How good is Evil?

It’s another one. Another marketer’s dream. Another opportunity to lead the population by the nose into spending money in order to “celebrate”.

It’s Halloween!

But when and how did Halloween evolve into today’s Celebration of Evil? How did it make its way down to us from its origins as a feast commemorating “Saints”, defined “good” people? We seem to have ditched that positive aspect altogether and instead brewed up a confused concoction of Guy Fawkes November 5th activities and the November 2nd All Souls Day liturgies for the remembrance of the dead.

And shut up lest we “Spoil The Fun”.

We have managed to conjure up today’s Feast of Extreme Evils.

Why is it seen that it is o.k. for marketers to do this? And exactly how does promoting images of evil benefit society?

As a teacher I try to ensure that the messages I deliver are consistent. As a trainer of animals I know that it is essential not to cause confusion. Would parents be happy if their children’s school text books were filled with graphic pictures of brutality and death? No, because that might have a negative influence on how young people think. Yet we accept the exposure of children (and adults too) to all sorts of examples of evil during these weeks.

Why then does “Halloween” get a free pass with all its accompanying revelling in horror?

It’s because the marketers have decided that it must. And anyone who sees a problem with their money making strategies just doesn’t get the fun of it all. We all have to get with the programme. Decorate the houses. Explode the fireworks. Terrify the dogs. Torture the cats. Frighten the kids. Relish the evil.

And shut up lest we “Spoil The Fun”.

In Dundalk, Ireland, last week four schoolboys made the front pages of the papers. They had kicked a six week old puppy to death. Nice.

Yesterday, in Aberdeen, Scotland, a sixteen year old schoolboy was stabbed to death by another schoolboy during school hours. Shocking.

And in America, (where, incidentally, Halloween is enthusiastically celebrated) we are told that school shootings are not just the stuff of nightmares. They are, sadly, regular reality.

Most of the top sports competitors nowadays employ the services of a sports psychologist. Why? Because they are aware of the power of the mind and the images it can create and where those images can lead to. “What we focus on is what we get” and so forth. We have to be careful apparently about what we put into our heads.

It seems that the marketers can excuse anything now as long as it creeps around under the guise of “Halloween” promising to be “scary”.

And much of what is on offer is well beyond scary. Some of it replicates pure evil in every form. Why do we think this is acceptable? Is it actually good for us to see, as entertainment, the replication of rape and torture and beheadings and strangling and water boarding and even school shooting massacres?

All marketed for profit.

Why is this good?  And what is the total price that we may be  paying?

If blood and gore and suggested brutality are not acceptable everyday fare then why is it o.k. for these weeks?

Mixed messages for sure.

Clever Marketing abusing Children

Clever marketing also convinces parents (already hard pressed for cash and soon facing into the next, “Christmas”,  marketing drive) that they must splash out on shop bought, not home made, “costumes” for the big scare fest. No parent wants their children to be “left out” and very few parents seem to be able to think for themselves around it. Everyone does what the marketers tell them to do.

A recent post by one of my Facebook friends shows her son dressed in a costume that made him look as if he was holding his own head under his arm. Clever? – yes. Bought? – certainly. Appropriate? – not so sure. Isis anyone?

Last night, as I scrolled down the Facebook “news feed”, up popped, without warning, a close up photo of a “friend” showing him with a knife through his head and with a gory hole where his left eye should be. Realistic? – too much so.

Still “friends”? Nope.

No matter how wonderful he is with his creativity, I don’t need to look at such a replica of evil. Why on earth would I want to admire an image of brutality? Or why would he expect that anyone would?

The cashier in the bank today told me that her next door neighbour has a life size, realistic looking skeleton permanently placed at his upstairs window for the past week. Her kids are terrified of it every time they pull into their own front drive.

“Don’t like that” they whisper to her.

Sometimes children really do have much more wisdom than adults.

Maybe we should think a little more about how our relishing of horror might be affecting us.

There are plenty of horror stories on the news channels every night. I doubt if most of those who have starring roles in them it would think they are very suitable as entertainment.

About consistentclarity

I have been involved in education all my working life. I am trained as a teacher and have taught both children and adults. I am fascinated by how people and animals learn and all that they have in common. Music and literature have been central in my life.
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