Born in 1986, this '80s baby and '90s kid remembers the colorful and naughty side of millennial youth.
Charlie Bucket - Anti-Establishment or Corporate Weapon?
Whether you love the 1964 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book, the 1971 Willy Wonka film or the constantly played 2005 Charlie film, it's probable that you just may love the innocent and quiet Charlie Bucket.
But is this by corporate design?
Are you being emotionally manipulated?
I'm Just A Poor Boy.
Charlie Bucket lives in poverty.
The 1971 film glosses over how horrible his living conditions are, choosing instead to focus on how very much just like you he really is, but the 2005 film and the book are much more explicit.
He sleeps in a cold attic with the floorboards rotting away in a home that should be condemned, and he has to share a home with his parents and grandparents in an establishment where there is no privacy at all.
The 1971 film has his mother working in horrid conditions while the 2005 film has his father getting laid off in the opening moments from a low-paying job making toothpaste bottle caps.
His grandparents have chosen to stay in a shared bed for over 20 years.
While three of the four seem to be honestly disabled, Grandpa Joe actually is able-bodied enough to dance, which means he is likely feigning disability for sympathy, a fantasy many ableist people in corporate America revel in.
Corporations love to exploit the disabled in the workforce, often underpaying them and allowing supervising staff to chastise them despite ADA guidelines, and many articles and memes exist, wrongly labeling those on disability and other forms of public assistance as being "lazy" so it comes as no surprise that the character of Grandpa Joe in all versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is reviled by many as the ableist mascot by which those in power judge the less fortunate.
As the story moves forward, Charlie finds himself inching closer and closer to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to find a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's factory.
In order to find the ticket, you have to spend money on chocolate bars and hope one of them has the right wrapper.
For poor kids like Charlie, this means spending money you don't have earmarked for frivolity on gambling with chocolate.
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This is Wonka at his most corporate greedy, goading the world into buying chocolate they wouldn't normally buy in order to win a one-in-nine-billion chance at a tour of the factory.
What makes this worse is knowing only two or three markets ever get the tickets.
With the exception of Agustus in Germany, the winning candy in all versions is divided into the hands of four children from the UK and America.
This means that out of 195 countries on Earth, (Not counting Loompaland) only three had any chance of finding the chocolate bars.
Think of all the millions of dollars people worldwide must have spent on chocolate bars, especially in the 2005 film, when chocolate bars in many areas started at $2.50 to $3.25 per bar of the Wonka bars' size.
This is exploitation at its finest.
Charlie's birthday present is a non-winning chocolate bar, which he chooses to share with his family, because he feels guilty about having anything special for himself if it means his family goes without.
Charlie suffers from "poverty brain" where he finds himself unable to accept even so much as a gift without immense guilt.
A psychologist's nightmare.
But that nightmare is a rich miser's dream.
I'm Fine, Really.
In all versions of the story, Willy Wonka himself guides Charlie, Grandpa Joe, the other four children and their parents through a maze of traps, strange inventions and OSHA violations.
In each area of the factory, one or another child finds themselves on the brink of death.
The children are blamed in song for their misfortunes, but not Willy Wonka, who purposefully brought each child to a room that would prey upon their desires.
For example, Mike Teevee/Teavee is blamed for sending himself via television, when he had already outed himself as a fan of television during his interview.
Wonka had to watch each of the televised interviews with the winners in order to prepare, so at some point, he thought to have the television room open in case Mike made it past the first few rooms.
Mike willfully participates in his own downfall, and he is chastised in song by the Oompa Loompas.
As each child is led through the factory, they and their parents question Wonka.
They question the slave-like treatment of the Oompa Loompas. Wonka brags about uprooting an entire village of indigenous people, having them both live at and work 24/7 at the factory and he brags about only having to pay them in cocoa beans. They serve him with gratitude, exactly the dream of anyone owning a corporation.
They question how unsafe the factory is, how giddy and cheerful he is as each child faces their demise as a direct result of his negligence.
All except Charlie.
Charlie is obedient.
Charlie bows his head as he walks, only asking childlike questions about candy and not about business or working conditions.
Charlie never complains or questions.
In the 2005 film, Wonka takes a liking to Charlie for all of these reasons, even feeding him from the chocolate river Agustus just fell into, knowing the child will welcome this with much gratitude.
Charlie is grateful for used chocolate.
Elbows Off The Table, Charlie.
At the end of the 1971 film, Charlie is screamed at by Wonka, who blames Charlie for "ruining" his soda room after Wonka knowingly led the children into a room he openly acknowledged was unsafe and after Grandpa Joe encouraged Charlie to disobey Wonka in drinking the soda.
Once again, the 1% just love the ableist idea of Joe, who faked disability, turning out to be argumentative and one who incites disobedience.
But when Charlie apologizes to Wonka for something that is solely Wonka's fault, Charlie is rewarded with the factory.
In the 2005 film, Charlie finds himself helping Wonka reconcile with his abusive father, resulting in Charlie being gifted the factory.
Charlie only accepts if his family can stay with him.
Wonka has the cash to build Charlie and his family a newer, safer home.
Instead, he simply uproots the unsafe home Charlie currently has, and places it dangerously on a small ledge beside the chocolate river, on grass made of sugar.
Charlie's home could fall into the chocolate river at any time.
Charlie's obedience is what draws the rich to loving this film, and it plays into why the 2005 film plays in marathons all year round on many channels.
The children who asked questions or had any business savvy were not chosen.
Only obedient Charlie who keeps his head down is the winner.
And this is the rhetoric the rich want you to obey as well.
They don't want you to enjoy "avocado toast" or healthy foods, they don't want you asking questions, they want you to toe the line, like the blank slate, POV character Charlie is given in the films.
They hope you imprint yourself onto Charlie.
What happened to the boy who suddenly got everything he always wanted?
Well, if this was a true story, he'd get the OSHA violations, parental lawsuits from the losing children and union strikes from the Oompa Loompas that Wonka is looking to dodge.
Charlie is chosen to be the fall guy in case something happens to Wonka.
Why else would such an obedient child with no business training suddenly win a factory?
© 2022 Koriander Bullard