Laid Bare

By | September 18, 2008

AlexSuzeIt must be a slow news day, hang on, no it isn’t the world’s financial system is crumbling and even the previously vapid and lightweight celeb chasing journos are getting worried about real issues and not writing any copy because of it.

I’ll let you into a secret. When I can’t think of anything to write about I often read the showbiz columns for inspiration. Not because they are a source of great ideas but because they usually piss me off enough to get stuck in and do some decent writing.

Also, earlier today I was looking up some old public information films regarding attitudes to wards sexuality of that great and reliable resource YouTube. LOL I came across a video that I found rather objectionable and decided against mentioning it. But I’ve changed my mind.

OK, to bring these two disparate threads together.

Society is reflected in art and if art and the creative media of movie and television are to do their job properly they should allow us to examine ourselves honestly and critically. The gossip columns highlighted a recent story about the UK soap “East Enders” where a 15 year old girl was depicted in a passionate embrace with her paedophile step-father. A total of 165 complaints were received by the BBC and Ofcom about the scenes.

165 people who thought that it was wrong to show the sort of situation that too many unfortunate young people can find themselves in if a predatory adult invaegles themselves into their family and life. Just look at the sad and sorry saga of the Matthews family, a real life case of deviant behaviour within a complicated family. This is just the first conviction, they haven’t got to the child abduction stuff yet.

The East Enders storyline was apparently constructed with help from children’s charities and was obviously transmitted before the UK’s 21:00 watershed allowing vulnerable children to watch it and perhaps be informed by it. It made me reconsider mentioning this horribly bigoted early 60’s “public information” film that you can watch here.

Despite being biased and displaying an intolerance that is deeply disturbing the film does offer kids some sensible advice about not being enticed by the apparent kindness of strangers and regarding unsolicited advances from adults with healthy caution. Take away the heinous assertion that homosexuality is a mental illness and the fact that the film ignores the potential for heterosexual paedophiles, and it illustrates that the Iowa state police and education system were less afraid of educating their youth against such dangers than some people in the UK are today.

Weird huh? Nearly 50 years ago society was laid bare for the scrutiny and discussion, but still some people think we should live in denial of the dangers our children face.

Of course you can’t expose children to explicit sexual imagery, even if its intention is to protect them from becoming victims, but to prevent popular drama from depicting real and serious problems in society shows that some of us are in denial. Most kinds related to soaps in a way that, lamentably, they relate to nothing else. At least communicating to them through East Enders might save some suffering by provoking conversation within their family.