Sunday, April 06, 2008

Nothing compares to a quiet evening at home...

Apathy Jack writes:

There is a lot I could say about the recent rash of media concerning the terrible culture of violence that is causing so-called ‘fight clubs’ to spring up in our schools, but I’ll leave it at this:

Shut up.

Hoodrat High, as I have mentioned, had a fight club. Three goddamn years ago. (No, really, look here.) It doesn’t have one anymore because these things come and go in cycles; it got boring, so it stopped. It may have started again, and there are certainly videos on youtube featuring my former charges beating the living shit out of one another, but the vast majority of those videos are staged.

What’s that you say? You can tell a staged fight from a real one? Not if the school has a good Drama teacher, you can’t, and Hoodrat’s is the best in the business.

Some of them are real: just like the fights they videoed before the days of youtube were real; just like the fights before they had cellphone cameras were real. Sometimes the fights were to settle disagreements, or to “teach someone a lesson”, or whatever excuse bullying idiots use. And sometimes, they were for the same reason Edward Norton started hitting himself in a parking lot one night after his house burned down: because he had never been in a fight, and wanted to see what it was like in a comparatively safe environment. Boys do that sometimes.

Now, don’t think for a second that I approve of this. I tried to regulate the goings-on at Hoodrat, and even made the odd stab at shutting the damn thing down. However, my efforts were in vain, because, you know, they’re teenagers, and teenagers are weird homunculi composed of sixty-percent hormones and forty-percent not-taking-the-advice-of-people-who-are-cleverer-
than-them, who learn all their lessons the hard way.

Note to parents:

I know your cherubs are lovable scamps who would never engage in anything other than low-level, kids-will-be-kids style japery, but here’s the thing:

Hoodrat had a Fight Club. And a ‘Junior Jackass’ group who videoed themselves jumping off roofs. And a thriving marijuana trade, complete with dealers handing out business cards. And on at least two separate occasions, the space underneath the stage in the hall was set up with mattresses, lamps and video cameras. And don’t even get me started on the amount of sex these children had with strangers they met on overnight field trips. (It was a lot.)

But not your kids. Your kids are angels.

These are not truths that make me happy (I have an emotional investment in many of these violence-addled, sex-crazed lunatics – I don’t want them to engage in dangerous behaviour...) but they are truths. Parents know about ten percent of what I know, and, on a good day, I know ten percent of what is really going on.

The death of that boy recently was a tragedy. I started writing a thing about where the blame probably lay, but hell, it’s obvious that the mother is doing enough of that for everybody – and her son died; she can be cut a lot of slack in that area. But the idea that teenagers might be doing stupid and dangerous things is not news. Think back to your teenaged years; remember exactly how much your parents and teachers knew about what you were doing. The only difference between what you did and what they are doing is that, with the proliferation of cellphone cameras and youtube, parents are finding out about it whenever lazy journalists smell sensationalism.

Is that good? No. Was it good when you did it? Probably not. Is it something we should be concerned about? Probably. Is it the downfall of civilisation? I refer you to my previous point:

Shut up.

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