Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why Not Red Delicious, Granny Smith or Honeycrisp?

Kids are sent to school with apples,
ones that crunch numbers and bytes 
where red is read and juice is charge,
a daily dose of  energy every hour.

They take their apples out to recess
feed their egoism with plans to share
as others huddle around hoping for
bits of Internet, uncensored.

And hungry games are played
with guns and blood and gore,
so much they get desensitized
to violence. Reality a funhouse

mirror, warps young minds that morph
before their time, the video games
a fantastical  escape into the dark
a hide and seek, perception skewed.

*

I strongly believe that violent video games of hunting people and whatever else they do (we don't let our kids play them) contribute to the problems of today. Not long ago, I was in a game shop and the shelves were full of games for mature audiences. It used to be that these kinds of games were placed up high, but I noticed they were all over the shelves at eye level. I asked the teenager behind the desk why and he said because that has become the norm, that as a society we are desensitized to violence. I left without finding anything suitable for my boys.

What happens when someone is mentally unstable? Does that person lose touch with reality in such a way that the game becomes their world and he/she begins to play it in real life? What do you think?


Linked to Imaginary Gardens Open Link Monday




29 comments:

Brian Miller said...

its an interesting question...on one side i have my qualms about the desensitization that comes with blowing someones head off...and there are games that graphically portray that...that give you extra points for vicious kills...but then the other side to me is that this is just a symptom of an even greater issue and that is a heart issue...i think we are lacking things in our homes...but even them it becomes a heart issue for me...

about a year and a half ago i was counseling this kid and we drove to walmart, just kinda hanging out together and he turned to me and said 'how cool would it be to have a sniper rifle up on top of the building'...one of the scariest moments in counseling for me because it was unprompted and deadpan..

i reported it, as required and was shortly there after i stopped working with them because they no longer trusted me because i did report it... but...we gotta change something...

sorry for the ramble but i have been processing this a lot...

ds said...

Excellent question, Laurie. I agree that home is the first line of defense against violence, but guns and killing have become so pervasive at the cultural level (computers & video games, TV, movies)--even our idioms are violent--that it seems almost impossible to overcome...are we naturally so aggressive or have we become more so over time? Which is the symptom, and which the disease?
Thank you (and you, too, Brian) for giving me more to think about...

Patricia Anne McGoldrick said...

Those violent games were not allowed in our home either & I realize that more recent games are a zillion times worse than a few years ago.
Television has crossed so many boundaries in all zones, too. Definitely calling for parental guidance.
This latest tragedy sure is a signal that something needs to be done.

Dave King said...

It does seem to me that the evil takes hold when youngsters habitually play these games alone -- alone in the room that is, on-line doesn't count as company. It needs another human being (at least) to anchor a kid in reality.

Having said which, this is a very fine poem indeed.

Jinksy said...

Pondering the two kinds of 'apples' was a clever place to start, and you delivered enough pow to upset the apple cart of non-thinkers.

Kim Nelson said...

I've long felt similarly about gaming in general. Too isolating. Too alienating. But I also feel strongly that we have a multi-layered problem... a general lack of loving connections and concern for others... inadequate mental health care... availability of weaponry... They all coalesced in the most horrific way.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I agree with you on every level. It's not only the games but the addiction to media devices which is creating a horrible playground for children.

WabiSabi said...

This is an important component of our national problem of violence. Along with guns being readily available, a woeful lack of mental health services and the media obsession with sensationalizing every bit of 'news' You have expressed this aspect of the problem well in your poem! Thanks for sharing it.

Ella said...

I do think this is one of the puzzle pieces, but I also think mental illness and lack of health care in our country. Why would a teacher teach her mentally ill son to shoot?
I do agree we are desensitized...

Grace said...

I agree with you Laurie ~ I think all these violent games and movies are making us mentally unstable and sick ~

Mama Zen said...

This is excellent, thought provoking work.

Herotomost said...

Problem is magnified when even if you contol it in your home you are unable to control it in others homes that they visit. They become the cool house to hang out at, and you end up being the hopeless bore. Crazy situation not sure what the answer is. In countries where these games aren't as prevelaent there are other problems like being stuck close to real violence like wars and car bombings....don't think this bodes any better for the yout, but it has been around since the dawn of time. How can you protect against the flaws of a race...good question.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Thought-provoking and intelligent - the poem and the discussion it sparked. I agree with everything said here. Lack of connection is likely at the core. Brian, your story is chilling. All very heartbreaking.

Abin Chakraborty said...

I completely agree.expsoure to animated/simulated violence increases the propensity to violence.thats proved fact.but when the market dictates everything, there's no place for innocence and compassion.

nice to see you Laurie.i guess you dont share that much on mondays now.anyway, happy to read, as always.

Hannah said...

Laurie...thank you for writing this...so creative, so true. Very well stated and I, too, enjoy your play with the word apple...scary to think what some of these kids are being exposed to. :/

Emma Major said...

so creative and thought provoking. as for my thoughts - guns are too freely available and dangerous. video games have ratings for a reason. mental health care needs.improving.

Kay L. Davies said...

I agree, Laurie. I can't imagine how desensitization can lead to anything else. Like what? It creates more sensitive kids, perhaps? I doubt it.
On the other hand, will very sensitive children be able to play these games and come through unharmed? Or will they refuse to play them despite peer pressure?
Too many questions.
And reading Brian's comment showed me just how ridiculous it is to appoint counselors to at-risk children and then unappoint the counselor because he reported such unchildlike behavior?
Too many questions. Too few answers.
K

aprille said...

'desensitized' is right.
That is the essence of the problem.

jasmine calyx said...

This is great, Laurie. I vote for honeycrisp too. ;)

Laura said...

I think this adds to the lack of empathy in our youth, I think what we feed ourselves as adults... the news, the tv, and films... has an impact on us as well... and we are their caretakers, their example. And when we watch or listen to stuff that causes us to be angry or judgmental, they pick up on that too... there is a LOT going into this... ultimately compassion, showing it, living it is the only way we can change this dynamic...compassion and connection... and all of this means listening, being present, without judgment when our kids talk to us, and sitting with them in companionable loving silence when the don't. Well, some of my thoughts on this.

kaykuala said...

If killing and violence is a game then the stage is set. For in real life killings and violence down the street is still a game as they're rightly desensitized. How true Laurie!

Hank

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Between the violent games without consequence and the triple freakshow internet porn-on-demand without humanity, young men are getting a huge dose desensitization. Here's more on that: http://www.ted.com/talks/zimchallenge.html

Loved this - Happy Christmas to you and yours (if I don't see you before Xmas) - Mosk

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Laurie, thought-provoking writing, as always. Your take on this tragedy is one of the better views. The manic depressive in me knows that mentally ill people are going to be demonized by the press again. Hell, even Ed Schultz is railing about selling guns to "my type." I'm strictly pacifist, but also offended at some of the rhetoric. Also, Riley has Asperger's, so she is getting flak. I say, more education, guns should be one pull, one bullet only, no repeating anything. The Framers were writing about the right to bear MUSKETS. And we all need more peace of mind. Riley was not allowed video games unless educational. I don't have a magic solution other than prayer.... Peace, hon. Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/12/18/marian-merlin-and-me/

Karen said...

I have been trying and trying to undertand what happened there. I, too, have thought about the desensitization to violence and the culture of video killing and movie violence. I think it is the pervasiveness of this violence that has made the difference these days. It's almost taken for granted. That is chilling. Great thought-provoking poem and comments.

my heart's love songs said...

i definitely feel all of these games full of killing not so much desensitize the kids, but plain out make it seem like dying isn't real.

how can that not play into all the violence?

Other Mary said...

I'd say it's part of a multi-faceted problem. I think we need to try to work on more than one front...and how do we keep people from feelings so extremely negative they see this kind of thing as a viable option?

SaraV said...

Hi Laurie!! You can't help but feel that this leads to desensitization, my kids were not allowed to play them, but now as adults they do, and delight in it. We've had this conversation, and they maintain that it does not affect them. They are good hearted helpful people, so it's hard to argue it, but it is troubling to me. I love honeycrisp apples btw--Merry Christmas!!

Raven said...

Laurie, I thoroughly agree with you. Games, TV, movies, repeated violence does desensitize people. I know this from the manner in which I was finally able to quit smoking at 30. I spent 3 months preparing to quit by speaking to myself ... out loud and in front of mirrors. I told myself how much I hated smoking, how it stunk, how filthy it was. By the time I quit, I simply could not stand it anymore. Yes, you are absolutely right.

laurie, thank you for your friendship and your words. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you.

Margaret said...

Truly excellent poem. It isn't just ONE thing, and that is scariest of all. It is multi-factorial and therefore harder to solve.