Western Civilization and Other Fairy Tales The sad story of the decline of historical sensibility. By Jonah Goldberg nationalreview.com February 6, 2008 12:00 AM
Families are civilization factories. They take children and install the necessary software, from what to expect from life to how to treat others. One hears a lot of platitudes about how children are “taught to hate.” This is nonsense. Hating comes naturally to humans, and children are perfectly capable of learning to hate on their own. Indeed, everyone hates. The differences between good people and bad resides in what they hate, and why. And although schools and society can teach that, parents imprint it on their kids.
As a conservative, I’m a big believer in the importance of tradition, which writer G.K. Chesterton dubbed “democracy of the dead.” But tradition can only be as strong as it is in the people who pass it on. And so, when I read that 23 percent of British teens think Winston Churchill is no more real than Spider-Man, it makes me shudder at the voluntary amnesia of society, the wholesale abdication of parental responsibility that represents.
Civilization, at any given moment, can be boiled down to what its living members know and believe. This makes civilization an amazingly fragile thing, and it makes parents the primary guardians of its posterity. Indeed, someone once told me that those who cannot learn from history are condemned to hear George Santayana quoted to them for the rest of their lives. Of course, that joke’s only funny if you’ve heard of Santayana in the first place.
Now, because even my daughter’s minor joys are my greatest ones, I will gladly fork over large sums of money so she can dine with fairy-tale princesses. I will even play along. But she is only 4, and I’ll only be pretending. — Jonah Goldberg is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. (C) 2008 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Advertising: The Push for Change A speech by Suzanne Keeler
Social change doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't ever happen quickly. Permanent social change usually requires commitment, tenacity and real action on several levels - the public, government and industry. It requires attitudinal change at all these levels as well and that doesn't take place overnight either. I would like to talk to you today about how I believe that, first of all, social change is already happening in advertising and secondly, how it is being furthered by the industry and lastly, that I believe the development of guidelines for the media may not be the way to go. The first thing we need to remember here is: advertising is a business. Advertising is created to sell products, change ideas, gain new customers. Advertisers will use the approach that works with the majority of their target audience. Advertising is indeed a reflection of our society. The argument that an advertiser is marketing a secondary message - the environment, the people, the relationships - within their primary message continues to rage... Encourage young people in your community to train to work in journalism, the broadcasting industry, in advertising, in any area of the ever-expanding media world. We, as a country, must have the best and brightest working in the media to allow the rest of us to understand the world around us. And the best and brightest of all races means we'll all get to look beyond our own fences. Lastly, talk to members of the media with which you're concerned... Throughout history, the cycle of change has always been too slow for some. Let's be sure though, that as we try to affect the change, we applaud the change that has happened, and we stop, and take a look a those beside us. They're on a different track, but they're going in the same direction. Thank you. Source: Presented at Racism in the Media, a conference sponsored by the Toronto Community Reference Group on Ethno-Racial and Aboriginal Access to Metropolitan Services, October 1995.