Re: virus: Meme Update #29: Copycat Shootings

Sodom (
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 13:33:39 -0400

First, thanks a lot for the reply - comments posted below.

Jim wrote:

> Bill,
> The problem spreads across all socioeconomic boundaries. You are correct
> that the children seem the same as our memories of childhood but the
> difference is they spend a large percentage of their time watching and being
> marketed to. Remember when we were kids most programming was for adults.
> Because of that children would find other ways to occupy themselves also TV
> did not run twenty-four seven.
> It is my belief that children who do not have parents that do not concern
> themselves with their children future well being are the most likely to
> watch excessively. It does take some thought and or commitment for a parent
> to turn of the tube and send the kids out or find a way to occupy them.

oh yea, I couldn't agree more. I am very much of the opinion that parents need
to be involved VERY deeply in the daily and hourly activities of their children.
It is also often that I hear from parents (not in Tucson, AZ strangely, but
always in Boston) that parents don't have the time to monitor their children
that way, and use this as excuse for letting television be the baby-sitter. In
Tucson though, In the four or five families that I am close to, all of them have
changed their schedules, or even left their jobs so that the children would
always be with a parent. At first I thought that it might be due to monetary
needs, but Tucson is maybe 30% less expensive and pays perhaps 50% less than
Boston. I think then it may be related to speed of life for the parents, but I
honestly don't know.

> Down the end of the street I live on is a little girl who comes from a "very
> nice family" they are concerned with their children. But the kid talks like
> she is reading script from a sitcom. And she knows her part well because the
> same compliance techniques the kids use on their parents on television are
> brought to use by this child who is nine. And they work because mom and dad
> have become conditioned. She does not come to my house any longer because my
> daughter likes the outdoors and finds flowers and fauna infinitely
> interesting. She also knows that mom and dad are not mindless idiots like
> they are portrayed on the tube. And she recognizes the problems in the way
> her friends are treated or allowed to behave. She told her "friend" that we
> do not lie at my house and we do not behave the way you do and I will not
> play with you cannot act properly. She was referring to the child's attempt
> at using television sanctioned compliance techniques.

Wow, your daughter definitely handled it right. That really is a tragedy that a
child can be made into a walking television memeplex, with parents in the
supporting role - it should be criminal.

> Children and our whole population are becoming increasingly sedentary.
> Children are maturing earlier I believe because of this and I believe that
> when some one gets around to asking the questions these children will be
> identified as being over weight and watching allot of television. And that
> the early maturation is brought on by a build up of hormones in their
> excessive fat. Just my thought.

The swing is toward a more sedentary lifestyle I agree, I don't know if it is
bad or good. A part of me thinks this is a real shame, but another part sees it
an aspect of our advancement toward a a more technological society. Of course,
sitting in front of the tube being force-fed info - good and bad is not my ideal
society, but if this swing to sedentary was due to computer use, even games, or
graphics or music. If the mind is focusing and learning, then I am willing to
make a gentle shift to a more sedentary lifestyle - as a culture. If it is
simply capitalism taking advantage of the weak - then I take exception.

> Bill, I believe that what the kids that see my work like is that I am a
> funny smart adult who can interact with them. My daughter when she was about
> three and a half saw a preview for Robin William's in Pan. She looked at me
> closely as only a small child can and said.
> Katie:That's not the real Peter Pan.
> Jim: It isn't ?
> Katie: Nope.
> Jim: Well who is then?
> Katie: (moves in very close nose to nose with Jim looking deep into my eyes)
> You are. ( Moves back slightly and touches Jim's nose)
> This is one of my fondest memories of the exchanges we have had through the
> years.

It would have been one of mine too - good work Dad Jim.

> But it is how many people perceive me adults included. I present the
> possibilities of what is possible if one is willing to make a commitment to
> live the life they chose. Not the one designed and marketed by the media.
> And also magic is more of an adult entertainment. Children live in the state
> of wonder and excitement that a magic performance can bring about for an
> adult. Of course children find it entertaining but are not as interested
> adult.

Great post Jim, and thanks for the perspective.

Bill Roh