Friday, June 26, 2009

Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Censorship of Kiddies

In a blogicle called "Not realizing which team he is on," Treppenwitz explains that he censored his five year old son's "inappropriate" TV watching activities, and his son did not understand that he is on the opposite "team" and was supposed to object. Cops and robbers. 
As Halfowitz, I have a different point of view. In the first place, I don't see quite how to apply this idea to rasing kids in Israel. Let's say you're an Israeli kid. So one minute you are watching a parentally approved non-violent 100% kosher TV program and the announcer comes on and says "This is an emergency. Israel is undergoing a missile attack. Please stay calm and enter your sealed rooms." Another time, the broadcast is interrupted to announce that Yigal Amir murdered the Prime Minister. Another time, you turn on the TV and Zaka people are busy collecting body parts after a suicide attack, or you learn that the President is accused of being a rapist. So what are you going to think if Mommy and Daddy tell you not to watch "The Shield" because it has explicit sex and violence? "Like, where are they living?"
Ultraorthodox Jews created a kosher search engine to keep the world out of the Internet. It's called Koogle. From what I can see, it works fine. Any English language search term I entered returned "Page not found." World guaranteed to be shut out, totally.
Does reality have an effect? Is it harmful to your mental health? Is TV the same as reality? Can we shut out the world and is it worth it? I am not too sure that watching explicit TV programing in childhood is the explanation for the existence of ultra orthodox pedophiles for example. I don't have scientific data to support my ideas, admittedly, just my own experiences.
Our kids always watched whatever they liked. The oldest son watched Oedipus Rex  at age three on the public broadcasting channel when we were in US. He explained to Ruth what it was about pretty well, and added that it was not nice at all. I think it was the only channel we got at the time. All three kids watched lots of "good stuff" of all kinds including people "doing it," people killing each other in very creative ways, and everything from nonsense and kiddie shows to an explicit homosexual series that was too much for me. They watched, at different periods and in the same periods, the Smurfs, the Muppets, Michal Yannai's kiddie show, Incredible Hulk, action flicks and series, Stephen Segal, Mel Gibson, Texas Ranger, Pamela Anderson, lots of cleavage stuff and people getting blown to bits. Generally they were only interested in junk suitable to they own age, with aberrant tendencies to watch works of art. They endlessly played Dungeons and Dragons too. which is supposed to be a good stimulant to evil behavior. .
I would like to report that our offspring are all homicidal, thieving, devil worshiping, drug addicted sex maniacs locked away in Ma'asiyahu prison with former Treasury Minister Hirschson and MK Benizri and President Katsav and others like them, just to prove the theories of the censorship advocates. Unfortunately, the three evil malefactors are not in jail yet I think, and our kids didn't turn out that way. The "boys" are grad students in chemistry and engineering and the "girl" is finishing the army. Maybe their futures in politics are ruined. Maybe Katsav and Benizri didn't get to watch enough junk on TV when they were kids. That is what comes of a deprived childhood.
As for me, when I was a kid in U.S.A. they didn't have "inappropriate" shows on TV or if they did, I was too dumb to know about it or to understand what was going on. If I wanted sexually explicit content and senseless violence I had to read the Bible I guess. The closest we could get on TV was Sheena Queen of the Jungle. I remember reading with shock that some group labeled the content as "inappropriate." After that, I made a point of watching it..Mostly,  we watched cartoons, "Father Knows Best" and "The Nelsons" which were probably a lot worse for developing psyches than Oedipus Rex.
One type of program I always watched together with my kids when they were kids, were series about crooked cops. In those shows there are two teams, but you can never quite figure out which is the good team. That type of show is really dangerous I guess, because it introduces MORAL RELATIVISM. Still,  naybe it is better if in families, everyone tries to stay on the same team, rather than playing cops vs junkies and murderers. Maybe people who play those games with their parents as cops, get to identify with the team of the bad guys.  
If there is less sin defined, perhaps there is less sinning. With fewer rules but important ones, it is easier to keep kids, ultraorthodox teachers and politicians from doing the things that are really harmful and wrong.  If no fruit are forbidden except those that are physically harmful, perhaps we eat the ones that taste best and we develop a taste for what is right.  
Ami Isseroff

Continued (Permanent Link)

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