Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hugs, drugs or thugs - no one is free

I have to admit that I’ve never been fond of the hugging culture that’s grown up in America over the last few decades. Having to endure insipid slogans like “Hugs are better than drugs” is bad enough, but watching grown men approach me with hugging on their minds puts me in a defensive mode. Having grown up with role models like Hemingway and Bogart and many decades before Sesame Street put the last fatal arrow into the culture of adulthood, I find the experience of being targeted for a grope by anyone who isn’t an attractive female less than pleasant to contemplate.

The idea that people all need to go around hugging each other and that this will make for a better society, is the kind of patronizing Romper Room mentality that seems to find much support among grade school teachers and people from California which is more than enough for me to oppose it, but there are other reasons.

Some people can’t tell the difference between a hugging and a mugging and a little bit of physical contact can buy one a world of trouble, even if one is four years old. Consider the plight of young Master Blackwell, suspended from school and with a comment about sexual contact or sexual harassment in his “permanent” file to make sure that an incident he won’t remember will none the less haunt him for years to come. He hugged his teacher as society taught him to do and according to her, his face touched somewhere she didn’t think was appropriate. Welcome to America.

This seems now to be a country where an accusation is enough. Whether you’re four or forty; whether you’re sent to Guantanamo or the Principal's office, your life depends on someone’s whim. So if you want your children to prosper in America, perhaps you’ll do well to lighten up on the hug thing, teach them that everyone should be avoided as a potential enemy and if you have an Arabic or Farsi surname, change it to Jones.

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