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Feb 13, 2012

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1.

I also should stress that clearly the family is the main factor determining whether a person has the strength, ability, and resources to put together a good life.

Compared to family effects, the effects of policy and culture and schools are quite minimal. It's been funny to observe over the course of a lifetime how policy analysts, media scholars, pediatricians, politicians, and cultural critics, all these smart people in the different areas I've had the privilege of meddling, spend so much of their time and energy debating what to do, all while ignoring or, more often, shunting aside the family. The attitude seems to be "Yes, yes, yes, we know the family matters. But we can't do anything about the family. We CAN do something about Head Start. Or No Child Left Behind. Or whether there's violence in the movies or in games. Or whether our schools promote neo-liberal ideology [shudder]. So let's focus on all that." Meanwhile the family crumbles.

Shunting aside the family is both unwise and tragic. It's unwise because the family mediates all these other policies. There's no point in offering a new policy or a cultural criticism if you're not including family effects (and associated personality structures) as part of your analysis. And it is tragic because what we do can actually affect how strong families are. Our policy and culture since World War II, in the west, has been to weaken the family. We now reap the results. Yet we blame World of Warcraft for drawing in people, even though those people have been raised in a cultural and interpersonal wasteland.

2.

I'm not completely familiar with the movie Second Skin, but you brought up so many interesting points in your post! What drew me to continue reading was when you addressed the phrase of "being addicted" to something. I'm a college student, and I hear that phrase on a daily basis, but never really thought about the literal meaning. Enjoying something is not equivalent to an addiction, and I think people forget that from time to time. Furthermore, I completely agree with your comparison of video games and "Dancing with the Stars." Many times, people downplay video games, and see it as a waste of time, when in fact these games promote critical and higher order thinking. These skills are not encouraged while watching mindless televesion. I guess people don't always see the bigger picture.

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