Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Boys will be bums

My mother-in-law sent on an article on how boys are lagging behind in academic achievement, in spite of all the feminist hubub that somehow the system is stacked against girls. Since my wife is a leader in Attachment Parenting International, and well-read in the Raising Cain line of literature, I've heard a lot about this trend in society.

Of course, it's hardly new . . . George Gildur was seeing problems in our culture's capacity to socialize young men back in the 1970's, and correctly saw that getting young men married and vested in the well-being of families was the only way to avoid a prolonged, increasingly violent adolescence.

One thing that I find interesting about a lot of these articles is they often mention video games as an illustration of the male malaise, but they don't really drill into that. I think most males are susceptible to the lure of fast-paced first-person action in video games, and when you consider that the amount of time spent on the games is surpassing even TV, you have to wonder if there's a connection.

One thing I really liked about Tim Burton's remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was his portrayal of the TV-obsessed kid. In the original movie he was a coyboy-gun-toting house ape with bleary eyes and violent tendencies. Tim Burton updated the image a bit, playing more on the theme of violent video games. But what I really loved, what was pure genius, was that the Burton's TV boy was computer whiz-kid. He was spitting out talk of tracking chocolate shipments, the Nikkai Average, factoring in the weather . . . "A retard could do it," he says with smug disgust, right before screaming "Die! Die! Die!" at his video screen. What makes this scene so brilliant is that most people assume that TV and video games rot the brain and make children listless and stupid. Burton was the probably the first person in the popular culture to recognize that it is the child's soul that is being destroyed, not his brain.


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