One of the great songs of generational rebellion, correlating long hair with an act of patriotism: The Cowsills and their mega-hit of 1969, Hair:
The song references several "revolts" which "the sign of hair" was a part of, one of which is that of the Old Testament figure Absalom, the third son of King David, whose hair was so long that, as he fled the fight against his father's army, his hair was caught in the trees and he was hanged to the death by it. The line, "Oh, say, can you see/my eyes if you can/then my hair's too short," clearly references the American Revolution and the revolt of our Founding Fathers from the motherland of England; it wasn't just a religious group or an economic class which revolted, it was a generation that revolted, and according to The Cowsills and the hippies of the 60's, if they can do it, so can we, and as their impeccably powdered wigs were a part of their reasonableness in their slogans of "No taxation without representation!" then the flower power would mingle with the long hair of the hippies and be a sign of "freedom from reason." The song deserves its own post, but it clearly catalogs a history of the Pompadour and its intimate connection to that rite of passage: the generational revolt.Generation Gap. In other words, it’s a clash of values, priorities, dreams and destiny, as we all know. (I am assuming that you have read Freud and Oedipus: the Ancient Struggle which details how and why generations need to revolt against the previous generation; this post won't make much sense if you haven't read it). What the hippies in the 60s knew is also what the teenagers of today know: it all gets tangled.
|It took 6 years & $260 million to make, the second most expensive movie ever.|
|Mother Gothel in her youthful form, not the aged, withering, old hag.|
There are particularly two great songs in this film--again, you might not think they are great in terms of musical excellence--but they excel in establishing the impetus, the heart of a generation and the inner stirrings of the soul: When Will My Life Begin? (video) is every generations' right to exist and fulfill its destiny in the way that it sees fit; every generation has been put here by God and that's why it's so tricky to judge the past actions of previous generations. Similarly, the song I've Got a Dream (video) illustrates the importance of each generations' calling to do what it is in their heart to do.
What is a dream?
The revelation from the Holy Spirit of what it is you are destined to become: it might be an actual dream as you are sleeping, or the pulling of your heart in a certain direction, but it is a revelation and it's God sharing his plan for you with you. Rapunzel waiting for her life to begin is the correlation that her life is her dream and her dream is her life. That's why the mean guys at the Snuggly Duckling bar wish Rapunzel the best in fulfilling her dream but they tell Flynn that his dream sucks: Flynn wants comfort and material wealth, but nothing that will fulfill him as a person, nothing which is his uniquely and specifically, which are the characteristics of a dream.
Rapunzel's pet chameleon is named Pascal which means "Easter" (the "Paschal" sacrifice). In Christ's own resurrection, we find our own resurrection, from the death of Original Sin to the Life of Faith and Grace we are all destined for. But her hair also supports this line of reasoning: she has 70 feet of hair (7 is the sacramental sign x 10 the perfection of grace at work in her). So her hair gives youth and beauty to Mother Gothel, but it also gives Rapunzel her very life, the life she's waiting to live.
Baby Boomers have very negative connotations of Generation X, the 13th generation of Americans who know the American flag; the whole cult of "devil child" films, such as Rosemary's Baby, is about the children of Generation X; if that's not a slam, I really don't know what is. Generation Y is so distorted, they can't even agree on the dates or a name for them, and all of this is accurately reflected in Flynn's nose always being messed-up.
Rapunzel story, the prince has been sneaking up and Rapunzel gets pregnant; that doesn't even come close to happening in this story). The other item of note for Flynn is the frying pan: "I have got to get me one of these," he says after fighting off the villains with it.
This is the generation of men who, more than any other, has to deal with "blurred lines of gender" and he becomes "successful" by the story's values when he is able to not only accept it, but embrace it. At the end, Flynn jokes that Rapunzel kept asking him to marry him and he finally said yes, but that's a joke, he says, he proposed to her and she said yes. This is an important moment, because it codifies in a rare way (and becoming rarer with every film released) what roles each gender has and which traditional gender roles are still... acceptable.
Sunset Boulevard who tells the story (the entire movie) as a corpse face down in a Hollywood swimming pool; in this linking of Flynn Rider to Joe Gillis, Sunset Boulevard also becomes a “coming of age” film because Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) holds young Joe hostage in her big home (as Rapunzel is held hostage in the tower).
|Joe Gillis (William Holden) dead in the pool in Sunset Boulevard, 1950.|
|Leaving the tower for the first time.|
It's easy to argue that her hair would have better served humanity by being left on, she could have been rescued another way... or there would have been a better way of getting rid of Mother Gothel... but the point is, this is the stance that this generation is willing to take. This is a statement of their priorities, their values, their decisions. The older generations might be more pragmatic--by their own standards--but no one ever ever ever does anything without a reason; there is always a reason for what we do. We might not know it or understand it, but that's the "gap" in the Generation Gap, understanding. Yes, Flynn was correct in cutting off Rapunzel's hair, because her soul goes from occupying the little tower, to the great castle pictured below. In looking at Rapunzel's hair as a resource--like oil, gold, medicine, a golden ticket to American Idol--Rapunzel has been reduced to being an object, not a subject, and it's freedom from objectivity that Flynn frees Rapunzel. This is the difference between the Baby Boomers and this younger generation, their determination not to be objectified, and for them, the issues aren't tangled at all.