But as we were listening, I was reminded of my own school days. Back then there were no smart phones. All our phones were chained to walls in our house or poles outside seedy gas stations.
Our dangers were not so different though. We didn't jule, but the evils of nicotine were readily available for us in the form of dipping tobaccos. We even had "trainer" gum such as Big League Chew. Many a day I was told to spit out my half pouch of BLC during class. I was quite disappointed when I later found out Copenhagen didn't allow you to blow bubbles.
I recall our assemblies where we were warned not to dip. Just as I remember our version of the "Snapchat is evil" assembly. For us, it was MTV and heavy metal music. The TV would rot our brains and prevent us from ever having a future.
As I remembered these moments, I looked to a colleague and suggested that in our day the point was always punctuated with our favorite technique.... fear.
We had to sit and watch images of people without jaws. And then we were told this would happen to us if we dipped... maybe even if we just kissed someone who dipped. "Don't drink, smoke, or chew or date girls who do!" was our rally cry!
And let's not forget the horrors of heavy metal music. It turns out that if you play the records backward you are likely to hear, "Arrgghh Wuuufff Relllennncia..." which obviously is a secret message to worship Satan. If the lyrics are heard too many times, that message will penetrate your subconscious. From there you are doomed.
15 creepiest backward messages in Rock
My colleague and I had a good laugh... until our current rally turned to similar techniques. Students bullied in cyberspace who are no longer with us.
It reminded me of something I read long ago.
“Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us . . . But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture's being drained by laughter?”
I recalled it, because just as I did when I was in Middle School, the kids today sat apathetically by. They were excited to raise their hand that they had their own smart phone and were on social media. They were idly distracted when presented with stories of predators, charges for child pornography (yes, this was a section of the talk), and lost future jobs due to posting inappropriate material.
But the real reason I thought of the quote is I began to look at my other colleagues in the room. About half of whom were not listening. They were being entertained by their phone.
Maybe, just maybe, the cultural ideas and darlings of one generation are a timed bomb for the next.
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