But what incentive do the masters of cultural regulation have to limit their powers to only the most common-sense cases, assuming even those existed? Obviously those beyond criticism pay no price to meddle in every aspect of everyone's lives, so of course we'll see a lot more of that than before.
Here's an NYT article on the pathetic move by schools to basically outlaw Halloween for kids, all in the name of "positive costumes" and tolerance for other cultures. Because, you know, most kids these days would be dressing up in blackface if it weren't for the principal telling them not to. Indeed, why don't we just require all little boys and girls to dress up like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks?
And how's this for a two-faced policy? -- "French maids are explicitly discouraged." Jeez, your daughter tries to honor the oppressed gender of a foreign culture's working class, and that's the thanks she gets for it?
Clearly the push by paranoid parents for fewer toy weapons and bloody imagery began as part of the "save the kids" campaign that only began once kids became incredibly safe. That is, during the mid-1990s, right as rates of violent crime and child abuse were plummeting. My generation's parents saw the sickening news of Adam Walsh's murder, and yet they still let us dress up like serial killers for Halloween. The super-neurotic parents of the past 15 years, though, have managed to pressure the public and private spheres to deprive their kids of the joys of mock violence.
Even more, this has become a status-signaling contest among parents (here's one):
"I'm not sure what is driving this memo [about approved costumes]," Mr. Bishoff said. "But perhaps it is reaction to years past. Sometimes kids will have those 'Scream' masks, but usually not too blood and gutsy. I mean, can't parents have discretion? The fact is, if parents are too stupid to not send kids to school with hockey masks as Jason, they are probably too stupid to read this memo."Yeah, don't those stupid parents know that letting your kid dress up as Jason is the first step toward him becoming a machete-wielding maniac? Better yet, you'll have to follow him around for a few hours to make sure that he doesn't play with boys who have stupid parents that let them wear Freddy Krueger gloves. Bad influences. Well it's either that or just not let your kid go out at all -- which is what you'll probably decide on, since micro-monitoring is cheaper to do at home.
Time was, you bragged to other parents about how rich your child's life was -- "Look at how well little Jayden can play the piano, and he's pretty popular with the girls, too!" Now parents compete to see whose kid is the biggest loser:
"I won't allow him to play sports since they only glorify violence and competition, and I won't pay for driving school since I can drive him around just fine myself. I mean, not hanging out with friends is good for him anyways -- gives him more time to volunteer at the Martin Luther King Center for Persons with Disabilities. He'll never get into Columbia without enough community service, you know."
If a bunch of nutcase parents want to harm their own children's social lives, that's their prerogative. But by creating a cultural regulation system, we empower these fruitcakes to spoil the fun of other people's children. Without the diversity stick -- which no one can object to being beaten with -- they'd have very little to force their paranoid practices on everyone else. But just cloak it in some double-talk about positive role models, and there you go.
Banning Halloween -- another unintended consequence of the diversity regulators.