Violence is a staple in describing American society. From the Wild West to urban street gangs, it is something that has been a part of our society throughout its history.
However, what seems to be developing in American society is not a cure for violence but only a “wimpification” of our society.
In Windham, N.H. schoolchildren will not be allowed to play dodgeball as a result of the Sandy Hook shooting. The reasoning: “Being hit by a hard-thrown ball does not help kids develop confidence.”
Apparently, “human target” games teach violence. So that would include any form of tag and peg-outs in kickball as well, right? Seemingly, the cure-all for violence is the perennial hand-holding of our future generations.
Such dainty rules suggest that we must either level the playing fields or get rid of them — sounds to be in tune with communists fundamentals.
But please do not discredit me as some McCarthy-ian communist hunter. I do not declare we’re being over run by communist or that our president is a socialist.
Presently, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” ranks in USA Today’s best sellers. What happened to the Duke? What about underdogs like Danny Larusso?
What kind of confidence building is this? Teach the kids to be passive and submissive, and not to worry — it will all work out. Nonsense. It’ll work out if you make it work out.
Now it’s writers like Jeff Kinney, who reminisce about their days when mom used to call them sweetie pie, instead of writers like Hemingway — war hero and adventure seeker.
Daydreams used to be about hunting lions on an African safari or sailing the ocean blue. I assume kids now dream about smart phones and iPod minis.
Children used to dream of being Huck Finn or Holden Caulfield. Now they associate with Greg Heffley, Diary’s pansy protagonist.
My glory days were spent rolling through river mud in my school uniform and cursing contests with my neighborhood buddy.
So much of what American pop culture was has been demasculinized. I tend to associate Nashville with this dilemma. Instead of Johnny Cash and the Highwaymen, we have skinny-jeaned and Converse-wearing “country boys” who couldn’t hack it as a rocker.
It’s the new, trendy America.
Somewhere between the Baby Boomers and Generation X, we’ve become especially considerate not to have our feelings hurt. Maybe it’s the warmer temperatures or the liberals, as any old, cranky conservative would aver.
The problem is not that we promote too much violence — we promote too little confidence.
Conflict and insult is inherent.
We cannot control their existence — we can only control how we react. Having confidence kept that grain of salt in our mouths so we could brush it off when we got plugged by a “hard-thrown” ball and someone laughed at us.
It’s called growing up.
Mass communication senior C.C. Jaeger shares in my disappointment claiming that “our country has become obsessed with making it OK to be average.” What made America great is our zeal to be the best.
Jaeger elaborates saying, “Competitiveness breeds confidence. Yet, we’re preaching inferiority and complacency.”
What we need to do is teach kids to have a little more grit and to remember that this is the land of equal opportunity — not equal greatness. If all greatness were equal, there would be no greatness.
That’s called communism.
Such bans as in Windham are knee-jerk reactions by overly sensitive community-position holders looking to be portrayed as helping the little guy. It’s not the violence they’re scared of, it’s the lawsuit that gets them shaking in their boots.
Unfortunately, many Americans believe they deserve punitive compensation for just about anything they deem offensive.
Nevertheless, I do trust there is still enough red blood in America, but I can only imagine what kind of games my children will play in P.E. class — it won’t be dodgeball.
At this rate, P.E. class will most likely become a dieting class, because all physically competitive activities for children are liable to be banned.
Chris Ortte is 22-year-old political science senior from Lafayette.