Outrage and protest

Putting Jenny McCarthy on “The View” will kill children – Salon.com.

A sensational headline, right? Might have been better and (simply) accurate to say, “may put people at greater risk of harming their children.”

I woke this morning to a tweet wondering why there isn’t as much outrage about ABC’s continued humoring of George Will and his denial of climate science.

For the record, I am outraged equally.


I’ve been invited to a peaceful rally/march to celebrate the life of Trayvon Martin. Last year, when I first learned of his death, I was one of those who posted a picture of myself wearing a black hoodie, saying “I Am Trayvon.”

Now I think of all the ways in which I am not Trayvon; the ways in which my circumstances will always put me at a greater advantage than any young African American male walking on any street in the United States of America.

And I think of all the ways in which I am not George Zimmerman; the ways in which my circumstances give me a greater moral and ethical advantage than him, who walked the same street as Trayvon Martin, but with a concealed weapon and a hardly concealed predisposition toward fear and anger.

It is outrageous.


I can boycott “The View” or ABC, or attend a rally, or boycott the entire State of Florida. I can protest.

But ultimately, weak, ill-informed or willfully ignorant people, when empowered with an audience or a weapon, are likely to hurt others, no matter what I do as an individual.

It’s a painful realization. More painful than any level of outrage on any issue.

Sadness is always worse than anger. There’s no power in it. Unless, maybe, you have power to begin with.

Those moments add up

Guess what? Toddlers, who recognize at a fairly early age McDonald’s golden arches and similar ilk, can actually end up with different behavior if they watch different shows — prosocial versus antisocial, for example — on television.

They did this study to confirm this. I read it with interest, since our kids, at 5 and 8, are the geeks in their school who still watch “The Octonauts” and “Jake and the Neverland Pirates,” and who have yet to see any movie with a rating beyond “G.” Our daughter was grilled the other day by a third grader about various “bigger kid” or “grown up” shows, boy bands, movies: she knew nothing. And was utterly nonchalant about it, thankfully.

But something else in this little study about television and young children hit me. Hit me hard.

Consider this passage from the New York Times article on the study:

Until she began participating in Dr. Christakis’s trial, Nancy Jensen, a writer in Seattle, had never heard of shows like Nickelodeon’s “Wonder Pets!,” featuring cooperative team players, and NBC’s “My Friend Rabbit,” with its themes of loyalty and friendship.

At the time, her daughter Elizabeth, then 3, liked “King of the Hill,” a cartoon comedy geared toward adults that features beer and gossip. In hindsight, she said, the show was “hilariously funny, but completely inappropriate for a 3-year-old.”

Now, I try hard to understand why people do what they do. Why would a mother let her three-year-old watch “King of the Hill?” Maybe the mother liked the show, and the three-year-old was awake, and the mother wanted to spend time with her three-year-old, laughing. I for one adore the sound of a three-year-old laughing.

“At the time.” That laughter was beautiful.

In “hindsight.” The two probably could have laughed together at something else.

Sometimes I fear we all risk spending so much time living in our moments, enjoying our present, that we forget moments don’t last, and that moments, once past, can add up to an experience that is less than fantastic.


This “Debbie Downer Moment” has been brought to you by the letter W. For Worried.

I’m worried about a lot these days. It’ll pass… It’s just a moment I’m in.