today's mailbag: raise your own children, please
[thanks to everyone who sacrificed small, virginal animals for me. everything seems to be working now]
I got an email today from one Jeff S., who takes issue with my defense of Jesus Castillo in the Texas v. Castillo case involving the sale of an adult comic book to an adult.
Texas is right and you are wrong. This country is loose with its morals and stores sell sex and violence to impressionable young children and see nothing wrong with it. Comic books are meant for children. Just the word comic alone would seem to indicate that the books and things they sell in the store are for kids. Most comic book stores have brightly painted superheroes on their windows, pictures of Spiderman and Hulk and all the familiar cartoon characters. My eight year old son should not walk in there to buy Pokemon cards and be confronted with images of violence and sex and he should not be able to buy sexually explicit comics.
Even superheroes are suspect in dealing with a childís lifeís lesson. Most of the creators of these pieces of crap are Godless fools who force children to worship flying men and women who resort to violence on a daily basis in the name of saving the world. Children should look to people with good moral judgment who do not mess with Godís creation (meaning man, who cannot fly or perform miracles). Thou shalt not have false idols, the bible says. Superheroes are false idols and not only that, but the comics that donít have superheroes are full of dark images, the occult and things that give children nightmares.
I see you also defend makers of pornography and violent video games. It is people like you that contribute to the downfall of America and the morals on which it was founded. You and video game producers and makers of filthy or violent movies are helping to turn my child against my values. This must stop. People must be held accountable for the trash they produce and for the army of arrogant bullies and sexually active children that they create with their products. Stores that sell these items should be closed down.
Stop defending the demoralizers. Keep America clean. Kudos to the state of Texas and John Ashcroft for being the real defenders of truth, justice and the American Way.
My reply to Jeff:
It is a pity that you cannot see the error of your ways. The comic book industry is not in the field of child-rearing. Your responsibility as a parent does not stop at the door to the comic shop. It is up to you, Jeff S., to teach your child the morals that you hold dear.
Authors, musicians, artists, directors and video game producers do not have your specific child in mind when they create. It is up to you as a parent to decide what your child can and canít purchase, view, read or play with.
America is not the land of the free, the home of the religious. The entertainment industry does not cater to your particular religion or morals. The rest of the population of this country is not a watchdog group for you children. You are. You decide where he can and canít go, what he can and canít see. You pass on your moral judgment to him and when heís old enough to decide for himself, he may or may not follow in your footsteps. But for the time being, while heís just a small kid, it is up to you to instill the values you would like him to grow up with. If that means not going to comic book stores or video rental stores because you donít like what is on view there, so be it. But do not expect that the rest of us are going to bow down to your morals and religion and remove anything that offends you from the public eye. Perhaps you would be happy with nothing but Veggie Tales to peruse, but most of us wouldnít. The fallacy that the comic book industry is just for kids needs to be addressed in a longer statement than I have the time or patience to make right now.
Jeff, you may consider certain forms of entertainment a threat to your values, but I consider people like you a threat to my freedoms. I understand if you want to keep your child from viewing potentially harmful material. As a parent myself I know your dilemma. Thatís what I use rating systems for. But unlike you, I see a Parental Warning sticker on a CD as a sign that my child shouldnít listen to it. You see it as a sign that the store should be shut down for selling the CD - even to adults.
There is a moral to this story, Jeff: Raise your child yourself. Don't expect the creators of entertainment to give a shit about your kid, because they don't, nor should they be expected to. Nobody making an R-rated movie is going to worry about the implications of its imagery on the mind of an eight year old. The guy drawing the flying superhero does not care if it offends your religion, nor should he. The simple solution is to, so to speak, turn the channel if you don't like it. But don't think we are all going to change the channel with you.