Sad, I know.
I’ve been thinking about Smurf Village as a metaphor. A series of metaphors.
First, capitalism. Or maybe feudalist proto-capitalism. Someone gives me free blueberry seeds. I have a few slaves. They’re slave-Smurfs. I provide them housing, but no pay. They have no control over their working conditions. They do not enjoy the products of their labors. I use those free seeds to build wealth, with which I gain more slaves by building more housing. Once I accumulate enough wealth, I can plant crops that yield more profit. I can work my Smurfs around the clock. And I do. I actually feel guilty, but I can’t let my fields set idle. Even when I have more gold than I can spend in the SmurfStore.
I want more. So my little Smurfs barely sit down on the logs I’ve provided (because they earn points from Timber Smurf) and I’m calling them back to produce more wealth that I don’t really need.
That’s the system. There’s no out. No Smurf Revolution. No LaborOrganizer Smurf.
The gender implications aren’t much better. Smurfette is the only girl in the village (we’ve been down this road, I know), but she gives experience points every so many hours by blowing kisses. The more Smurfs that are around when she blows, the more experience points I receive. I benefit more the more Smurfs she blows.
That is disturbing. I realized how disturbing as I said to my four-year-old daughter, “Wait until she’s in a crowd of Smurfs because you get more points if more are around when she blows her kisses.”
I used to call myself a feminist.
Smurf Village might also be a metaphor for our culture. I get some modicum of satisfaction from harvesting my crops and watching my gold grow, from expanding my village and building more houses and fields. My input is even more minimal. Or is it? I watch my Smurf Village more closely than my retirement account (which refuses to grow). I now check Smurf Village more often than my email.
I used to be addicted to email. Now it’s a distraction from my Village duties.
Luckily, I just planted golden corn, which won’t mature for ten hours. At least I can sleep through the night. Until my scouting party returns from spying on Gargamel.
I am a sad little person. Papa Smurf has a potion for that.