How old should my daughter be before I let her watch The Godfather? It is the greatest movie in history, and I can’t wait to share it with her. She is 13 now. Is this too tender an age?
G. G., Denver, Colo.
Dear G. G.,
My answer depends almost entirely on your daughter’s feelings about horses. Also, tollbooths. But mainly horses. If, like many 13-year-old girls, she is deeply moved by the grace and beauty of horses, do not let her watch The Godfather. If she is indifferent to horses, I see no reason why she can’t watch it. The typical 13-year-old is exposed to so much mindless violence that exposure to the mindful violence of The Godfather will be salutary. (The same goes for The Godfather II. But do not allow your daughter, or any loved one, to watch The Godfather III.) Perhaps more salutary would be encouraging your daughter to read the book, by Mario Puzo. A long time ago, I heard a lecture delivered by Dan Rather (or possibly Jacques Derrida, I can’t remember), who said that only two books are needed to explain the universe of human sin: the Bible and The Godfather.
When we first met, my husband and I went out all the time. Now all he wants to do is stay home. How do I get him to go out and experience the world again?
K. C., New York, N.Y.
Dear K. C.,
I must say, I admire your husband’s lifestyle choice. The world is wildly overrated. Bad things happen in the world, such as monsoons, mudslides, bonuses to hedge-fund managers, Turkish flotillas, lightning strikes, Cake Boss, surfboard decapitations—the list is endless. It is true that many people suffer accidents in their home: 51 percent of all disabling injuries occur there, in fact. But the home is a haven. I learned this from Mario Puzo (see above), whom I got to know slightly toward the end of his life. I once asked him if I could take him out to lunch, and he invited me instead to lunch at his home. “My mother always told me that bad things happen when you go outside,” he said. Puzo, of course, was smart enough to be listened to by Dan Rather and, possibly, Jacques Derrida.