Sunday, May 3, 2009

Raising Innocent Children

We have disabused ourselves of much of the Victorian baggage that found its highest expression in the grey flanneled conformity of the fifties, with one exception—a belief in the innocence of childhood. The reason it’s held on for so long is that it’s a cash cow for educators and marketers, even though the distinction between the two is beginning to fade.

It is, however, an innocence limited to children with blonde hair and white skin. Children who fall outside this category are expendable with the degree of expendability increasing in direct proportion to the darkness of the skin. It’s okay if Haitian children eat mud pies as long as our children are fed a healthy diet. It’s not racism; it’s economics.

The children of hunter-gatherers and sustenance farmers face two choices: either become wage slaves or die. The transition to wage slaves is only possible if the children are herded into classrooms where they are taught both the value of being on time and how to endure make-work expanded to fill a preordained period of time regardless of how mindless it is.

This is called saving their souls.

If they are lucky, such a transition prepares them for a career in the village sweatshop. If they are not lucky, they win a shanty in the nearest metroslum.

It’s different for towheads. They are raised in sanitary bubbles where their innocence is protected with a vengeance. They are preened, pampered and catered to. They are strangers to disappointment, hardship and hunger. Life, for them, is a horn of plenty from which pours an endless stream of toys and electronic gadgets designed to stimulate and distract even as they numb the intellect.

Within these bubbles, the darkness and misery of the world are shut out, and the young grow up into lives driven by exceptionalism and entitlement. No child starves within the bubble; no child has it viscera splattered over the pavement by a bomb.

Within the bubble, all is light and gaiety even though the light is artificial and the gaiety forced.

The upshot of all this is that the grey conformity of the fifties has been replaced by the polychromatic conformity of the oughts. (At least in the fifties you could smoke in a restaurant.)

Towheads are the children of the light who, when they grow up, will continue to spread the doctrine of darkness to the hunter-gatherers and sustenance farmers of the world, if any are left.

--Belacqua Jones