an exaggeration. Mary Poppins? Harry Potter? Coming home with hair dye...?

I feel so sorry for your children, and your children's children.

MiaMelodey said...


Bballerina said...

I just read all of this and i am watching Mary poppins, have hair dye in my hair, an love harry potter. Pity I just found out I'm going to hell xD

Unknown said...

I could hug you. Seriously. It is an entertaining bit of fiction. If you can't handle fiction and can't teach your children the difference between fact and fiction, that is a very sad thing!