Lessons for teenagers from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!
1: Compulsive liars make the best friends! All the telltale signs of calculating manipulation and heartless exploitation notwithstanding, Ferris isn’t a budding sociopath or a budding narcissist or a budding anything — he’s your best buddy!
2: The end justifies the means. Lie, lie, lie, so long as it’s for a good cause… which is to say, for your own entertainment.
3: Crime is awesome! Hacking, auto theft, impersonating a police officer — these aren’t serious offenses but merely youthful hijinks!
4: Taking advantage of your socio-economic privilege = REBELLION!
Lessons for teenagers from Grease!
1: Your friends don’t really like you. They like having another person who clicks into place in the clique. Hide your true self.
2: Hiding your true self might make you popular, but it isn’t enough to make you desirable. To mate successfully, you must actually discard your true self in favor of a completely constructed persona.
2a: If you’re a girl, you must also put out. But if that leads to pregnancy, you’re on your own!
3: Pregnancy scares can last for an entire school year — roughly nine months.
4: Nostalgia has no place for persons of color.
5: Slumber parties are arenas for backbiting, humiliation, and ritualized social indoctrination. (note: If your social circle follows rules 1-4, then rule 5 is totally accurate.)
Lessons for teenagers from The Breakfast Club!
1: Forced accidental interaction temporarily erases the otherwise stringent borders of social stratification. (To repeat: only temporarily. Phew!)
2: You and your classmates are equally disenfranchised and alienated. Those of you who suffer parental abuse or neglect or marginalization by your peers have no right to roll your eyes at the relatively small problems of the privileged, pretty, and popular people who enforce your ostracism.
3: Girls, never forget that you must conform to a rigidly narrow beauty standard! Your spiky, eccentric personality should be subdued beneath a veneer of make-over lipgloss and shy smiles.
4: If you’re a bookish nerd, you should expect to do all the work while the prettier people hook up. And you’d better like it.
5. Open rebellion and dignified dissent are impossible; resentful half-hearted acquiescence to the status quo is the best solution.