Edward Scissorhands: Tim Burton’s Rhetoric on Suburban Ideologies

TimBurton copy

Professor Sze’s brief mentioning about the idealized suburban lifestyle reflected in American pop culture in lecture today made me think of the neighborhoods in Tim Burton’s movie Edward Scissorhands and the work he put into making them appear so pristine and almost unreal. Burton wanted to reflect the suburbs he grew up in as a kid in Burbank, CA and the generic and unified feeling they had that was so familiar in shows like Leave it to Beaver or The Wonder Years. The setting of the movie was meant to remind us of the brainwashing media that portrays these idealized lifestyles and makes us believe that they are the key location to a wonderful and happy life. However, anyone that has seen Edward Scissorhands knows there was a lot of darkness hidden behind those pinks walls and perfectly manicured hedges. Burton likely wanted to exploit those ideals and reveal to the world that under that immaculate facade, the world is still imperfect and holds lies, hatred, and hegemonic ideals that are continued to be covered up by institutions like our suburbs.

How else do you feel suburban living has influenced (or brainwashed) us as a society, and has the image of a perfect suburban life influenced your family in any way?

*I could not find an original interview from Burton about the set; all of the facts I found were on the films’ Wikipedia page


The Invisibility of Disabled People in America


Since reading Douglas C. Baynton’s passage on disability discrimination and its relation to racism and sexism, I began to think about the other ways in which people with disabilities are publicly ignored and not given the rights they deserve. I found that this week in Vermont, a disabled man had been wrongfully held in prison past his sentence because the state does not have adequate transitional housing for disabled persons released from incarceration. This lack of attention and resources given to people with disabilities can relate to the media and news outlets’ exclusion of the way people used use disabilities to justify racist and sexist comments and institutions in the twentieth century. This news reinforces the fact that our society in the United States has not made enough of an effort to provide people with disabilities the tools to live a fair and free life as this country has promised. In what other ways, then, are people with both mental and physical disabilities discriminated against and what will it take to get society to recognize them as people too?