Last Thoughts on the Blog Porn Wars
This is adapted and expanded from a note I posted at Site-Essential.)
I was born before the Baby Boomers all started getting hangovers. The product of an early Boomer mother and a Silent Generation father, I came into this world before the dawn of the ’70s.
And I think my fellow early GenXers might have been the last to have been raised in a world where the parents knew they had to be more grown up than the children.
Look around you — everything is baby-proof and child-friendly and family fun. Theme restaurants outnumber the dive bars. Disney cartoons on DVD outsell Magnolia. And while erotica is more mainstream than ever before, complaints against it almost always involve protecting “our children.” Patriotism isn’t the first refuge of the scoundrel — “our children” are.
In the ’70s in my Midwestern boyhood home, it was always shown to me that the world was made for grown-ups. They did all the work, built all the cool stuff, and so if I wanted to play, I had to act grown up, too. If I wanted to act like a kid, there was always the back yard. Or on special occasions, Six Flags and Disneyland. But public places, whether the grocery store or a fine dinner out — in those places I could either act properly and have some good times with the adults, or stay home and have kid fun with a sitter. My choice.
Maybe memories just grow sweeter with time, but I do not remember eighteen screaming children running around like barbarians in decent restaurants in 1977. I’m sure I would remember, if only out of disdain for my peers. Too many of us have apparently forgotten that in order to turn children into adults, you have to give them some sort of reason to want to. I can’t wait until I’m married this summer and we can start working on that first baby. But I’m afraid proper parenting is going to be even more difficult now than ever — because in addition to the usual job of having to always set a good example, Melissa and I will be constantly fighting all the bad examples our children will see.
We baby-proof the world, then wonder why there are so many people stuck in adolescence.
It is not normal or acceptable for children to run and scream in office lobbies or shopping malls or restaurants. It is not normal or acceptable to encourage children, if only by implication, that the world is theirs. It isn’t. It is ours — the grown-ups.
Let’s start acting like it.