I love Minions. And you don’t. So: What’s the deal?

In defense of the pill-shaped icons who captivate America.

Feb 29, 2020, 10:27 pm*

Internet Culture

kids movies on netflix : minions

Photo via Minions/Facebook

BY ALEXANDER CHRISTMAN

Since their inception, Minions have brought me nothing but joy. They’re funny, loyal, insightful, ambitious, and provide us with a valuable commentary on the nature of humanity itself. They teach children important lessons, bolster the economy, spice up our products, and lessen the sting of mundane life. 

Where once I wiped a counter with a plain paper towel, now I find myself staring into the eye of a Minion happily absorbing a spill on my custom Minion-print Brawny sheets and I can’t help but enjoy my chores quite a bit more. In fact, I’ve intentionally spilled liquids on a number of objects in my house just so I can call to my wife and children to “get the fun towels!” 

The soft padding of their feet as they run to the Minion cupboard and back nearly brings me to sentimental tears. And then, again, our arms around each other, we are brought to tears—this time from laughter and joy—as the Minion does its work. We are united in this moment. We’re a family again, all because of the Minions. 

I imagined that this experience was universal.

Imagine my surprise as I began to see the general reaction of the American populace toward Minions as the fun, fresh, and exciting media campaign put the gears in motion a month or so before the release of the newest opus. It wasn’t anything like I expected, that’s for sure. In a word, it was hate. In another word, it was vitriol. In yet another word (and another), it was ignorance (and bitterness). But why did so many Americans hate Minions?

Vine after vine, YouTube video after YouTube video, Zoobe after Zoobe, meme after meme, all in the spirit of opposing the Minions. What compels your thinkpiece culture to perpetrate this heinous villainy? I’m inclined to believe that the answer is pure hypocrisy.

You say Minions are a marketing ploy and an attempt to impose a capitalist meme upon the public. That this is a gross use of social media and pop culture to get your money and to insidiously numb and corrupt Americans with the trademark saccharine-coated hollowness of capitalism. You say you’re too smart to fall for Minions. That you could create better characters easily and that the success of Minions is proof of the world’s inability to reward your talents. Minions are injustice! And you, mainly the jaded generation, hate to feel duped. 

Well guess what you anti-Minion brownshirts: Hating Minions is a meme unto itself. You’ve simply created an alternate medium for Minion absorption. Every utterance of contempt about Minions is merely a warped, bastardization of the idyllic familial scene I described above. In the place of my own family doubled over in laughter and emitting love and respect are gaggles of otherwise smart people doubled over in insecurity and emitting negativity and smugness. In either case, the specter of the Minion casts an unmistakable shadow over us all.

Trust me when I say that one day your smugness and anger will fade as your metabolism slows and eventually you’ll be just a little too tired after work to care so much. 

Most ironically you are selling Minions just as much as anyone else. Even if you hate them your tirades about Minions are brand advertisements, especially when these effusive broadsides are published in order to garner accolades from your peers. Or worse, some of you are using Minion hate to lure clicks. The more you publicly hate Minions, the more you feed the media campaign you so claim to despise. You, yourself, are a Minion.

Pill-shaped? Or just a tough pill to swallow?

Rest assured, you will be on the wrong side of history.

I’m writing this to stand up for the families of this country. Some days all one needs is a poorly compressed JPEG of some Minions to pop up on Facebook and encourage you to drink wine and support the troops. Some kids want an innocent childhood where they are free to wear T-shirts with a monocular movie star boldly spread across their chest. These T-shirts are probably a little too large, which some children will appreciate because they don’t quite feel comfortable in their bodies yet and, instead of highlighting their bashful insecurities, they can count on the apparel to billow in the wind like a mighty American flag. Freedom. These shirts can even be worn in the pool. Freedom. Some families want something easy to enjoy at the end of the day. Freedom.

If you loudly hate Minions, chances are that you’re young. You are loud about everything you hate because you feel it defines you. Trust me when I say that one day your smugness and anger will fade as your metabolism slows and eventually you’ll be just a little too tired after work to care so much. And once this happens, I can guarantee you that you’ll be the one posting Minion memes on Facebook because you too will just want to be told to drink more wine or support the troops and your kids will just want to wear a T-shirt with a Minion on it. You too will enjoy the smaller, yellower things in life.

I’ve got to be honest and say that it pains me to restrain myself in this piece. I wish I could say that Minions are some of this country’s greatest enduring icons, that their place in history is assured, that the humor and levity they bring to us in this time of conflict and strife are akin to a gift from God—who sees our pain and provides for His children and Minions, although it seems as though the writers of the Minions films espouse some sort of upsetting scientific evolution garbage, which I don’t believe is the true will of the Minions who are good followers of a Heavenly Creator. That they are basically modern-day Buster Keatons and Gilda Radners who make us bust up while making us think; that they are demolishing gender stereotypes left and right to the point that Elizabeth Cady Stanton is, I assure you, smashing her skeletal hands together in the grave in applause and appreciation of the Minions; and that the legacy of the Minions will never leave us. 

I’d like to be able to say these things freely (that day will come) but, for obvious reasons, I fear severe and unendurable mockery and slander from the inevitable horde which will come for me with tar and feather. Such is the state of America today, where enlightenment is held in contempt and the Minions movie only has a 54 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Minions don’t deserve the hate they’re getting and, at the end of the day, a Minion is a mirror. It’s a mirror that shows us our true nature, whether that’s the visage of a family man and patriot (me) or a childish, nasty, empty husk of a soul (you). Stare into the buck-toothed grin of a Minion and become overwhelmed by who you see reflected back into your own eyes. Or, sometimes, eye. 

Screengrab via Minions/Facebook

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*First Published: Aug 2, 2015, 5:33 pm