Thursday, September 6, 2007

Atlas, Tattoos, and Football

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Today, the fabulous Pamela "Atlas" Geller had Diana West as a radio guest. West's book, The Death of the Grown-Up,says our civilization is endangered by a lack of a mature outlook. In the interview she pointed to the higher education opportunities for the 1960s kids and their allowances causing marketing to be aimed at them creating a rise in the power of youth. She also, intriguingly, indicated that Hitler's shadow discredited authority. They also talked for a long time about our lack of ability to stomach bad news in Iraq and our inability to stand up to Islam. West's interpretations and their conversations were fascinating.

On hold, I wanted to pop off two of my wilder culturist ideas. People may agree with the philosophy of culturism without endorsing a particular policy. And some fun points can serve as learning prompts. The first fun observation I wanted to anonymously note was that the military is not the only anomaly of machoness in our country. Professional sports are too. When Michael Vick and others get caught doing immoral acts, when basketball players cuss or fight, they are suspended. The leagues take having role models and a reputation seriously. I would love it if public media [not private] would suspend any publicity or mention of celebrities that get caught with drugs. This would create an island of sane media for kids to watch. It would also show that we take morals seriously. Professional sports do not want to be seen as a collection of uncivilized thugs, neither should the United States.

My second possibly extreme comment concerned my pet peeve. I live on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Nearly everyone here has tattoos on their hands, arms, and faces. If anything shows immaturity it is the view that you want to exclude yourself from any high level, non-artistic, gainful pursuit. It not only limits your potential, but says that you are convinced that you will not change or develop as you age; at sixty you will still want the same images on your body. Were these tough posers to face war they would likely melt. These hipsters are not tough, or impressive, they are immature, overgrown children pretending to live an adolescent dream. But I do not mean to judge!

My proposal to remedy this is to severely punish those who give tattoos to people under 35. When you are 18 you often haven't even paid rent. You are not mature enough to make such a long-term decision. Though individuals have rights, we have a cultural right to have a culture that nurtures positive behaviors, that does not corrupt our impressionable young. You have a right to positive acts, not to irresponsibility, to liberty, not to license. Children of 18 are not mature enough to have no cultural guidance from any but other 18 year olds. West would tell you that we need to be mature and macho enough to tell children what to do.

Culturism the book - not to get to deep here - tells us that rights require a functioning society with a sense of responsibility. If our society falls due to irresponsibility rights will not continue to result from some metaphysical guarentee. Sustaining real freedom requires the mature effort that creates a functioning society; pretending you are tough is not enough. A nation of children would fall quickly. When we abdicate our resopnsibility to teach such truths we are complicit in our collective erosion.

My two solutions, kicking bad people off public airwaves and raising the age of tattoo rights, might offend some people. They would be right to note that we must be concerned with the protection of free speech. But we cannot always let the evoking of absolute rights undermine democracy and our sense of responsibility. Free speech does not mean unqualified rights to public airwaves and space. Those affected are free to vote against such laws (even at 18 since we capitulated to the Sixtees generation rather than standing up to it on that count). These suggestions might not do well in our current cultural climate. But, West and Atlas are right. Not having the spine needed to put forth unpopular suggestions does bode well for us.
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