Monday, August 08, 2005

The Devil's Playground

Dear Internet Diary,

I'm watching a documentary about "rumspringe," the time in an Amish kid's life (after 16) when he or she can decide whether to join the church and "become Amish." The Amish don't believe in baptising children, and that they should decide for themselves when they reach the age of majority.

But the point of the movie, to me, is that there is still not a real choice, not really. These kids are not educated--maybe Amish kids in the single digits have been allowed to go to a real school. Their "schools" go until eighth grade, taught by 13 year-olds like junior camp counselors. They don't learn about sex. They don't learn about biology or science. These kids start dressing "english," turn on MTV and watch movies for the first time, and immediately immitate what they see the kids on tv doing. They furiously smoke and drink, and have adult-sanctioned parties out in the fields, drinking until they pass out, smoking pot, snorting (and dealing) crank. They have no idea what they're doing, and the tv is their crash-course. They are given sanction to have "bed-courtship," where the girl can spend the night in the boy's bed.

Is it surprising that they have a bad teen pregnancy problem?

This is pretty sly of their tradition, to keep these kids coming back at a 90% rate. The girls, who are taught to care what their moms and dads think, join the church, and are the main pressure to get the boys back in. It works. What works better is pre-marital pregnancy, all tacitly encouraged by this grand tradition.

What do these kids have to look forward to when they get back in? Jobs in factories. That's what these kids on their sprees are doing for spending money. What do you do on an eighth grade education?

What kind of choice do these kids have, really? No support from parents to leave. No education. No knowledge about the world. The world, the religion teaches, is evil. That's why they want to be set apart from it.

The commentary was interesting. The directors were so conflicted. They actually make me want to scream. On the one hand, they understand that this system is awful, and, as the director notes, "maybe shouldn't be allowed." But then they become wistful about it. They say "they have everything set up, it's so peaceful and simple, they know they're going to heaven." They start complaining about life with cell phones, high-speed internet connections, and video games. It was better before, they imply.

What crap! I wish I could come across a few more intelligent, creative and productive people out there who could just show a little appreciation for the choices they are blessed to have. Why do we have cell phones, and high-speed internet connection? Because it's better. It saves work. It makes us happy. If we didn't want those things, are we trapped in a world that will shun us if we choose not to use those things? Do we face pressure from our families if we choose to limit our access to the internet? That seems rare. How about, instead of complaining about all the great choices we have, all the ways we can see into worlds we've never known, hear music from cultures we couldn't have dreamed about 30 years ago, learn about things we couldn't have inmagined, we try to be thankful for it?

I suppose it's only natural that we sometimes long for lack of freedom, because it represents no having to be responsible for ourselves anymore. In this culture, there is no more "self." There is community. "Individual" is a dirty word. The parents entice their children back home with the promise that everything will be easy for them. All their needs will be met. All their choices will be made for them.

To counteract the feelings brought up by this film, I should watch Pleasantville. That film demonstrates the beauty and gives appreciation for the world as it is, with all its scary, dirty, and dangerous freedom. That and Wings of Desire. I wonder how the kids in Devil's Playground would react to those films, and if they could relate to them? Not bloody likely.

Thanks for listening, diary.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love that scene in Pleasantville, in the diner, when suspicion runs rampant and the camera moves from face to face, with Joe Morello's drum solo from Take Five building in the background.

Given the choice between banishment and slavery, some choose the latter. Shitty dilemma, though.

--durangodave

breakerslion said...

How sly indeed, and how carefully controlled. Life imitating bad art and all for the cause! And where might we expect a suddenly pregnant teenager with a piss-poor education to run for help? Welcome back! Huhra fur homskuling!

Rev. Barking Nonsequitor said...

The Amish will probably disappear. It is becoming increasingly difficult to even pretend to live like it was 150 years ago. Anyone trying to support a community with handicrafts is doomed because being a luddite has it's price. I bought a great apple pie from an old amish woman for 7 bucks last year.

hashishan prophet said...

Dear children of God,

Thou speakest of Amish people and their olden lies -- but speakest of American distortions of essential truth? Speakest thou without wisdom? Thy Amerikkka and Kkkanada are without parallel the worst most evil examples of Monkey-Christ religion spawned spawned from the delusions tricks of the Devil Satan. Hello I AM the great I AM and I AM here to rectify the lost.

I gave unto you great Prophet -- MORONI -- my glorious uncle -- who bespake of evil gold plates and thus lost the race of men. Evil Mormon bastards ruined the great secrets of Nephi and Laman and returned abysmal to the earth of despair. Later I gave my sacred TRUtH unto EDDY seer of health but this was lost by confusion in evil Boston.

Finally, I loaned my sacred THETA notion to great friend ELRON -- i.e. Hubbard of God -- who sanctified my name but the church of evil evil has gone apostate -- only KORESH knew the sacred path of my delicacy.

Thou callest me TED? Thous sayest. I am Ted only in vision path of spirit gods. I am holy feminine female and dainty -- a great dancer and prophet unto the HASHISHAN hordes. Thous callest me SPAMMER -- tu quoque!! I speak in dialogue with many voices -- whatever GOD should do that unto his monkeyed children ? I am a great Mayan warrior and proud Muslim. I wate your response, Hellbound Prophet -- I awate your divine incarnation as sacred prophet revelator and president of this outpost of Empire in the third realm of the last day of the outer branch of the 13th revelation. Others of followed my path -- all are heroes.

You call me insane? Never shall I submit unto your EVIL psych tech -- I aM glorious I AM -- not TED spammer of Mon(k)ey CHrist but Ted sanctified and glorious prophet. I am Sara Lyara vision priestess of sacred feminine jewelry in prophet with holy revealed truth in the stars. Hello my name is Naum -- ex-military, anti-Nixonian -- the feds put me away and ALTERed my wife because I spoke the truth about the evil monkey president and secret reptoid betrayor and I was an honest servant of God patriot and father of babes. Who doubts my saga now?

In Koryo the sacred flame of juche hjas been kindled by me and wise and strong Korean people resist the tricks and ruses of the monkey American imperialists. I preach the doctrine of evil war crime Tsunami event and the US involvement in the annihilation of millions of unwashed children of Africa Asia and the Moon. I am known as Songun glorious prophet of juche idea and true spiritual mother/father to the Great Leader and Korean people:

"To give fuller play to the might of Songun provides a sure guarantee for a victory in the on-going general march as the validity and vitality of Songun have been clearly proven in the stern test of history.
The joint slogans reflect the revolutionary will of the Party and the people to demonstrate the mettle of Juche Korea to the world under the uplifted banner of Songun and the steadfast revolutionary stand of the Party to bring a decisive turning point in the building of a great prosperous powerful nation by the force of single-minded unity, the mainstay of the Songun revolution.
It is prerequisite for exalting the dignity and honor of the country by the force of Songun for the army and people to thoroughly arm themselves with the Songun idea of leader Kim Jong Il and eternally glorify his Songun leadership feats.
Songun is the only way of smashing the vicious moves of the U.S. imperialists to bring down the socialist system in Korea and win a decisive victory in the showdown with the U.S. Only when the might of Songun is given full play, can a new turning point be brought about in the socialist economic construction aimed to reach the high eminence of a great prosperous powerful nation.
It is necessary to hold higher the banner of Songun in order to arm all members of the society with the revolutionary soldier spirit of the Korean People's Army, the pioneer and standard- bearer in the era of Songun, and make the revolutionary and militant lifestyle and revolutionary soldier culture of the People's Army prevail throughout the society"

Behold all shall now my honour and sanctify my name and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that IAM the great Sara Songun Ted Naum Juche Idead Theta Notion Holy Hashishan Prophet.

I call upon you for thou knowest the tricks and ruses of the MONKEY - CHRIST!!! Together we shall banish this harmful bigot and liberate oppressed herds of humanity. You say fake and I say real -- the testament to a life time of unholy horrors of this fake Jesus bastard of the Satanic scorpions --- abandond atheist sickness for Hashishan health and Songun clarity!

Hellbound Alleee said...

Party, army and people, give fuller play to the might of Songun in single-minded unity

Rodong Sinmun, the official organ of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee, Josoninmingun, the newspaper of the Korean People’s Army, and Chongnyonjonwi, the organ of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, published a joint editorial entitled “Party, army and people, give fuller play to the might of Songun in single-minded unity” to mark the new year Juche 94 (2005).

---
The Pyongyang Times

hashishan prophet said...

Yes, my child -- every knee, every tongue! The age of prophetic wisdom has passed back from America to Asia -- will you follow the winds of glorious single-minded enlightenment?

Seek truth, seek peace, seek socialist unity, seek universal salvation, seek destruction of the monkey horde, seek thy deification!

Hellbound Alleee said...

Seek my ass and kiss it.