Source: Big Mouth Strikes Again | Peggster
I was just thinking about how different childhood is in the last 100 years and lo, this shows up in my feed. For those who dwell on the ages old chicken and egg conundrum, I submit to you an alternative to consider… That of the of riddle and the blog post.
Moving along now, I come back to where I was. I do not think the vast majority of children living in 1st world countries have an analog for what their lives would have been like prior to the 1900’s. I am certain their parents do not, judging by all the comments regarding childhood and where this or that doomed generation is heading. I am no historian, but I do think that the way our lives are now, is basically unprecedented. I don’t know of another point in history when our fight for basic survival has ever been less. That got me to thinking what impact that has on our children. In a word, they are allowed to be children, and for a much longer period of time than ever before. Children aren’t learning a trade as they begin their double digits, they aren’t helping on the farms like they did before. They are allowed to pursue extra-curricular activities, alternative educations, experience society at a more leisurely pace. Not to say that there aren’t downsides. The rise of the ultra competitive parent has children as young as two in preparatory schools, being exposed to additional languages, maths, etc in an effort to give them an edge when it comes to getting into college. The effects of that approach are relatively unknown in the West, but if you look to Japan you can get a good idea of how that turns out…
Where this is going, I do not know, but I am cautiously optimistic.
So I donated to George’s production efforts. When I was going through High School History, there were a few moments that really struck me about the last century of American History. Racism and the civil rights movement, Joseph McCarthy and his horrible crusades against those he deemed his enemies, and the internment of Japanese Americans. There were some other moments, as well, but the common theme running through these is that they never should have happened. Americans were persecuted publically, and the collective population let it happen. Time and time again. I am sure there are many people today that would say that such things would never happen now, that we’ve moved beyond that… I disagree. Social Media allows us to mount campaigns far more effectively, far more widespread, and just as brutal, than ever before. And what used to take weeks of news coverage to slant people’s opinions is now done in hours by the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It has a shorter half life in the public consciousness than those witch hunts of previous generations, but thanks to the Internet’s resilient nature, these things may never disappear into history.
I believe that is why we need reminders such as this. I don’t want to “dig up old wounds”, I just want to make sure we understand why they can happen again.
A post from a friend’s blog…Source: Our New Rights « A Longer View
That first paragraph, with the negative liberties comment, was painful for me to read. When people use language like that I have barely suppressed homicidal impulses. It’s not just that I find the statement inane, I find it to be deliberate obfuscation of the truth. If not deliberate on the part of the person repeating it, certainly deliberate by the original author. Responsibility for it, however, belongs to all those who repeat it.
I think his explanation of free and slave liberties is spot on and the distinction is extremely important in our society today. I am still trying to reconcile where the line is, as far as liberties go. On the one side, you have the extreme leftist state. A psychedelic 1984 where everyone is taken care of by the government and all “freedom” is carefully regulated so as to not offend anyone’s sensibilities. On the other side, you have a situation where any government is considered a use of force against the individual by the masses. Self determination for everyone. All individual liberty is guaranteed through… threat of force by the individual. That’s the utopian dream for many Libertarians and Tea party types, but I don’t find it practical or honest in a nation of many.
My Dad was a railroad man, over 30+ years. Seventeen with Milwaukee, another eighteen or so with Burlington Northern. For most of it he was a signalman, and he commanded a lot of different skills- electronics, communications, welding, repair, etc. And a ton of labor. When I was younger, he often tried to steer me towards a career with the railroad. He took personal pride in what he did, and he had a lot of knowledge and respect for the profession. Back then, my interests, as far as I had any, ran towards computers and I didn’t really associate the railroads with that kind of work. Knowing the kind of hours he might put in, and the back breaking labor that could be associated with it, I was doubly not interested. Looking back, had I been wiser, I think pursuing IT work in the railroad would have been a smart move.
Fast forward 20+ years and here I am studying intermodal transportation, with a specific focus on the rail lines. I’m looking to expand my options for moving freight and so I’m studying about…the railroads. My father would approve.
With my efforts to confront my obesity and change my eating habits drastically and effectively, concurrent with my recent activities to expand my knowledge of social media, I began looking through the Health/Fitness section of Pinterest. It was depressing. Statistically, Pinterest skews heavily towards the female user. I would hazard, based on the numbers I could easily Google, that you could pretty safely argue that at least 70% of Pinterest users are women. And what are those women seeing when they look at the Health/Fitness board? Models that belong in Maxim magazine and Playboy. primarily. Unrealistic body images that girls and women are inundated with and yet, cannot hope to achieve. I scrolled through roughly ten pages or so of the current pins and I saw exactly two males, one a dancer holding a partner in a split and the other was Bruce Lee in his ripped glory. Everyone else was female, and almost exclusively of the Photoshop genetic line…
This vexes me.
I am well aware of the effects of advertising on young minds. Back in 2009 we still had cable television, my favourite channel was Cartoon Network. My two young boys were, of course, huge fans as well. A very frustrating side effect of enjoying all the cartoons soon reared its ugly head. Trips to the store were always a test of patience as my wife and I were constantly bombarded for this or that toy. At home the boys were always discussing the next thing that they wanted. It was an ever present issue. When we finally cut the cord to cable and went strictly high speed internet combined with streaming Netflix, not only did we save money by not having cable TV, our children suddenly stopped asking us for everything. You see, no commercials on Netflix. The change was very dramatic. I would say requests for particular toys, etc dropped 90%. Truth away from advertising…
So, when I see a popular social site, utilized primarily by women, who are posting unreasonable expectations for themselves for my daughter to see, I worry. I worry a great deal.
My first impression of Pinterest is Google Image Search when I’m on acid. I’ve never done acid, or any other deliberately hallucinogenic substance, but that’s still my first impression. I am tempted to try Pinterest while listening to Dark Side of the Moon…