I have migrated the proceeding post from my old blogspot page. It’s literally the only thing over there that turned out to my liking. It’s a few years old but I think it holds together.
One of my earliest memories is of Floyd, from The Electric Mayhem Band, sitting in a stairwell. He is staring off into the night and playing a particularly touching rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Judging by the atmosphere and visual quality of my memory I can only assume this was from the television show. Yes, I still have some memories on videotape. I have yet to find it in any of their films that I have had a chance to re-watch in my adulthood, and the last two seasons of the show have yet to be released so I haven’t seen those either. When I do, I will have converted it to DVD in my head. To find a clip online would be a neurological downgrade that I do not want to subject it to.
I have often wondered how I perceived the world when I was younger. What was my understanding of reality? When I was very young one of my mother’s sleazier boyfriends dragged me to a sale at a carpet store with the promise of meeting Leonardo of the Ninja Turtles. The turtle in question referred to himself as Leonardo but was wearing an orange mask. I remember this as an emotional betrayal. Was this because it shattered my illusion that the turtles were real, or that not just any old asshole could throw on a turtle suit and advertise low, low prices? I don’t know. To the best of my recollection, I never thought that if I met Fozzy Bear or Grover there wouldn’t be a guy in a black shirt with a headset on underneath keeping them alive.
After seeing the 2011 film I took a look at my relationship with the Muppets. I know that my view of them is similar to most of my generation and before. I love the Muppets, all of them, unconditionally. And though I am quite positive they are fabricated from felt (we used to see the damn wires!) I feel, deep within my heart, that they love all of us unconditionally as well. Now I’m not advocating the formation of a ‘Cult of Muppet Cthulu’, (actually, that sounds pretty cool, maybe we should go with that) quite the opposite. I know that what I feel is a very intense feeling of nostalgia and comfort because we were all, quite frankly, Muppet indoctrinated from very early on by Sesame Street and multiple Muppet films. It’s not a conspiracy, but if it were any conspiracy Billy Connolly is part of is OK by me. I look at Kermit and Gonzo and I know they are not ‘real’. Their actions are not their own. Their story is a design of their puppeteers. What appeared to be the first reality show, based around the goings on backstage and on stage at the prestigious Muppet Theater, was entirely scripted and wholly invented. There never was a Muppet Theater, and Kermit isn’t even alive enough to be the charming, if sexually ambiguous, frog he is presented as. But I don’t care. Knowing that in my brain has no effect on the emotions that dictate my enjoyment of a good 22-90 minutes with any or all of the Muppets.
I’ll teach you to doubt the cohesiveness of my thoughts. See, throughout high school people would say the same thing to me all the time when I asked them about their weird fixation on Jesus. I love him, and in my very soul I know that he loves me. The difference being (for simplification’s sake) that this belief is reinforced by our parents and their institutions. Where a child’s parents would be honest when prompted about the Muppets, or Santa Claus for that matter, they are often tight-lipped or even hostile and authoritarian in regards to all matters religious. When a person has grown up with these convictions they are often well insulated even from the ability to spot the wires. Then insulated further from the ability to follow the wires down to puppeteers. I know from my childhood that even when the screen is small and fuzzy and you can’t actually see the wires it doesn’t stop them from existing. And where there are wires there are puppeteers. As I get older I see the puppeteers collecting their paychecks, and the HR department that prints those checks, and the company that sells their Muppets to a much larger, probably evil, corporation that somehow made an excellent fucking Muppet movie. But I still love them, and they still love me, and they’re still not real.