Wednesday, October 28, 2009

If you can read this, you're lucky...

Let's say there's been roughly 200,000 years of Homo sapiens. Then let's say that only around 1960 did we as a species begin to recognize children as full-fledged people. I'm talking in round numbers here, so don't hound me on the dates. And yes, a lot of other things began changing around this time too. Go ahead and factor those into this on your own. OK, so my point is that life radically changes once parents start looking at their children as little people rather than unformed non-adults. Once you get into the 60's a mass consciousness kicks in. New parents begin thinking long and hard about the family unit, thinking about how they were parented, and how their parents were parented, and making choices about how they will act as parents and so on. Childhood becomes a foundry of experience, intellect, and emotions. The definition of "family" is (temporarily) up for grabs.

So the lucky part: Not only are you alive in the time of this evolutionary development 198,000 years in the making, but, you are living at the precise moment where both types live side by side, the earlier generation (less conscious and/or transitionally conscious of child rearing) and the more recent (more conscious) one. This is rare. It's like Fred Flintstone having Homo erectus neighbors.

On a side note, I think the show Mad Men is interesting because it focuses on this very moment of species transformation. Don Draper is both a cave man and an enlightened being. He is our Lucy (in the sky with Brooks Brothers). Our missing link.

While we're selling soap flakes, Sarah says, and don't forget the fact that marketers were all over this new segment. They were in on this rebranding of childhood almost from the getgo. If parents Freud and Dr. Spock sprinkled magic dust over the spirit of youth, then Madison Avenue and Tinsel Town were there to quilt our diapers and make animals talk and dance for us pretty soon afterwards. I hate to go down this cynical path, but she makes a point.

("Tent Dwelling Hippie Family of Mystic Arts Commune Bray Family Reading Bedtime Stories " by John Olson)


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