I call what I’m doing here ghostbusting, because a lot of this stuff is so subtle, and so minor taken *in isolation*, that I’ve been accused of jumping at ghosts. The whole Mrs. Doubtfire thing is a good example of that.
Consider Robin Williams’ speech at the end of the film:
Oh, my dear Katie. You know, some parents, when they’re angry, they get along much better when they don’t live together. They don’t fight all the time, and they can become better people, and much better mummies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don’t, dear. And if they don’t, don’t blame yourself. Just because they don’t love each other anymore, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever. All my love to you, poppet, you’re going to be all right… bye-bye.
There are other problems in the speech – particularly the part about different kinds of families – but what I’m focusing on is the bolded section.
You know, some parents, when they’re angry, they get along much better when they don’t live together. They don’t fight all the time, and they can become better people, and much better mummies and daddies for you.
Obviously this is going to be the case sometimes. Most things are the case sometimes. But the reason I refer to the movie as a “ghost” is because it fits my philosophy of ghostbusting: This is just another contributor to a culture that normalizes divorce. Not technically incorrect or harmful when this specific point is taken in isolation, but looked at in the context of the larger world it all feeds into very dangerous and destructive societal views about marriage.
The key to that sentence is that the divorce was a good thing. Its point is that when the parents divorced, they were becoming better mommies and daddies.
Now taken in isolation, you can probably stretch that in a way that makes it acceptable. But it’s a product, all part and parcel, with divorce propaganda. Like the “Mom is the boss” commercial. Sure, on its own, its funny and kind of cute, but its part and parcel of a culture dedicated to tearing down the father.
This might all seem trivial and rather petty, but we’ve reached a point where there are so many ghosts that the overall picture is starting to look rather solid. It’s high time to bust – and I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
[Taken partially from a response to James, but this is a point worth making generally.]