posted on Dec, 5 2007 @ 02:41 PM
I am thinking right now that maybe Mr. Rogers was as much a product of the country at the time as the country was a product of his teaching. So while
another Mr. Rogers would be good, it would be good because this would be a sign of the times.
I have been disgusted at the nation's seeming lack of community since I was old enough to realize. We haven't had much time to see how abundant
personal computing and telecommunications will play out. From my perspective, we as a people dealt with television quite well - it became an escape
but never replaced life.
Halloween is probably greatest example, as many of you have already cited it. Parents would rather buy their children bags of candy then let them go
out. It's a vicious cycle, too. When there are fewer kids out, then it's not enough fun to go out, so even fewer decide to go trick-or-treating.
One of my brothers, thirteen, did not go out this year. I guess there's no excitement in Halloween when he could lay on the couch, screwing around
online. My friends and I went out until we were seventeen when we realized we were the only ones out past eight o'clock.
The same brother doesn't have a big group of friends like I did at that age. He doesn't go out for meaningless bike rides or tell my mom "just
goofing around at so-and-so's house" when she asks where he's going. It's almost like the social aspect and enjoyment of each other's company is
gone. It's all about the activity itself, be it tennis or seeing a movie.
On my old street, the wonderful people there would throw a block party. I had no idea who most were since I was very young. Even if they didn't
have kids, the adults would show up and do stupid activities. On my "new" street (we've been here for 11 years), we had a little group of three or
four houses with kids about our age who would play together. We would go trick-or-treating together, randomly ring the doorbell on sunny days, play
pickup games of kickball, and retreat to someone's basement.
We have no block parties here. They tried it many years ago, and it was pretty worthless. There is no sense of community on my block. I have one
friend whose neighborhood still throws a block party. There were a lot of kids his age growing up there. He would go out ding-dong-ditching, TPing
people's houses, and sneak into a neighbor's pool at night. His dad, God bless his soul, would go out "trick-or-drinking" with the men in the
neighborhood. The sense of fun and community did not stop with the kids.
This topic reminded me of the awful game "The Sims Online". I loved the original, so I signed up for the beta. The original Sims was fun because
you had a tiny neighborhood, your neighbors would visit, you could focus on your cute little house. When it went online, there was nothing of the
sort. There was no such thing as a neighborhood. The people who were most successful were the ones who pooled their money together and built a
large, soulless building. There was no incentive to be creative or social. The game did not force players to be social, so they were not.
Life no longer forces us to be social. We can watch DVDs and YouTube and play games anonymously online. Everything comes from a super-store or
through the mail from the internet.
I think we have hope, though. Some young adults certainly realize our flaws right now. I have at least a couple friends who insist they will not be
like their parents, they will make sure he or she is "the one" before getting married. Our culture will end up balancing itself out in other ways
too, particularly in relation to new media. New parents will regulate computer and internet usage. The internet will lose its new feeling and begin
to be used appropriately.
We will learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of those before us. There will be future generations with their own problems, but hopefully we can
keep from passing on our own.