Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Picture this.

Picture this. Teenage girl dressed in no-longer-fashionable (according to Sunday’s Cathy comic) low-rise jeans on her way to the bus stop with a low hanging pale pink O’Neill backpack. Graffiti in black marker litters the stereotypical feminine rose canvas. The phrase “F--- the World” appearing at least twice, a few Anarchy A’s, and the swastika. At first I was incensed – how could this teenage girl not care about the people around her who undoubtedly have been affected by the Holocaust in some way. Then I wanted to go to City Hall and yell at whoever was in charge, for not educating Israeli youth about the last impetus for founding this State. Then I thought maybe I was merely angered at the injustice of having lived through the gory details described to me in Hebrew school at the age of 10. Maybe a small part of me wanted to regain that sense of innocence (or lest I say ignorance) of a time when my mind wasn’t filled with the horrific scientific experiments performed on pregnant women during the war. But then I took a closer look.

Upon further examination, I saw that there was an attempt at correcting one of the symbols that must have been facing the wrong way. While I only dabble in Robert Langdon’s field, I found that the clockwise and the counterclockwise versions have been interchangeable around the globe and throughout time - until 1920. The ones displayed in bold thick lines, were like those associated with Nazism, at least in the last 85 years. Symbols are strange like that.

My mom went to a PTA meeting when I was in high school on the topic, “Cults and Your Teenager.” At least I think that was the title. What I do know is that my mother returned home with a hefty 30+ page document of symbols that a parent may find in the doodled margins of their teen’s class notes (if they took any at all); each one interpreted to have satanic meanings. I could wax environmental and lament on how many trees were destroyed for the sake of distributing this one-sided drivel but I won’t. So I perused this ‘manual’ and found all types of symbols including the Star of David and the sign most commonly associated with PEACE. It stated that within the circle was a person with broken arms and thus a sign indicating devil worship. Whatever spawned this hysteria must have been pretty bad.
Back to the bag - there’s a bit more.

On the bulging pocket was a small pin of the flag of Israel. Next to it was an Israeli police silver badge. And so as not to confuse, a small pristine white toy duck served as a zipper extension of her schoolbag. So I concluded (?), by the way that is a question mark, that either someone vandalized her bag or she was just plain confused. Then I felt a bit of pity, and then I felt the irony of it all. What was written may be a cry for attention. Or maybe just maybe it was nothing at all.

1 comment:

MikeTheMan said...

Thank you for taking me on a well written experience. I was there mysef, thanks to you.
I think that at some point we, the slowly aging youth, look at the the younger generation today and tend to ask certain questions, like: "How can you do that without knowing why you're doing it? When WE rebelled/expressed/shouted out, it meant something, not just because ot was cool. We knew the why's and wherefore's, do you?"
I wonder if this phenomena has occured before, or if we are a new hiccup of time.