10 January 2013

"Appropriate" Advertising?

The Offspring's teacher asked each kid to bring in an advertisement.  The only guideline: nothing inappropriate.

And so The Offspring began paging through a copy of Metro New York, and finding a non-inappropriate ad turned out to be a bit difficult.

Full-page Macy's ad?  Nope: woman in bra.  Plastic surgery? No: worse, with the before and after pictures.  Weight-loss program?  Footcare?  Yet worse: women in scanty clothing in, ummm... fetching positions.  The new NYC casino? Oh boy. Varicose vein surgery? Woman wearing dress with very high slit up the side.  Other varicose vein surgery?  Hideous leg and foot with gaping wound: he decided to pass on that one.

It's certainly not as though I've never noticed these advertisements before, but seeing them through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy is a whole new thing.

It opened up a window for a comment about the inappropriateness of a great deal of the advertising he's been seeing since he was a tiny thing, and that comment will be the start of a conversation that goes on for the next several years.

Meanwhile, we've been stopping every day -- his choice -- for a few moments of silence at an impromptu shrine to the sixteen-year-old boy shot a block from The Offspring's school, apparently over a jacket.  He's trying to wrap his head around how such a thing could have happened.

Peter Yarrow gave voice to the heartache of a parent watching a child grow into a torn world back in 1969.  Much has indeed changed since then, but there is still so much to do.
Do you ask why I'm sighing, my son?
You shall inherit what mankind has done.

Yet Yarrow found hope:
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
When fathers take the hands of their children, and see through their eyes as they make decisions that can affect generations to come, then perhaps all will be well when the day is done.