Saturday, October 7, 2017

The effect of images across time

A weekend spent not working, but on call - leisurely, not entirely free, and possibly working. I have been texting with CS all morning. We have been taking note of the changing world. He sent a bunch of pictures from the 70s and early 80s - a skate rink in Tampa, kids just being kids. The type pictures that are difficult to take now. Such is the ubiquitous effect and nature of photography - extreme self consciousness, even to the point of anger at any perceived violation of personal space. 

Perhaps the way that  my son will one day identify the picture above. Innocence, over time, becomes a future or present sin.

Kids just being kids. Are we allowed to say things like that? 

One of the things that CS sent was an article about a school that is moving away from using the terms boy and girl. These binary designations no longer adequately suit the times, nor the needs of the student neutral population. Some find the terms offensive, a form of stereotyping when monotyping is what these courageous times call for. 

Am I allowed to be critical of efforts to reduce language's most basic descriptive capacity in the contemporary rush to reduce offense? The denial of humans being separated by sexual reproduction, and the resulting sexual characteristics that general division entails, seems the best way to confront it as a social problem. Those much smarter than me are in charge now, so I must assume they know what they're doing and what is best. History has never shown that all forward progress is anything but helpful. Certainly there is some enlightened term for me to employ now when trying to confuse a child about some of their most basic illustrative qualities as a human. Can we even call a child transitioning into adulthood a child? Does that term not suggest a diminutive, a non-existent division between one state and another?

I do not wish to offend nor to be offended, so soon I will no longer refer to a boy as a boy or a girl as a girl. I wonder if there is a stated objective to the new practice (I did not bother reading the article). I prefer to let its headline conduct its imaginary wonder upon me without having to sully myself with fact. What will a genderless or sex-neutral world be like, I wonder, where I will assume the authority to speak as whomever I choose to be, whatever I feel like from moment to moment. Never again will anyone enjoy the luxury of assessment towards me. Those will be fun times for anyone that knows me well. I've been practicing for this for what seems a lifetime. 

You might think that I am denigrating these efforts to reduce personal suffering, but I'm not, at all. I like and even prefer challenges in language. I find them interesting and educational, if not also fun. I wish to offend no one, even though I might toy with offense here and elsewhere fairly regularly. If removing the word boy or girl will help those who might have resentment, aversion, antipathy or confusion towards those designations then that is what we should do: burn the witchy words. All celebration and humor will submerge itself underneath layers of language where it belongs.

I know plenty of people that would like to stop using words like cop, judge, inmate, guard, boss, parents, teachers, scholars, students, and priests. How many times have those imaginary and polarizing nouns done real and lasting harm.  

Did you know that it's against the law to solicit sex for money, from an adult? Doing so makes you a prostitute, or perhaps you might be called a sex worker. In this scenario anyone can be a client. 

One starts the transaction with money, the other ends with it.