09 September 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days: #24

#24: Sideways

I recently discovered (and kicked myself in the head for missing) Kevin Smith's podcast with Scott Moisier, the aptly titled SModCast. For the most part, I like to listen to podcasts that discuss television shows but the SModCast is essentially just two guys shooting the shit and I must admit, I'd probably pay the few measly sheckles that I have to listen to these two guys.

It's fairly explicit language but it's highly entertaining. So much so that I find myself laughing out loud on the bus to and from work. The topics range from censorship to Canadian hockey icons and it's all done with Kevin Smith's trademark style of self-deprecation and forthrightness.

I went back to listen to the episode in which the two producers talked about the resistance they got around the ads for Zack and Miri Make a Porno. The entire episode basically devolved into a conversation about how parents need to deal with the changing world and take responsibility for what their children will see and how they explain it to them. This is an issue where I've noticed you seem to have two extreme opposites. On one end you have the parents who police everything their child sees, from television to books to what's in their neighborhood. And on the other hand you have parents who take their 5 year-old's to R-rated movies, curse in front of their children and basically let them watch or read whatever they want. In my opinion, in both situations, no one wins. The former creates a completely sheltered child who can't navigate he world or in an attempt to navigate the world, rebels. The latter is the kid who grows up far too fast, and in this country where children are hyper-sexualized and violent, a child doesn't need their parents to initiate the beginning of that process.

So what's the solution? From what I've observed it's all about talking to your children and giving them boundaries. In the podcast, Smith noted that the objection people had about the ad was the use of the word "porno". They were afraid that their kids would ask them what it meant. If I was a parent, I'd much rather my child ask me what a porno is than learn the answer somewhere else. And if you've set proper boundaries as a parent, a simple "It's an adult movie and it's not for children" will suffice. Yes, children are inquisitive but for the most part, they understand when something is not for them. Why are parents so afraid of what their children will ask them? There's always that moment of awkwardness but in the long-run, isn't it better coming from you? I know this is a bit easy for me to say since I'm childless but I welcome having those discussions with my (future) child. At least then I can say all the shit I have to keep to myself when talking to my students.

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