THANK YOU FOR COMING AND HAVE A NICE DAY.
HOURS WILL RESUME AT REGULARLY SCHEDULED TIME TOMORROW FOR THOSE NOT ASCENDED TO HEAVEN
I’m back. And I’m pissed.
If you live in New York, you’ve probably seen the signs on the subway for a food delivery service that promises to bring you anything, at any time. If you want sushi, they will fetch it for you, even if they have to go to the ocean to do so. In fact, the advertisement shows a cartoon man chasing down a cartoon fish; the fish, seemingly aware of his fate, has a thought bubble above his head that reads “Shit!” Or rather, it says “S*#t,” because I guess they figured the actual word might offend people — probably parents with children who otherwise might gliby shout “Shit!” all the way home, because the subway sign said so.
So my question to the people in charge of subway advertising is this: do you really think I’m more disturbed by the chance that my kid might say “shit,” or the fact that my kids have had the shit scared out of them by posters advertising the apocalypse? Do we really live in a city where it’s ok to terrify young kids, as long as they don’t express their terror using a PG-rated word?
It boggles my mind that, as a nation, our support for free speech completely outweighs our acceptance of freedom. We are more concerned about our kids being exposed to bare boobs and cigarettes than we are about assholes telling them that they’re going to die tomorrow. We grown-ups can make all the funnies about post-rapture looting and job openings that we want to, but I bet many children will be lying awake tonight, wondering if there will be school on Monday, or if they’ll perish in flames. (Do the schools close for hellfire, or just snow? What about alternate-side parking? UPDATE: We have an answeron that one!)
It makes me bananas that people in positions of power believe that gay people and single mothers are detrimental to the welfare of children, but evangelical lunatics with fat advertising budgets are permitted to spout terrifying jargon for everyone to see. Yes, I can and have explained to my children that this isn’t actually going to happen. I can also tell them not to smoke, but apparently the city doesn’t trust me to do that. Which is harder to explain, “Don’t smoke because it can cause cancer” (FACT), or “Don’t be afraid of the world ending, because it won’t; these people are crazy and wrong; just trust me” (COMPLEX CONCEPTUAL FACT I CAN’T ACTUALLY PROVE FOR 48 MORE HOURS)?
Another fact? Kids are afraid of death. They worry about losing a parent, losing a pet, and eventually, inexplicably, losing themselves. Usually, circumstances permitting, parents can mitigate these fears. But it’s a hell of a lot harder to do so when they have to spend half an hour on the F train staring at a sign about a world-ending earthquake. I’d rather sit across from a sign that said “FUCK!” in big block letters. But who’s gonna hang up a sign like that? IT’S OFFENSIVE!
Sex is not scary. Gay people are not scary. Bad words are not scary. An announcement that the earth will soon be consumed in flames? That’s scary. And my kids and I shouldn’t have to pay $2.50 apiece to look at it.