Oh, be careful, little eyes, what you see…

April 9, 2008

I substituted again today. It was a much more pleasant experience than my last. The teacher left a very detailed lesson plan and notes for me, and that was most helpful. Also, it was only a half day assignment, which I am sure made it easier. I was substituting for a class of 21 second graders, all with different academic abilities.

One girl was designated as the “Star Student,” which meant she had certain privileges such as being the line leader, taking the attendance sheet to the office, and getting to share something about herself at circle time. The way circle time works is that the Star Student shares something about herself, then calls on three of her classmates, who get to ask her a question regarding what she shared. Here’s how it went…

Star Student: Last night, I went to the movies.

Classmate 1: What did you see?

Star Student 2: The Ruins.

(I feel my eyebrows shoot up toward my hairline; a knot of tension forms in my stomach.)

Classmate 2: What was the funniest part?

Star Student: There were no funny parts.

(The sick feeling in my stomach is growing stronger.)

Classmate 3: Did you like the movie?

Star Student: Yes.

And then we moved right on to the next activity because this teacher had the whole morning planned out TO. THE. MINUTE. (I totally loved her for that!)

But now that I’m home and remembering this exchange, I decided to look up the movie and see what it’s about. Go ahead, click here and check it out. I’ll wait.










Ooops.  There I go, being all judgmental again. 🙂

I am still so perplexed and shocked and outraged that I can barely summon another coherent thought on the subject. But for further, more well-stated reading, I refer you to the following excerpt of a Peggy Noonan editorial from 1999:

Your child is an intelligent little fish. He swims in deep water. Waves of sound and sight, of thought and fact, come invisibly through that water, like radar; they go through him again and again, from this direction and that. The sound from the television is a wave, and the sound from the radio; the headlines on the newsstand, on the magazines, on the ad on the bus as it whizzes by–all are waves. The fish–your child–is bombarded and barely knows it. But the waves contain words like this, which I’ll limit to only one source, the news:

. . . was found strangled and is believed to have been sexually molested . . . had her breast implants removed . . . took the stand to say the killer was smiling the day the show aired . . . said the procedure is, in fact, legal infanticide . . . is thought to be connected to earlier sexual activity among teens . . . court battle over who owns the frozen sperm . . . contains songs that call for dominating and even imprisoning women . . . died of lethal injection . . . had threatened to kill her children . . . said that he turned and said, “You better put some ice on that” . . . had asked Kevorkian for help in killing himself . . . protested the game, which they said has gone beyond violence to sadism . . . showed no remorse . . . which is about a wager over whether he could sleep with another student . . . which is about her attempts to balance three lovers and a watchful fiancé . . .

This is the ocean in which our children swim. This is the sound of our culture. It comes from all parts of our culture and reaches all parts of our culture, and all the people in it, which is everybody…

And there’s more. We forget, those of us who are middle-aged, that we grew up in a time of saner, less sick-making images and sounds.

For instance, the culture of crime only began to explode in the 1960s. We have lived in it for 30 years, and most of us turned out OK. So we think our children will be OK too. But they never had a normal culture against which to balance the newer, sicker one. They have no reference points to the old, boring normality. We assume they know what we know: “This is not right.” But why would they know that? The water in which they swim is the only water they’ve known…




  1. And Amen again. The normal of today is the sick of yesterday. What will the sick of today be in 30 years?

  2. yep .. my neighbor would take her daughter to that too. Never in a million years would Erin go though!

    heck, just the intro upset me! lololol

  3. Amen to that, I couldn’t even watch the trailer being the scaredy wulff I am. Reminds me of a song by Kathy Mattea…My mind is not a dumping ground [for the stuff mentioned in quote]. So true!

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