Having been a loyal reader of your site for some time now, I have long put off doing what I know I must do. Confess my own trauma. While I was scarred for life by the usual suspects, THE WIZARD OF OZ, ads for FRIDAY THE 13TH, HALLOWEEN on network TV and every movie shown by our former local late night scare host, Sammy Terry; however, none of these hold a candle to the real innocence killer. I speak, of course, of National Geographic.
I always knew that if I ever wrote to you, that it would be about this magazine, but never had the impetus to do so until my 10 year old son came home from school the other day talking obsessively about an issue of this snuff rag that he had looked at in his school library. He was particularly bothered by a picture of someone holding up a bloody machete. Suddenly a rush of flickering images filled my head. Every picture that had ever troubled my youthful slumber flashed in front of my eyes.
When it comes to traumatic imagery National Geographic has it all. Dead bodies, war torn villages, unflinching nudity and stories that can send a young mind reeling. I remember being 10 and the school talking to us about “our changing bodies” then seeing naked tribes folk in NatGeo and thinking, “Is that what mine will look like?” Only to turn the page and see the same people butchering a goat. Excuse me, I need to call my therapist….
Better now. The part of all of this that amazes me is that I still read it. I have a subscription. I still encourage my son to read it as well. It continually woos me with its come hither covers of green-eyed Afghani lasses and stories of hope in the middle-east. And I keep answering its Siren’s call.
Needless to say, while my son was recounting what he had seen and trying to play it off as nothing he couldn’t handle, I saw right through him. In a strange way, it was a nice bonding moment. Father and son, repressing memories together. Now that’s family values.
Kindertrauma, you are healing the nation one confession at a time! Keep it up!
Dylan Donnie-Duke Dalai Lama