Saturday, May 19, 2012

Somali Pirates Of The Caribbean

I was visiting a friend tonight and made a blunder that got me a mild chastising... which then led to my usual pondering about people and culture and whatnot.
So, my friend's teenage daughter had a friend over and we were discussing Trivial Pursuit. She mentioned she was 'bad at trivia' so I recounted a segment I'd heard on the Howard Stern Show years ago where he had demonstrated that a lot of knowledge is contextual... he'd asked a bunch of standard/easy questions of some women guests and they hadn't been able to answer any of them... stuff like 'who was the father of our country' and 'where was the declaration of independence signed'. After the other guys in the studio had mocked them for their lack of knowledge the women were then asked a series of questions dealing with high end cars, shoes, liquors and whatnot... and they got them all correct (and the mocking guys could answer none). The women knew what was important for their lifestyle... their culture.
That was the point... common knowledge usually isn't as common as we'd like to think.

Now... my blunder was that in recounting this story I described the women as, "Super-models or maybe porn stars." My friend was mildly horrified that I'd used the words 'porn star' in front of her teenage daughter and her friend. (she is something of a fundamentalist Christian and I'm... not... not that that really makes any difference).

It wasn't a big scene... her house, her rules... I'm fine. I told her I was sorry.
I do think it's a bit silly to pretend like I'd exposed the teenagers to some dark secret they knew nothing about... and I certainly wasn't engaging in a discussion of porn with them.
That's not what I'm on about here though...

It's interesting to me that these same folks would think nothing of taking their kids, younger kids even, to a movie like 'Pirates Of The Caribbean'. But they'd probably balk at their kids playing with toy figures of Somali pirates... or acting out the sorts of things actual, historical, pirates got up to.

Similar to people who would NEVER take their kids to see 'Battle Royale'... but think nothing of trotting them along to see 'The Hunger Games'.

I'm not suggesting that I should be able to say whatever I like to whoever I want to say it to. Or that I wasn't wrong for saying what I said in my friend's house... to her kids.

What I'm saying is that how people pick and choose what they expose their kids to makes no real sense to me... that it's arbitrary... that it's a mine-field for someone like myself who doesn't have kids, doesn't want kids... and isn't constantly fretting over what might corrupt their little minds.
People seem so much more frightened nowadays... despite the world being safer... despite information about everything being a whole lot easier to get a hold of.

My father took my much younger self to violent Charles Bronson movies and wild scifi/horror films. I'd seen a lot of death on screen by the time I hit puberty... but not a single porn film. Not even a fake sex scene.
Would it have been better or worse for my psyche if it had been the other way around... I don't know. I don't think my parents spent very much time worrying about that sort of thing... my father was just taking me along to the movies that he wanted to see.

Maybe I don't really have a point here... just the same old blather about how U.S. culture fears sex and glorifies violence... at least violence of a certain sort. The same old blather about how parents are afraid and pass their fear on to their children.
As always I'm reminded that while I don't really know much about what's going on... no one else seems to either. We all just react, regurgitate and repeat.