The Zionist Conspiracy
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Will My Son Read The Sports Section?
I've been reading the sports pages of the New York Times since I was around six years old. In those days, the Times only had a few pages devoted to sports. To my best recollection, the articles in the sports pages related to, well, sports. Today, the Times has a separate sports section.
In my advancing age - in ninety minutes I will be 33 years old - I am beginning to contemplate whether secular society is so antithetical to the religious values observant Jews are supposed to hold that the two simply cannot at all be reconciled.
In today's Times sports section, appearing on the same page as an article about the Jets search for a new head coach, is a feature about pornographic video games.
Though the feature was more favorable toward sexually explicit video games than I'd like, I'm not going to criticize the Times for publishing the piece. The games themselves are, in my view, disgusting, but I'm not interested in attacking their existence or the coverage of them - though the fact that many children will inevitably end up watching them is quite disturbing.
I don't know why the piece appeared in the sports section, since I don't see video games - whether or not pornographic - as the same thing as coverage of sports teams. But I accept that it's there whether or not I would like it to be.
I'm not trying to change the dominant secular culture we live in. Of course, tikkun olam is important, but beyond expressing our beliefs and making our values heard and known, religious Jews are too small a minority here to have any significant impact. But when my son who is now 13 months old learns to read, will I encourage him to read the sports pages like I did? Could I even allow to do so, at the risk of his becoming exposed to things that we who grew up in the 80's never encountered until we were in our teen years, and even then certainly not via the sports pages?
It's easy to talk in the abstract about the necessity of being an eager and active part of the wider society, not living in a "cave." I believe that's indeed the ideal. But what happens when mainstream parts of that society degenerate to the point of having diametrically opposite sentiments than even moderate and open-minded religious people can hold?