L. M. Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu, 14 Sep 2000 18:22:18 -0500
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Here I have to ask, what do you consider the "right" way to approach
our children? You talk of stealing their innocence, a phrase I hear
quite often, but what is this innocence? As far as I can tell, this
idea of a sanitized innocent childhood, is a fantasy based on a
period of time starting with the child labor laws set early in the
20th century, and ending with the '60s. Now, we are looking at a
little less than 50 years of human history, and saying that out of
the entire span of human existence, that period should determine how
we treat our children?
Perhaps you do not remember childhood as well as I do, or perhaps
your childhood was far happier than mine, but my entire life I have
been struck with how outright cruel children are to each other! I see
very little of the pure innocence you attribute to children. Growing
up, it was not the media, nor advertising, nor the world of adults
that caused me to become the cynical, slightly asocial man I am now,
but rather the derision and cruelty of the other children around me.
I do not mean to step on anyone's toes, and I realize that everyone
wants to believe that their child is a perfect little angel, but
think back people! If you weren't picked on as a child, then you
probably amused yourself by picking on those beneath you in the child
Throughout human history children have often been considered the most
resilient and adaptable examples of our species. For the bulk of
human history, it has been believed that the more hardship a child
endures, the greater their strength of character will be when they
reach adulthood. Now, whether you agree with this or not, that has
been the case for most of the time humans have existed, and we made
it here. Yet now we cry that our children are "growing up too fast!"
Only a few hundred years ago a boy of 15 was middle-aged, yet now we
worry about the idea of a 15 year-old boy seeing a picture of a nude
18 year-old girl? 100 years ago children watched people die next to
them from black lung disease while working in a mine, yet we are
worried that it will irreparably harm children to see a person on TV
smoke a cigarette? Today, in the third world, gangs of 8-15 year-olds
rob and sometimes murder people, yet we are worried that playing a
first person shooter will unalterably warp our children?
I say that we give children a little more credit. They are just small
people. They don't need the world to be sanitized for them, they need
to be shown how to deal with the dirty world in which we live. I am
not saying that our current media does this, nor am I saying that it
is our media's responsibility to do this. What I am saying, is that
shielding our children does not get rid of the fact that these
factors do exist in our society, and they will have to deal with them
sooner or later.
As unfortunate as it is, I have seen people cussing up a storm in a
Fortune 500 corporate board room, so why try to shield our children
from language that so permeates our society? Before I was 18 I had
seen 2 people shot right in front of me, and had seen more dead
bodies than I care to count, so why try to shield our children from
violence when they will see it out on the streets? When I was in
elementary in LA, I had people try to sell me drugs, so why pretend
that no one uses them when they are going to have to face the choice
themselves, and their peers will be the ones using the drugs? In all
of these cases I was able to come through without embarrassing myself
by lecturing a VP about his use of language, without becoming a drug
addict, and without getting myself shot. Why? Because I was educated
in the way the world really works, rather than some sanitized fairy
tale cleaned up for my consumption.
By building a perfect fantasy world for your children, all you do is
make it hard for them to know how to deal with real world situations.
It is just like any other aspect of life, the more you know about it,
the better you are able to deal with it, and ultimately that is what
we all want isn't it, for our children to be as successful as they
can possibly be at their chosen field of interest, without becoming a
drug addict and without getting shot?
- ----- Original Message -----
From: -Z- <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2000 2:54 PM
Subject: RE: [gundam] (Slightly-0T)Government crackdown on violent
> Sorry, I don't agree. Conflict and resolution are at the heart of
> drama, but violence need not be part of the conflict and violence
> as entertainment is decadence in its purest form. (Sex has always
> been a form of entertainment, since 80% of all sex is fantasy,
> shared or otherwise.)
> This issue, by the way, is no longer simply violent entertainment,
> but violence (and sex and the consumption of sugar, caffeine,
> alcohol, and nicotine and a generally disrespectful Attitude)
> targetted to minors. R and NC-17 movies are magnets to those who
> are excluded, as are all things forbidden, and producers,
> advertisers, and distributors are shaemlessly exploiting this. If
> they were treated like other child molesters, this might stop, but
> it's too late for that -- the Industry can't sustain itself without
> massive infusion of juvenile capital.
> Anime is getting caught in the middle, because of the American
> fixation that "cartoons are for kids" and the notion that all
> animations are cartoons. Ditto comic books and manga.
> When I was growing up in the 50s, there was no such thing as Prime
> Time. Daytime television was equally divided between soap operas
> for Mom and action/adventure shows and cartoons for the kids -- all
> adults except housewives were supposed to be out working for a
> living. Adult TV began with the evening news, veered into family
> fare like I Love Lucy for the first hour or so, and only got into
> adult fare like Dr Kildare, Gunsmoke, Dragnet, Perry Mason and the
> like at what was considered bedtime for most kids. If you don't
> think the shows I just listed are adult, I suggest you go back and
> look at some of the issues raised in them: racism, adultery,
> abortion, teen pregnancy, drug addiction, alcoholism, child abuse
> -- all hot-button issues of the day.
> And the kid shows? They invariably featured a hero who was so pure
> that, if he or she carried a gun at all, they were pledge never to
> use it is a lethal manner. The preferred use of a gun was to shoot
> a gun out of the villain's hand. Fisticuffs abounded, but no bones
> were broken and no blood was shed, although rooms were frequently
> trashed in the course of a battle. Only a lowlife ever pulled a
> knife and you could usually spot the villains quickly because only
> they smoked or drank or were quarrelsome and mean. (The sidekick
> might be ill-tempered, but he or she was never mean-spirited and
> always apologized if anyone was truly offended.) The worse thing
> that could happen to the hero was that he or she was accused of
> causing someone else's death, even if it was merely an accident.
> Today's gun-toting, blade-studded, cigar-chomping, wisecracking,
> homicidal heroes would qualify as villains by any of the old
> standards. And they're no more "realistic" than their Galahadesque
> precursors; they're merely the other end of a spectrum of possible
> There's a place for both ends of the spectrum and every graduation
> in between, but there's no "kid safe" zone. You can't escape the
> constant bombardment of mixed messages, because you can't walk down
> the streets without seeing billboards or surf the channels without
> seeing ads for all of the stuff the advertisers can promote without
> let or hindrance.
> Our entire culture has been abusing its children for two
> generations now and we're abusing a third generation worse than
> ever before.
> If you treat kids as "target audiences" and exploit them from the
> moment they can see, they'll become "adult" in their desires long
> before they're mature enough to handle those desires. They will
> grow up thinking that they're entitled to sex and violence, virtual
> or otherwise, and feel justified in finding or making their own if
> their "entertainment" is taken away, because they're "bored" if
> they aren't jagged up with adrenaline, caffeine, sugar or whatever
> the flavor of the month they think they're missing.
> No one is entitled to anything. Every "right" that we enjoy is
> earned, usually by sacrifice. The people who are most demanding of
> their rights are the ones who've done the least to earn them.
> Ditto respect.
> I don't want censorship and I agree that self-righteousness and
> foolishness go hand in glove, but it's high time we declared our
> children off-limits to predators of whatever stripe and that, to
> me, includes those who are only after their money but end up
> stealing their childhood as well.
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