At Goodwill today, I happened upon an old paperback of the TV show Columbo. After I stopped laughing at the coked-out picture of Peter Falk on the cover, I opened it up. Being an old paperback, it had a glossy page in the middle with some advertising on it. Just for kicks, I decided to see what they were peddling. It happened to be Kent Cigarettes, the ads promising "smooth flavor" and "exceptional value," a happy cartoon woman puffing on a cigarette with a brilliant white smile on her face.
In the middle of the store, I stopped in my tracks and had to reflect on this odd juxtaposition. Here is this book from fifty years ago, extolling the virtues of cigarette smoking, and here was me in 2016, watching the result of a decade of "political correctness" that has led to people carrying more tension and woe than ever before. Back then, you didn't worry if you saw Lucille Ball break out a pack of Philip Morris Cigarettes or Lassie shlepping for Budweiser.
Advertisers in that time trusted that the world was objective and people could make decisions for themselves. Now they feel we need to be protected from cigarette and alcohol commercials, like we'll turn into godless heathens if we take a sip of Gin. We are so sheltered that a whole generation people are being raised in a sanitized rubber room, seemingly protected from the degenerates that allegedly roam this country and tempt people.
I understand trying to raise children to be moral and clean, but you can't hide them from the truth. Eventually they'll have to make decisions for themselves and they won't have their parents playing goalie anymore, shielding them from the monsters. And it's not just children being sheltered; there are many people out there that have their heads buried like ostriches in the sand. If they don't see or hear the evil, then it doesn't exist.
But, philosophically speaking, that's evading reality. You can pretend that some things just don't exist, because existing is an axiom that can't be changed. Eventually your child will see a cigarette or alcohol bottle and be curious, as they very well should be. It's up to parents to teach their children the alcohol and cigarettes can be addicting and should only be used if you think you can handle them.
It's not up to us to decide what people should see and not see, as a group. Do what you want in your own home, but don't force your beliefs on anyone or cajole them into accepting or embracing your beliefs. Live your life in the way that you want to and bring up your family the way you see fit.
Teachers also can't protect your children from the facts of the world. Teachers are fountains of knowledge that need to be tapped, not plugged.
An example: In 2013 "Gail Horalek, the mother of a 7th-grade child in Michigan in the US, has made international headlines by complaining that the unabridged version of Anne Frank's diary is pornographic and should not be taught at her daughter's school. At issue for Horalek is a section detailing Anne's exploration of her own genitalia, material originally omitted by Anne's father, Otto Frank, when he prepared the manuscript for publication in the late 40s." (From The Guardian.)
Now why in the hell would this woman even care? Does she not have a vagina? Is there any way in which Anne Frank talking about that subject hurts literally anyone? Why does some battle-axe woman decide she is the moral compass for the entire school system of the world? Anne Frank's diary is a brilliant document that should be read in its entirety, apparent "warts" and all. If a grown woman is at all offended by a girl exploring her body, I shudder to think what this woman's upbringing was.
We need to realize that the world is alive and constantly turning, not something that remains stagnant and etched in stone. Let people live their lives and see the world around them. Don't put a mask over their face and then break down when they can't function in the real world.
Life is a beautiful work of art and, like any painting or sculpture, it has its blemishes.
It's up to you not to lunge for the White Out.