Furshadowing or My Pet Peeve
I just watched the movie SHOOTER. After the set up combat/sniper intro, the story jumps ahead 3 years and we see the chief protagonist in an idyllic mountain home with his big ol’ sweety pooch. . .. Stop right there! Nobody move, nobody gets whacked.
In the course of my lifelong search to find the best free escapism, I read a lot of novels. After a few hundred I saw that one thing most of these writers had in common was using the same distressing plot device. If one of the characters had a pet, you could bet within short order, a horrible fate was coming for Spot, or Puff or even the %#*&! goldfish!
For me the blame lies right at the apocryphal cryonically frozen feet of Walt Disney. The avuncular creator of The Mouse simultaneously raised and lowered the bar 50 years ago with the purported children’s movie Old Yeller. I don’t want to give any spoilers but do the term hydrophobia mean anything to ya? Oh, I’m sure Walt was praised back then for introducing harsh reality into the genre. After all, kids are people too and should have their Pollyanna-like ( this was of course before Disney owned the rights to Pollyanna ) hopes & dreams shattered as quickly as possible, while inducing them to buy tie in products. If MacDonald’s had been a national powerhouse in the 50’s & not just a Chicago burger joint, I’m sure there would’ve been Old Yeller cups & action and inaction memorial figures with your fries.
Harrison Ford had a thriller out in recent memory, FIREWALL. It was not very well thought of & it again brought up the question of whether or not Mr. Ford, now in his 60s, is too old for all this huffin’, puffin’ & blowin’ things uppin’. Well, as far as the storyline went, it was by the numbers. Except for one. Spoiler Alert: The cute family dog lived!!! I bet a kid had something to do with that. Or maybe a girlfriend. Yeah, I like that idea. Though based on the reviews, most critics thought a kid probably wrote the screenplay. Me, dog lives? I gave it 5 stars. . ..
These writers were all children once. As jaded as I am, I doubt they all harbored the deep seated need to kill the dog. Spank the monkey? sure. Fido, no. Nor were they all the kind who pulled the wings off flies & walked them around on a leash before smoking them with a magnifying glass. OK, except for Stephen King. Since he’s mostly recovered from that hit & run accident now, I gotta say that dude is seriously fucked up. Though we do share a secret, don’t we Stevie. . ..
So, what up wit dat? It’s a puzzler. Is it supposed to make the reader instantly hate the evildoers? It works, but mostly I really loathe the author. This is because, they really killed the animal. Didn’t they. . .. AND now I’ve blown their sick little cover, lookout. I’m guessing it’s grannies next. Sweet ones too, only she won’t be back like in Little Red Riding Hood. Unless it’s as a vengeful bloodsucking demon and/or agent.