19 September 2006

Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!!!

The papers at the moment are full of handwringing about the supposed loss of childhood. There should be a debate, cry concerned 'experts' in an open letter to the Daily Telegraph. Children face too much stress in the modern world; many of them are (allegedly) 'depressed'. Ironically, one of the great and good calling for an enquiry is author Jacqueline Wilson, well known for her books for children dealing with grim social issues such as anorexia and abuse.

There may well be a point here, i.e. the grimness of mediocratic culture, and the insistence on 'realism' - meaning everyone has to have, from as early an age as possible, their noses rubbed in the least pleasant aspects of life. But the kind of debate being called for is unlikely to solve that particular problem. The most likely outcome, as usual, is more legislation, or more money spent on dodgy social services - e.g. children's homes which (surprise, surprise) are little more than places for institutionalised abuse.

While I shopped online at tesco.com this morning, their website showed a nauseating animated NSPCC ad of a paedophile saying salaciously, “I love to slip between the sheets - with my daughter”. Whichever cultural area you look at these days (art, literature, education, TV) you can’t seem to get away from people wanting to push grisly ‘reality’ in your face. What is their motivation? Methinks it's the sadistic pleasure of being able to cause discomfort, under cover of doing it for the good of society.

We boggle over why many children find modern life depressing and, instead of noting the obvious – that our society has become over-politicised and over-sexualised – we generate anguished calls for more research, a public inquiry, lots of ‘debate’. Perhaps we will end up, ironically, with the recommendation that there should be even more education about grim social issues, or that even more condoms should be handed out to even younger children.