From a protected place without television, magazines (we weren’t allowed them), comics (bad taste) or canned music, I saw glimpses of life that melted away my innocence. I grew up. I would have liked to have changed some of the “molding” I was given. For instance, I would have liked to have known that music other than “classical” was not “bad” and been introduced to Glen Miller, Count Basie, or Oscar Peterson without feeling guilty for enjoying it secretly. I would have liked to have known some kind of intelligent stuff about sex – which would have saved me the effort of re-discovering myself without guilt later. I would have liked to have been told that it was all right not to be “mature” when behaving badly and that being “mature” was not a characteristic all grownups had. And mostly I would have liked to have been told that grownups are sometimes wrong – quite often! Then, perhaps, I would not have felt so small and frail and disillusioned.
Now I am a grandmother. I look at my grandchildren with wonder at their innocence. It is the same as mine was. In a loving home do we as children assume the world is a loving place the same as I did? Will they be profoundly moved at their first sight of violence, or wonder what the genital organs of the opposite sex look like? Will the first touch of serious illness in a friend twist their hearts, or will they, as I was, on perceiving cruelty and injustice be changed for life?
Well, I don’t think so.
From a protected place on the sofa, my grandchildren will watch violence and crime in daily doses. Even the most innocent cartoons are replete with shrieking, yelling, clobbering, zapping, blasting, bashing, and smashing in lured colours devoid of fine detail or tone. They will know what the dicks (both erect and flaccid) of Tom and Harry look like in very fine detail from the glossy pages of magazines and school. They will be implanted with a permanent idea that everyone is ill and it is their inheritance too by the focus on medical problems, physical defects and psychological hang ups paraded daily on the telly and subliminally heard by them though probably not watched. They will perceive cruelty and injustice as provided by the media who will “mold” them into more rigid shape than my family ever did.
Will their innocence dissolve like mine?
No I don’t think so.
It will explode.