A few weeks ago I got in a few hour discussion with Tucker and my girlfriend about sexual abuse. My question was: We know that with relative certainty sexual abuse fundamentally alters a child’s development and influence things like sexual orientation, propensity for drug abuse, a tendency to recreate trauma, promiscuity, and success. So what impact has that had throughout history?
What I meant was that we look at Britany Spears and quietly assume that her current escapades are a result of missing her childhood, perhaps early sexual abuse, selfish parents and her recent divorce. But then we look at someone like Caesar or Alexander the Great and hold them up as unitary actors who were simply motivated to great things. Are we deluding ourselves when we exclude those motivations and subconscious factors?
Tucker made it very clear (and rightfully so) that the things that can utterly ruin a child today would have had little impact 600 years ago. And that much of which we currently abhor and think damages a child has less to do with the act itself and more to do with the emotions it represents. For instance, it’s not the physical blows that plague the person for the rest of their life, but the fact that they had an unloving parent that would do such a thing–not to mention that such feelings taint all other interaction between child and parent. So pederasty because it was more about mutual love than submission or projected self-loathing wouldn’t have had the same effect on Alexander as it did to Michael Jackson.
Freaknomics pointed out some disturbing stats today:
1) 25 percent of victims are 10-14 years old; 23 percent are nine or younger.
2) 22.5 percent of the offenders are family members. Only 8 percent are strangers.
3) 25 percent of sex offenses reported to the police lead to an arrest.
So my question to you is: What impact do you think sexual abuse and childhood trauma has had throughout history? Have some of our greatest successes and most catastrophic failures been guided by these changes in early development? And lastly, what impact do you think the above statistics will continue to have on the next generation of people?
“Magazine ad pages have been down slightly this year, and newspaper revenues have been tanking. But the problem might not be the medium, the readership or even that pesky shift of reader attention and marketer dollars to digital. It might just be the poor quality of print ads…”
This is an interesting article, even if you don’t care at all about advertising. It is becoming increasingly clear to me (and too slowly to the people who matter) that this is all about quality. Not delivery, not distribution, or speed or connectivity, but quality. Those are important but they aren’t the ultimate motivation.
What I am seeing over and over again is that it is not the medium but the message that has failed. This a common theme for everyone, old and new. Remember the number one complaint about online video is quality. OnDemand Cable and TV offer essentially the same benefits as the internet–24/7 access–but the problem is that there simply isn’t that much great stuff to access. The internet hasn’t solved that problem, only offered a little bit of hope.
Ultimately, what we see if that the ONE thing Hollywood has always offered monopolistically is broken: Their ability to cultivate and recruit talent. That political bloggers are even being compared to newspaper reporters is enough of a victory–after all, they did it without the prestigious editors and filters and credentials. That new niches are being discovered and markets served contradicts the notions that Hollywood and Madison Avenue have their finger on the pulse. The message to artists was always this: You can’t do it without our help. And the small semblances of success these people have had online has blown that perception away. Where many people go wrong is in thinking that no help is needed at all. Idealism like that is unfounded, they just don’t need help from the current ruling elite. Why else would 62% of Americans say TV is getting worse? But that doesn’t mean that Robert Scoble gets to take over either, he is just as clueless. Who does? I don’t know.