PRINCESSES AND TRIGGER HAPPY VIDEO GAME BOYS ON SKATEBOARDS AND BMXS: HOW CONSUMER CULTURE HAS CORRUPTED AND KILLED THE CULTURE OF LIFE AND FAMILY AND ENGENDERED A TOXIC CULTURE OF UNREALISTIC FAIRYTALES, DEATH AND DOOM.
I was thinking this afternoon on my way back to Ontario from Quebec as I pulled out of Belleville station on good old Via Rail, about the conversations I was going to have with my Church buddies back in Port Colborne once I got back there today. In particular I was thinking about talking with one staunchly Pro-Life woman and a man who is married to a Japanese lady. I got to talking in my head with them about how birthrates have gone down in North America as we have slowly but surely put more emphasis on consumerism and material or temporal welfare as opposed to spiritual or religious fervour during the days when we were colonising our continent.
During the days of colonization, we were far less materialistic and we had far less of a society based on the goods of consumerism. As a result, Christianity occupied a bigger place in our lives and people were generally more devout and you found less unbelief, disbelief and non-belief than you do now. People needed God and religion in their lives, the civil government did not provide many if any public services, and often the Church was the focal point of the community and a source of social and cultural cohesion. It provided material and moral support as well as a common place to meet to share the practice of common beliefs and values as well as an opportunity for socializing and socialization and group maintenance, not to mention a source of entertainment.
As our society progressed, so to speak, (some might say ‘degenerated’ or ‘declined’) it became more complex from the viewpoint of its socio-economic, cultural and political structures and the role of religion and faith began to be openly questioned, especially in light of the great secular influences of science, urbanization, war, industrialization, poverty and privation, disease, violence, injustice, and inequality either created or exacerbated by the Industrial era of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Many people lost faith and ceased the practice of religion as a result of these factors, as well as a result of the theocratic and temporal abuses of power of organized religion which had been piling up for centuries. This left us with a situation whereby we found ourselves with more opportunities than ever to expand our knowledge of the universe, but with less and less desire to bring a huge multitude of new humanity into this world so as to partake of this new supposed ‘world of wonders.’
As material wellbeing steadily increased, families steadily demonstrated a tendency to control and restrict their level of procreation from the enormous families of twelve and more children of yore, to six or seven, then down to one or two, and even producing the new phenomenon of childless couples and a growing constituency of unmarried, childless persons.
It’s as if our unlocking of this supposedly wonderful world of scientific, empirical knowledge with its supposedly limitless vistas of opportunity for learning and expansion of consciousness, has engendered a secular culture of death and doom, which seems to be dominated on the one hand by an almost impossible to emulate culture of the ‘Disney Princess’ for young girls, which seems to be getting more and more ersatz and almost grotesquely hideous in its idealization of the Princess and her elusive Prince who is to come and sweep her off her feet and take her away to his castle to live ‘happily ever after’, after first getting married of course, at some non-descript Church to seal the deal.
Then on the other hand, for boys, you have the ‘death and doom’ sorts of proto-eschatological/apocalyptic, quasi-medieval/fantasy types of proto Arthurian/Dungeons and Dragons/Lord of the Rings types of video games, films, books and TV shows as well as role-playing games. All of them have a sort of ‘lone knight on his steed with his sword and a silver hard-on’ type of thematic to them of trying to emulate some sort of Arthurian ‘grail’-like quest of finding a precious or sacred object or place which has either magical or ultimate/absolute power, rounding up a rag tag motley crew of misfits along the way to help him achieve his quest, a villain who is his foil, a lady love interest to whom he is fatally attracted and who is crucial as an instrument in achieving his quest and for whom he must quell his carnal desires (or at least feign disinterest) so as to achieve his objective, and an overarching plot of personal and collective redemption for our hero and the universe as a result of the fulfillment of his quest.
These two antithetical gender ideations are juxtaposed in our postmodern and postindustrial media society in an essentially incompatible and irreconcilable manner. The girl cannot expect to have her Prince charming ride out of the sylvan symbiosphere of CGI la la land and sweep her off her feet when in fact he is out on a quest involving the mortal combat between the forces of good and evil with his own immortal soul and the collective outcome of the entire galaxy or universe hanging in the balance.
Such is the metaphor for the dichotomy which faces the gender gap in today’s postmodern and postindustrial society. The Disney’s of this world are still depicting girls as princesses who rely on men solving all their problems and the rest of Hollywood is still depicting men as being still too busy slaying dragons and resanctifying themselves and the universe to have a moment to be able to go pick up little miss Princess what’s her face who’s in desperate need of having all her problems solved by some rich dude in fancy clothes, with lots of money, a fancy horse (or car in today’s world), who lives in a castle (a big house) and who will treat her like the Princess she truly is and will provide her with the means and opportunity to have a whole schwack of kids and a fancy chariot (read that SUV or minivan) to drive them around in.
It’s like U2 sang in their song ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ ‘When fact is fiction and TV reality.’ I guess if we truly want to believe what Hollywood is selling us, it becomes reality. Well, back to Ontariariario, a place to stand a place to grow. Except, I don’t know what’s growing anymore in Ontario. Is it the size of families, or the size of people’s houses with the amount of stuff in them and their waistline?
I guess I’ll have to take it one day at a time and see what the real conversations turn out like once I get back to Port Colborne and talk with my Church buddies!!! Take care folks!!!