It's really fun to have a kid whose intellectual trajectory you recognize - like, at all. I'm also glad that they have somebody to talk to about these things, because I didn't. The vector might have changed in the modern era, but the principle hasn't: you can install entire belief structures at the root of your mind, fully baked, pre-approved. It's easy to find a context where the deployment of shibboleths can allow access to the sanctity of a hermetic cabal. As they have had the opportunity to discover, it gets dark fast when you deviate from whatever the local sacred writ is. I didn't have Reddit or whatever, because nobody had Reddit. There wasn't a Reddit yet. But when a friend asked me if I was ready to pick up a gun and kill in order to create the just society we had been discussing, I wasn't! I wasn't ready. And that was bad, in an apparently unforgivable way.
Anyhow, yes. We've had these Turtles for a minute now. If you don't see art you consider "innovative art," you just aren't looking in the right places. A corollary of the conversation to be had about movies is one we often have about music in this house, and if you constrain your lens to pop it's like, yeah. Pop is a technical art. Human beings are industrial inputs in the vast majority of pop, like, I don't know… ore. What is extruded out the other side of that device might have very little relationship to what went in. I think that's interesting actually and the idea of human beings as instruments for someone else to play is not new in any way, shape, or form. But the dynamics of that industry mean that you don't look there for leading indicators. It is a place where leading indicators from artists outside that mechanism are calcified into cold, hard cash.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an especially strange creature, for lack of a better term, to have risen from such depths. The metaphor is completely baked into the concept! It's thoroughly outsider shit whose weirdo ethos literally bubbled beneath the surface of the culture. A parody of mainstream comics, which - like all truly robust parody - understands its subject matter enough to also be an exemplar of its best traits. And each generation that watched it puts a stamp on it the next time around, scooting it forward. Some works are attenuated beyond recognition by this generational relay, or corporate dominion. It's frankly life affirming how potent it has remained, and it is a credit to the young men that allowed themselves to be, perhaps, for a short time, a little mad.