Monday, February 20, 2012
Hemming and Hawing and the Danse Macabre
This post was inspired by an incident earlier today. I was at my art class, and my teacher had brought her youngest kid into work. This is happens on a pretty regular basis, so it's become normal to see a little one trundling through the art studio, asking questions and hanging out with "the big kids". One of my classmates is working on a piece about female sexual abuse and, like most modern artists, has no intention of holding back the grizzly. Now I'm a big proponent of a more open media. I do play Mortal Kombat with my youngest sister (who's 13) whenever we get together, so I'm no stranger to "corrupting" my younger siblings. But when I saw my classmate have to explain (while not explaining) her art to this four year old girl, I felt a twinge. Something just didn't feel right about needing to avoid what she was actually doing. Now, granted, this exchange lasted only a moment or two, but that was long enough for me.
Now call me old and sentimental, but why make this stuff if we get on an intuitive level that we shouldn't show it to children? There has to be a better way than showing them not-beautiful things. And yet, as I sit here and write this post, I can't think of anything better. The world's a very dark place, a place that, in some ways, gets darker every day. It's pretty ridiculous when you think about it, but it's true. I know that when I get married and have children I want them to know that life is amazing. I want them to value themselves, body, soul, and spirit equally (because without one of the three we cease being ourselves), and I want them to look at the world they're in and love it while they're in it.
But I still want them to know why this isn't our home. This world is fallen, corrupt, and sick, and sooner or later we won't be able to bear it anymore. As friends die, hearts break, and the world changes we need to move on for our own sanity's sake. It can't be hurtful to show them things that make them realize it, right? It certainly makes sense on some level. The Danse Macabre may not be there to tell us it'll be over soon and that there's nothing we can do about it, but that some day it'll all be over and we'll be grateful, because that means it's time to go.
Although that probably still doesn't justify me playing Mortal Kombat with Munchkin. Oh well.