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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Horror movies

When my son was in elementary school wore a "husky" jacket and jeans, which were the clothes I (his mother) choose.
When he was in high school and was allowed to wear what he liked to, his favorite attire was a black vampire cape or alternatively, a big chain with a huge cross around his neck.
He was also a sucker for Dario Argento movies (and he still is) and has one of the biggest collection of Horror movies Kids are often harassed for wearing sub cultural symbols and even pushed into therapy. Some are suspended for writing the wrong ideas in essays or raising them in class discussions. Certain kids are even punished by their parents.
There are psychologists who think video games are training our kids to be killers.
These things strike me as precisely the kind of intolerant and taunting comments that these kids must get in school because they dress differently or act oddly in comparison with their more conformist classmates, or have different tastes in movies.
They say "film critics" have no knowledge of social problems.
I am a mother and I do think I have some expertise at this point on how culture works, how media is consumed, how media panics are started, how symbols relate to real world events, how violence operates in stories, etc., etc. and that's what I want to speak about.
How symbols could be used to express many things and that we need to understand what these symbols mean to these kids.
The key issue isn't what the media are doing to our children but rather what our children are doing with the media.
All of us move nomadically across the media landscape, putting together a personal collection of symbols and stories taken from many different places. We invest those materials with various personal and sub cultural meanings.
In simple words, it is not the fault of the media, it is the fault of a society which was not able to build a safe environment for a certain part of itself.
My son loves horror movies and video games, but he is a perfectly sane and a psychologically healthy person.
He perfectly knows what is good and what is bad.
Because he was able to see it and was able to choose.
Also what I wouldn't have liked him to choose.
Horror movies usually promise to be one of the most disturbing horror movies imaginable.
That should be enough to invite my son and his generation.
Most disturbing is what they are looking for, to prove they weren't disturbed after all...
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