Tag Archives: social media

Teaching Our Kids to be Violent

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Teaching Our Kids to Be Violent

I’m in a very busy outside restaurant on the plaza in La Manzanilla, Mexico.  To the front and side of me are two long tables filled with 13 adults, children and teens who seem to be members of the same family.  When I first entered, the littlest girl in the family was sitting on the lap of her auntie or her mom, mugging for “sorta selfies” taken by her mom/auntie who was using some app to horribly distort the photos.  All were laughing uproarously at the monstrous images.

Then the child moved to the end of the table, where someone had removed the long cellophane-plumed toothpicks that had held their sandwiches together. Grabbing two of the toothpicks, she proceeded to jab the pointed end of one of them into the arm of one of the young women at the table. 

Waiting for chastisement, I was sorely disappointed, as what I imagine to be an auntie giggled and then grabbed the other toothpick and jabbed her back. Back and forth they went, all of the adults at the table smiling and laughing as though it was the most adorable little performance in the world.  In time, the child went down the table, jabbing with more enthusiasm each time, moving to the other table where eventually she jabbed so violently that the adult slapped her.  She slapped the adult back and a slapping match ensued.  Everyone watched, smiling, giggling. Such an adorable child! 

She moved away from the slapping match and sneaked up on a more elderly member of the party, approaching her from behind to take a hard jab with the point of the toothpick into the flesh of the woman’s upper arm.  The woman jerked away in surprise, slapping at the arm as though she believed it to be a wasp or bee sting.  This brought great peals of laughter from the other table and the child returned to it to take her bows.  

At no point in this crazy string of behavior did any adult ever censure the child or display any emotion other than enjoyment and approbation. I, on the other hand, was totally horrified.  What they were teaching the child was fairly obvious.  They  were well-dressed and sophisticated-looking, modernly dressed—like city folk come to the beach who didn’t actually want to get sand between their toes.  The voices of the seeming other half of their party at the nearby table were louder than theirs—very loud, in fact, to the point that even some Mexican customers accustomed to the general noise of Mexico were glancing over in surprise. But the table where the child sat seemed more refined–in the level of their voices if not in their surprising acceptance of the increasing violence of the formerly angelic-looking little girl.

Was she the heir to a vast cartel empire? Was this part of her education in ruthlessness? Was their glee at her monstrous appearance on the smart phone just a hint of the monster child they would raise to carry on the family business?  As most scenarios begun in restaurants and other public places, this is a story whose ending I will never know. I leave it to your imagination to come up with an ending for yourself.

But I could not help seeing it as a small metaphor for the violence in films and games and sports entertainment that our kids are submerged in every day.  It seems as though movies and TV are resorting to ever more violent and extreme cruelties to keep our interest. War and murder are not enough. Sadistic twists and torture are called upon to keep the audiences and thereby swell the coffers of production companies and advertisers.

Years ago when violence first reared its ugly head on TV, we were told that it was a fantasy that would have no effect on children, but if we look at the world around us, I think this is an assertion that has been proven to be false. As some in our society grow ever more affluent, we grow increasing more dependent on entertainment to distract us from the reality around us, and part of that reality seems, sadly, to be that we are teaching our kids to be more violent.

 

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No Energy

No Energy

When he made his overture on electronic media,
it read as though he’d copied it from an encyclopedia.
Each sentence was incongruous with the one before,
his transitions nonexistent and his details all a bore.
He was indubitably boring, so she gave the guy a miss.
Judging by his message, imagining his kiss.

The prompts today are overture, electric, incongruous and indubitable.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/rdp-friday-overture/
https://fivedotoh.com/2018/12/14/fowc-with-fandango-electric/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/incongruous/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/your-daily-word-prompt-indubitable-December-14-2018/

Quote of the Day, Day 3: “Serenity Prayer for Parents”

This quote by  Mojo is so hilarious and topical that I had to share it with you for my last quote of the day.  Anyone who wishes to, please hop on the bandwagon and share your quotes.  HERE are the rules. Thanks, Rugby, for nominating me.

No Longer in the Present

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No Longer in the Present

Seated around the table in our favorite cafe,
attention to each other has come to be passé
We are not present here and now. We’re all in other places
as we stare at tiny screens, intent on other faces.

The friends we have around us will simply have to wait
for our interest in the world-at-large to finally abate.
The news that’s happening elsewhere is simply more amusing
than what might be happening in this space our body’s using.

Other friends are funnier in their “selfie” poses—
pooching out their lips at us and scrunching up their noses.
It won’t do to look natural, we have to look unique
in the selfsame pose that all selfie-flashers seek.

So if your friends are boring, not half so chic as you,
you always have the option to make a Tweet or two.
Check out the latest fashions available from China.
They’ll only take three months to reach you here in Carolina.

Check out the weather in Tibet and give YouTube a glance.
Companions won’t distract you if you don’t give them a chance.
Living one life at a time no longer has to do
so long as you remember to have your phone with you!

So if you’ve dropped a French fry and spilled ketchup down your dress,
you needn’t be embarrassed. It couldn’t matter less.
Intent on Twitter, Instagram, Facetiming and Facebooking,
the friends with you won’t notice, for nobody is looking.

The prompt word is present.

Facing up to Facebook

Aha, it has arrived—my seventieth birthday.  Pictured is part of the detritus of a party that will not happen. A few days ago, I called off the 70’s Fondue Extravaganza Slumber Party and Games Night that I had planned. At that time, I was so sick with some mysterious intestinal and stomach disorder and I didn’t have the energy to do the last minute preparations—plus I feared I’d still be ill and have to call it off at the last minute. In addition, Yolanda was with her husband in the hospital and I didn’t have her to fall back on as usual.  At any rate, I’m feeling better today and so I’m meeting a few friends for an impromptu comida at a restaurant and chocolate fondue at Blue’s house later, so there will be some celebrating done.  This morning brings the welcome messages from friends on Facebook and I really do appreciate them, but as usual, they, combined with the daily prompt, have brought me to reflection.

I hope no one is offended by the below poem.  It is meant in no way to disparage the very welcome communication with old friends that such a day brings.  On the other hand, I can’t help but reflect on how our world changes and changes and how the cyber networks have not only brought us closer together but made it easier to drift farther apart.  I am as guilty if not guiltier of this than anyone else I know.  This is not an indictment, but rather a pondering over where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going—the sort of pondering one does at the age of 70, and if one is a writer or artist, probably at a much earlier age as well:

Facing up to Facebook

Facebook quips and tweets with hashes
have replaced  the dot dot dashes
of telegrams we used to send
to functions we could not attend:
birthdays and other days once meant
to celebrate with an event.

But now we sit in different places
pretending we’re exchanging faces
when in fact, for many years
our facial contact’s been in arrears.
They might have better renamed “Facebook”
“Those Who Have Vanished Without a Tracebook.”

It does not bring us face-to-face.
That is simply not the case.
Rather, it keeps us more alone
than even talking on the phone.
Old friend, it’s good to hear from you.
I know, there’s nothing more to do.

I’m just as guilty of it as you.
It’s what the whole world’s come to do.
We’ve simply moved too far apart
except in memory and heart.
It’s the new age’s way of seeing—

avoiding closer you and meing.

The prompt today was dash.

Music Man

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For the most part, the men I have met over the seven years I’ve participated in social introduction sites have fizzled out–either through lack of interest, lack of memory or just plain lack of fuel to keep a long distance relationship going. There is just one who has lasted as our relationship has evolved from friendship to seduction to love affair to a best friend relationship where we are crazy about each other from a distance––willing to do anything for each other that can be done from 1500 miles away––including advising each other over other romantic relationships as we share heartbreaks, frustrations and all the problems of daily life.

In this strange cyber world we are all slipping into by varying degrees, he has become one of the most important people in my life, even though it has been two years since we’ve met in person. He is my blog administrator, copy editor and computer tech. He reminds me to pay my helpers, lock my doors at night and turn the lights out. When I lost my camera, he found it from 1500 miles away in Missouri by checking the message boards in my hometown in Mexico! Once, when I was at the beach, when a friend came by and handed me something as I lay on a hammock on my front porch, he Skyped me asking me what she had handed me—having seen it on the beach cam of my next door neighbor which just happened to pick up the corner of the porch I rent every year! (I know. Sounds creepy, but it wasn’t.)

Since he hardly ever leaves his house or his computer screen, unless he is asleep he is usually available within a few minutes via Skype. He checks my computers from afar, patrolling for viruses or needed updates. He is there when I receive good news and bad. Because I live up on a mountain above a small town in Mexico and because all of the houses around me are homes used as vacation homes and usually empty, he monitors my after-midnight swims in the pool or my journeys down to the studio, waiting online to check that I am safely back in bed within a reasonable amount of time–one hour or two, depending on how ensconced I become in my late night/early morning adventures. But with all of the roles he has assumed in my life over the years we’ve know each other, one of his most important roles right from the first is as my “Music Man”!

For the first four months I knew him, he played his guitar and sang me to sleep every night over Skype, the camera of my laptop trained on my face so he could see when I slept and say goodnight and go back into his own world where few strayed. Those serenades continued off and on for the next year, but since then, he has been my music man in other ways: sending favorite songs I request as well as songs I’ve never heard before that I open like Christmas packages.

On the CD’s he has made for me or the iTunes he’s sent are my own favorites: Emmylou, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Waits, Stacey Earle, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Dan Bern, Chris Smither, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Lila Downs, and Janice Joplin. Joining them are his favorites, some of whom I’d never heard of before: Brett Dennen, Joe Purdy, Steve Earle, and Nanci Griffith. He has created a new world for me comprised of Towns Van Zandt, Eva Cassidy, Jolie Holland, the Wailin’ Jennys and Iris DeMent along with songs discovered via movie soundtracks or the background music of favorite TV shows. The Avett Brothers we discovered together––I no longer remember which one of us first stumbled across them on a YouTube video of the Letterman show.

Music was our courtship: Since he is too much a rebel to participate in the regular celebrations of society, songs became my valentines, my birthday gifts and Christmas stockings. Where others gave flowers, he gave songs. “I and Love and You” was declared to me by the Avett Brothers. When Amy Lavere sang to me, “Lucky boy, lucky boy, ’cause I’m your lovely girl,” I got the message that I was the lovely girl and he the lucky boy, even though in the past he had advised me not to interpret all the songs as messages.

I now have over 471 songs on my computer—most of them sent by him. They are the songs I listen to every time I have guests, when I am in my car or in my studio. They keep me company at night in the pool or my studio. The first thing the man who comes to my house to give me a weekly massage does when he enters the room is to click on my iPod in its speaker/holder. He says this is his favorite place to come—partly because of the calm and the art, but more so because of the music.

My music man. I’ll see him in person in September and it will be wonderful to give him a hug and a kiss, to travel up to Minnesota together to see my sister and nieces and to Alabama to see other friends; but this man who has been by turns my serenader, my computer tech, my editor, my confidant, my lover and my best friend has, in addition to everything else, given me one invaluable gift. He has created the soundtrack to my life.

In typical fashion, Music Man has answered this post you have just read in musical form. To hear/see it, go HERE.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/music/

Lunch Date (Old-Fashioned Attention): JNW’s Prompt Generator

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Lunch Date

One thing I’d like that I will mention
is a bit of old-fashioned attention.
The kind with no device in hand
is the kind that I can stand

better than the sort with texting
minds caught in “before” and “next”ing
and not a thought for whom you’re with
until I’m sure that it’s a myth

that I’m the one you want to see,
even though you have invited me.
For though our table is for two,
you bring so many more with you–

every relative and friend.
Your texts to them just never end.
Our tete a tete‘s become absurd.
I never get to speak a word!

So there’s one thing I’d like to state.
Please cancel our next luncheon date.
The next time you desire a munch,
just take your iPhone out to lunch!


My prompt was “Old-fashioned Attention.” To get a prompt or see more JNW Prompt-Generated posts, go HERE.

Needless to say, there will be no sequel to this lunch date, but to see posts about sequels to movies, go here: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/missing-seqeuls/

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