I thought I’d take a moment to share a couple diatribes I’ve written in my journal. These two both happen to deal with how kids are raised. I had a third one that wasn’t about kids, but I can’t remember what it was right now. If I remember later, I’ll put it after these two.
[I had been reading The World Without Us on a Wednesday at a park that I go to sometimes, pretty near the house.]
As I was finishing the book at 6, a gaggle of parents and their preschoolers came by. The parents herded all the kids, with varying success, into playing various kinds of soccer games. It made me really sad, and I’ll tell you why: preschoolers shouldn’t be herded. Organized sports are almost certainly way down on any preschooler’s list of fun things to do, but these parents were giving their kids a grown-up idea of fun, and reprogramming them to think of it as actual fun. I would much rather see kids that age running around aimlessly, preferably ina forest with a friend. What I saw was the acculturation of the suburbanites of 2030. Next time I see something like that, I may have to give someone a stern talking-to. I may make a point of going there next Wednesday at 6.
[I had just finished a doctor appointment. This one has a cuss or two.]
Before I came back, I went to Toys “Я” Us to buy a Go set. But they didn’t have a single one in the whole store. Seems wrong. Especially given that they had Hannah Montana hand sanitizer. I never guessed Toys “Я” Us would be the base of so much Trendy Green shit, but I saw “Earthopoly” (Celebrating Earth… one turn at a time!); either a board game or a video game somehow related to the Planet Earth series on Discovery Channel; and even some Gorilla Snacks made of all organic ingrediendts and then processed and packaged in five times as much plastic as necessary. It advertised that organic food is “great for the environment… and great for kidz [sic] too!” All this horseshit was in the same store that sells every unnecessary, gaudy, batteries-not-included piece of creativity-inhibiting schlock known to man. The woman in front of me in line was buying her son of about four years a plastic jackhammer that broke up plastic rocks. I estimate he’ll play with it for four minutes before he chucks it in his toybox never to be seen again. These things come in all the different models that toy company executives can imagine, and yet despite that abundance, not one set for a classic game of intelligence that’s endured since its invention in China thousands of years ago. I didn’t mean to write such a diatribe, but that place nearly made me ill.
So, that’s all. Maybe I’ll remember the third thing soon, and then I’ll put it here. Until then, have fun with these.
P.S.: Ah, I remembered it! This isn’t one I’ve written down before, so I’m writing it now for the first time.
I’ve noticed that, whenever I think of something that took place in, say, the 1930s or before, I think of it taking place in black and white. I never really thought about this before, because it never really caught my attention. After all, before 1930, the world was in black and white, right? But now I’ve realized that the very way I think about the past has been shaped by the history of film. It was suddenly jarring for me when I saw this early color picture of Leo Tolstoy taken in 1908.
A diatribe usually blames something on something, and blaming my misconception on something else might seem a bit excessive. But I don’t like it, and I’m pretty sure it’s not my fault, so I’m going to blame it on the fact that in this society we get so much of our information about the past from the media and so little from other people telling us about it. I’m just thinking about the pre-Columbian days of America, and considering that it never would have occurred to the people then to imagine their ancestors in anything but full color. Whereas it’s taken me until now to even notice that I’m thinking of the past inaccurately. It’s not something that makes me really angry at society, but it did weird me out to realize that society was inhabiting my brain so deep down and without me even noticing it for so long. So I suppose what makes me more angry is how deeply my mentality is shaped without my permission or knowledge. It bothers me.