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Call for Questions: Battle Red Bag 2015, vol. 6

A Bag without questions is like a Longhorns' game without a special-teams gaffe, or an Irishman without a drinking problem.

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A few weeks ago, my wife, kids, and I went to see Pixar's "Inside Out." It's pretty much fantastic, and (at least if you have kids) it's almost guaranteed to make you cry a little.  There's no shame in that, however, because we are manly men and whatnot.

Anyway, yes, great movie. Probably the best Pixar movie ever, at least from a plot perspective. ("Monster's University" was more visually impressive, but that's neither here nor there.) But there's one unaddressed, slightly meta aspect that, the more I've thought about it, is the most interesting part of the whole film.


Every character in the movie, at least among the characters whose heads we see inside, has five emotions: joy, disgust, anger, fear, and sadness. (Except for the bus driver -- he just has five rage emotions of different colors.) In the dad, all five emotions are male. In the mom, all five are female.

Yet, in the main character, joy, sadness, and disgust are female, while anger and fear are male.

At first, I chalked this up to a casting decision and assumed that the genders were selected because Lewis Black and Bill Hader were already on board to do the voices. And maybe that is true. But, regardless, I think it makes the whole thing more interesting if you think of it as a subtle critique of how we, as adults, are much more rigid in our thinking than we were as kids.  We take these attitudes and personality traits for granted now, but imagine if your 11-year-old self could have a chat with your current self. How crazy do you think the 11-year-old would find some of the things that you worry about, or think about, or care about in 2015?

People always talk about how they were "carefree" or whatever when they were kids. But that's not true. You had cares and fears and worries; they were just wholly different from the cares and fears and worries of today.

The trick is remembering that fact and, if you have kids, trying to interact with them in a way that recognizes that they aren't miniature adults. That's exceedingly hard to do, but you owe it to the kids to keep trying.


By now, I'm sure you know the drill. If you want to participate in next week's Battle Red Bag:

1) You should email me at mattycamp (at) gmail (dot) com.

2) Your email should contain a question that you want me to answer. It can be more or less anything. You might ask why I think Frozen has a really messed up sense of how to deal with a handicapped child and glosses over what would be an almost crippling lack of emotional growth. You might ask whether Brett Kollman is far more talented than this blog deserves (spoiler: yes). Hell, if you really trust me -- or if you have nowhere else to turn -- you might even ask me about something that has an actual impact on your life. Totally up to you, the question-asking person.

3) If you want to ensure that the question is actually read, you should put something in the subject line of the email like "Battle Red Bag" or "Question for the Bag" or "BFD's sponge baths are drying out my cuticles."

4) You should (a) be aware that, at times, not every question will be answered in the week it was received, depending on the volume of questions and (b) check back in about five days to read the answers.

5) You should also be aware that questions left in the comments to the "Call for Questions" posts will not be used...unless they are really good or I need filler or I just otherwise choose to do so.