To continue on the theme of the politics of fear from the last post, I want to share with you an article from The Nation that made an impression on me. It's about the role of the media, and our popular culture generally, in preparing us for doomsday thinking.
No wonder the area where the two towers fell was quickly dubbed "Ground Zero," a term previously reserved for the spot where an atomic explosion had occurred... No wonder the events seemed so strangely familiar. We had been living with the possible return of our most powerful weaponry via TV and the movies, novels and our own dream-life, in the past, the future and even--thanks to a John F. Kennedy TV appearance on October 22, 1962, during the Cuban Missile crisis to tell us that our world might end tomorrow--in something like the almost-present.
Read the full article here.
I definitely feel a need to think more deeply about the messages that my children are getting from the media.
I invite parents to share their thoughts on this. So far in my home we have introduced the following concepts:
Thomas the Tank Engine
Superman, Batman, the Riddler, the Joker, Aquaman, Aqualad, etc. (mostly DC comic superheros with a 70s feel).
Pirates of all kinds, including Captain Hook -- and Peter Pan
Tintin and his cohorts
Various children's stories, including Where the Wild Things Are, Cordoroy, Olivia, Mike Mulligan, etc.
49ers football games (10 minutes at a time, but enough to get the concept)
Cars -- the Pixar Movie ("Lightneen the Queen" is a current favorite in our house)
Do these stories provoke fear?
How can we make sure our children gain knowledge of this world -- not stand apart from it -- and yet avoid the doomsday dichotomies of good vs. evil in our popular culture?