Childhood and violence

My response to a Facebook post of a children’s school play which is shockingly violent and murderous and uses forms of profanity in the dialogue. This is a children’s production of Scarface.

I certainly understand why you would see this as shockingly wrong and I do not blame you for your reaction. But in all honesty, as I watch this, I reflect that the children are merely imitating the adult world of entertainment.  I was the very first of the television generation in 1954. Every morning at 5am I would watch old WWII news reels. I could not wait for WWII so I could be a true manly hero and kill Germans and Japs.  Since 1954 I have seen 10,000 different ways to commit homicide, genocide and even intergalactic planetary destruction. I have watched political candidates campaign on the strength that they “actually defended” us by blanket bombing villages of women and children.  Perhaps the adults simply encouraged the children to be dramatically creative and it is the children who naturally chose the theme. We are horrified whenever we see children exposed to violence and sex. And yet the real world is run by very violent and very sexual adults. IF it were the case that these children later reflected that violence is a poor solution to life’s problems then perhaps we might see this academic exercise in a different light. If adults are sincerely horrified to see children using profanity (albeit bowdlerized) and dwelling upon killing and sex then perhaps we should start with ourselves. Gandhi said “We must ourselves BECOME that very change which we wish to see in the world.”

William – “What we have here is a failure to communicate”

I’m not horrified in reality, but simply amused. This particular form of mock horror is something of a Gen-X signature, indicating a cynical worldliness in reaction to a thing we believe would be clearly contextually inappropriate had it’s participants or architects only had the distance to see it in proper perspective, and is usually conveyed by dramatic over-exaggeration.

This is why we have things like Demotivators, Fail Blog and Regretsy. We celebrate the inadequacies of Man…. See More

Thus, something we would find that confirms those inadequacies in a particularly amusing and/or counterintuitive manner becomes the “Worst. Thing. EVAR!!!!” (one can throw in a deliberate misspelling and extra punctuation as an additional cue that one is not, in fact, serious in one’s objection, but I tend to think that gilding the lily).

There’s also a somewhat deliberate suspension of disbelief simply in order to experience the thing as reaffirming one’s view. We *want* this to be a fail because it would speak so elegantly about the logical absurdity of the ‘Free to Be You and Me’ Boomer mentality, that this is the world their abandonment of standards and quality for personal fulfillment handed us. So we ignore the fact that the video seems staged and is almost certainly deliberately viral and play along, becoming willful participants.

Or it could possibly be that in this particular instance you are wrong and I am write but it is our nature to feel very uncomfortable about being wrong and we scurry about gathering many reasons and justifications why we really were totally correct, perhaps brilliant, yet misunderstood through some shortcoming in our audience. If you are indeed right and I am lacking then I have at least helped you to belatedly elaborate your real thoughts on the matter. But does the failure of communication lay at your feet or at mine? Notice that your opening sentence is rather vague on that point.

You are an excellent friend to have on Facebook for a fellow Johnnie because you make me think and serve as a sparring partner to exercise my declining intellect. I am just trying to have some fun rattling your cage.


Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: