left biblioblography: THE WORSHIP OF INNOCENCE: OF CUPIDITY, CLASHES, AND CULTURE CRISES

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

THE WORSHIP OF INNOCENCE: OF CUPIDITY, CLASHES, AND CULTURE CRISES


“Youth is wasted on the young. “ – G. B Shaw

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, meine damen und herren, it’s curmudgeon time yet again, and something’s so far up my nose, it’s scratching my medulla oblongata.

Recently at the NGB (NoGodBlog), posters there were beset by trolls, two in a row, who were by anyone’s standards, abusive, condescending, full of piss ‘n vinegar, blaring their self-indulgences to us, proclaiming to be vastly superior in intellect and physicality. The source of their arrogance? Two college students. Laying claim to a vast wealth of knowledge to which they both demonstrated a distinct lack of. It was alternately hilarious and aggravating, to say the least. One of the tendencies they both shared was an inability to listen (their monologues were…self-involved, to say the least). One admitted agnosticism: the other, Christian. And yet, when I have any sort of a blogversation with atheists of that approximate age, somehow, they’re far more civil, friendlier, and open-minded. Go figure.

“A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.” G.B Shaw

I wish I could say this was a rare occasion. Alas, it isn’t. Usually, it involves K-12 xtian children (and truthfully, these two bravos behaved in like fashion, regularly).

Somehow, this put me in mind of this:

“A few people actually protested these events. Oddly enough, on one side were the clean-cut kids and on the other were a small group of raggedy-looking, washed up, white-haired hippies pining for a "secular world" and, if we just reject religion and espouse secularism (another religion?) "crime will go down". Our youth has been pummeled with this argument since they were in diapers and there is little reason to believe it any longer. “

I happen to know these folks, from the S.F Atheist organization. They’re older, surely: but raggedy, washed up hippies? One grey ponytail does not a hippy make, you ageist freak.

This is in reference to folks, who seem to think that we need to listen to the children (“Any who is like unto these…” “Out of the mouth of babes”, etc).

This is more along the lines of my kvetching about the current youth culture in this country. (Remember Dana Carvey’s ‘Grouchy Old Man’ character on SNL? “When I was young, we didn’t have all these fancy, schmancy shoe sizes! We had one size shoe! So we forced our feet into them, till we bled, and it hurt. And you know what? WE LIKED IT!”)

At some juncture, in the USA, the constant refrain (if not heard, is demonstrated regularly) of “Trust no one over the age of thirty” seems to be deeply ingrained into us.

“Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.” G.B Shaw

This is abject horseshit, to put it mildly (not the quote, the attitude). While it is true, that most athletes over the age of forty are pretty much in the retirement bracket, it’s the older folks who really run this country. Find someone under the age of thirty in any of the three branches of our government, for instance. Take a demographic of any Fortune 500 company, for another.

As a man in my middle ages (no, not my dark ages, hehehehe), I could go to any other country, and date, and marry, someone half my age. Asia. Europe. Probably anywhere in Canada, Mexico, or South America. Here in America, I’d be considered a perv, a lech, pick the pejorative of your choice. (I’m not lamenting this, by any means: I’m using it to illustrate a point).

The issue I’m raising is this: we worship youth far too much in this country. Witness the castaway dregs of the elderly here. In Asia, it’s not kosher to slap your aged parents in some old-folks home: filial piety has value over there – hey, they took care of you, now it’s your turn. I defy the reader to find countries where the young are elevated and the elderly are cast aside as hindrances (though this may be changing, due to the invidious Westernizing of the world).

From where, then, did this dark wart surface in our culture? I think it’s firmly rooted in two sources: religion, and evolution.

With evolution, we have the innate, instinctual need to protect the offspring. Nature’s ways are obvious, even to the densest of us. The old need make way for the new. The child is born, is raised, becomes mature, and supplants the parent to become parent itself.

Now, the other side of the coin.

We have this vast misperception of ‘holy’ childhood. This is partially due to nostalgia: who wouldn’t give all to be young again? There’s that wide open face, smiling – what’s not to love? Studies show that very young children – two and under, I think – who are from different cultures, different races, play together happily, without any recognition of diversity whatsoever. They simply don’t care.

I think the other part, is that ridiculous paragon of purity – clean, unblemished, unpolluted, brimming with vitality – we always seem to forget, that kids do some foolish, foolish things. Anyone who’s ever had a hand in raising a teenager (I have) can attest to that. Easily attributable to the learning curve of being human, in my opinion.

But by no means, should we put it up on a pedestal, people. I mean, c’mon!

Here’s the part where I lay into religion: I know y’all been waiting for it, so here it is:

Original sin. The bible tells us that, in a nutshell, that good ole Adam and Eve were pure and clear, but that someone ate some fruit (we all know the tale: I shan’t regurgitate it ad nauseum), and so our ancestors were divested of this obscenely ridiculous yardstick of ‘purity’. Some circles of thought propound that children are representative of humanity prior to the ‘Fall from Grace’.

I see this as an extrapolation into the value of youth in our culture now. For instance, the need for the bride to be a virgin, for one. Or the depiction of angels: rarely does one see an aging, septuagenarian angel; they’re all portrayed as unmarred, beautiful youths. Now, we can attribute this somewhat to the ancient Greeks and Romans, to be sure: it’s not exclusively an xtian foible. But we have Mr. Mythical telling Nicodemus we must be ‘born again’, his apostles trying to chase off children (that’s kinda cranky, you ask me: hey, if the head honcho’s not getting worked up about it, who cares?)and being rebuked for it, well, it’s not hard to figure out from whence this foolishness inserted itself into our culture.

Let’s take this down a notch, to the personal level.
I love children. I get along with them to a point where most people (Americans all) would think it a tad weird (no, not Michael Jackson weird!). It’s mostly (I think) an openness issue: I’m a very open, jolly person. My stepson’s friends would come over, at an age where most kids won’t even talk to an adult without squirming, and we’d be having long involved natters. It’s just the way I am. He had this one friend, who absolutely hated adults. Within five minutes, we were talking like old chums. Give me ten minutes with the under-five crowd, and I become human monkey bars. I’ve been asked: “How’d you get so popular?” I just shrug.

I remember this old saw: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid. What most folks don’t know is that Butch was, simply put, fantastic with children. They’d walk into a Native American village (or whatever the word is, feel free to correct me), and within five minutes, he’d be playing with the kids. Ergo, they were given refuge and hidden from the encroaching authorities. Hey, the kids get along with him, he must be okay!

Just so we’re straight, here: I don’t hate young people. People are people, young or old. My objection is that we infuse them with this ‘You’re the crème-de-la-crème of the future!’ nonsense. Sure, they’re the hope of the future. Sure, they can make a difference. But don’t put them up on some pedestal, treat them like they’re so far above us, we’re not worthy of licking their boots, because we’re older than them. Fer cryin’ out loud!

Enough author intrusion: let’s step back up to the topic at hand.

So, in short, we need to start actually addressing this egregious nonsense. Look where it gets us: we have a crassening of the culture (hey, I’m guilty here too folks: no free passes). We’ve got these juveniles, who are spoon-fed to believe they’re on a higher plateau than the rest of us simply due to their age, who are inculcated in this doctrine from infancy by soccer moms who rush about trying to indulge their every whim and fancy, adults who lay out a red carpet so their precious little feet don’t get dirty (little dirt never hurt anybody, I say, but what do I know?), who fill their heads with an unrealistic ideology of arrogance.

And sure, there’s the occasional enfant terrible, such as Mozart, but as a rule, it’s usually us older folks who set the stage, or put the structure into place, figure out the kinks. And yes, much of that stems from what we’ve learned in our youths, mostly from the mistakes made within the limits of the of the rise to maturity.

Yeah, wasn’t too short, was it?

Anyways, that’s my nickel’s worth. Pocket it, or spend it: your choice.

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8 comments:

say no to christ said...

Well, I tend to believe the younger generation is a bit smarter, but we also have to deal with the kids raised by crazy fundie christians that have their kids so brainwashed that they are a danger to society.

We should start treating religious beliefs as a mental disorder. Maybe create a group, christian anonymous?? lol

farmgirl said...

damn Missed another troll fest hey ra email me next time.

Krystalline Apostate said...

SNTC:
Well, I tend to believe the younger generation is a bit smarter, but we also have to deal with the kids raised by crazy fundie christians that have their kids so brainwashed that they are a danger to society.
Yeah, well, can't tell folks how to raise their kids.
We should start treating religious beliefs as a mental disorder. Maybe create a group, christian anonymous?? lol
I hope you're joking? That sounds like thought police to me.

farmgirl:
damn Missed another troll fest hey ra email me next time.
Okay, but trust me, it warn't pretty, by any stretch. They weren't garden-variety trolls: they were hairy-eyed zealots.
I actually deleted a few posts, HZ had to edit a few - they were tres ugly, trust you me.

say no to christ said...

I know this is a bit off topic but I found this and just had to share it with you all. :)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6410112404402873027&q=naked+truth

Krystalline Apostate said...

SNTC:
Quick query: what's the google video about?

say no to christ said...

Ra

The video is about the dangers of religious beliefs and christianity. Its about 2 hours long. I only got to watch the first half of it so far and it was really interesting.

Mesoforte said...

And yet, when I have any sort of a blogversation with atheists of that approximate age, somehow, they’re far more civil, friendlier, and open-minded. Go figure.

^_^

which seeks to engage teens and young adults to lead a Christ-centered life and reject, passionately, our society's trashy pop culture.

I wonder if they realize that the 'trashy pop culture' is full of Christians who lead 'Christ-centered' lives. I don't know if rappers count though, considering their lyrics. ;)

Krystalline Apostate said...

MF:
I don't know if rappers count though, considering their lyrics. ;)
Hey, there's even atheist rappers.
I wonder if there's any such thing as an atheist country-western group/singer? ;)