Sunday, November 3, 2013

Civil Discourse

The Captain and I had an over-the-fence discussion about a recent playground scuffle that occurred at one of the Eaton Rapids Schools.

What was notable about the scuffle was that nobody saw it coming.

It used to be that there was an elaborate escalation leading up to actual fisticuffs. It was like watching tom turkeys strutting, drumming and hissing.  There was not a rigid script but there was an expectation that each aggressor would tag certain bases before the event became fully physical.

The new order

The new order of things seems to be to skip steps in the escalation.

The ridiculous extreme is where the school kid quietly walks up behind the other guy and "caps" him in the back of the head.  Standing over the corpse, the perp hollers, "That's because my aunt's, boyfriend's, sister's, hairdresser said she heard you dissin' me.......Oh, wait.  You ain't Marcus!  Where the hell is Marcus?"

The tragedy is that each level of escalation provided an off-ramp from the highway to hell.   <=====This is the Heinrich's Law tie-in

Much of modern culture seems to operate at the second and third levels of escalation.  In my day, trash talking and calling the other party mo-fo were well into the "you are on your way to getting your azz kicked."  That seems to be the level that qualifies as "civil" discourse on many playgrounds and ball courts.

The road to perdition is also shortened by the rush to gain tactical advantage.  Escalating faster than the other party throws them off-balance and gives you a tremendous advantage.  Skipping steps has become the default mode in many places.  It  is common knowledge that the first to file for divorce gains the same tactical it is not just a playground thing.


Today it seems that much of our children's education comes from movies and video games.  The playground culture(s) that evolved the escalation process...defined the bases...has been effectively snuffed out by "Zero Tolerance" for violence.

I was not an angel in school but I did not qualify as a hellion either.  I can remember 7 or 10 "altercations" in which I was one of the principles.  My sense is that Captain's experience in playground kerfluffles dwarfed mine.

Both the Captain and I think that something important was lost out there on the playground since we were kids.


I am still experiencing difficulties in embedding items in Blogger.  The links to the following video clips are included for you viewing and listening enjoyment.

HA Bully  



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