Culture is a nebulous characteristic of society. It defies logic or rational thought. It is often assumed to be “common sense” or just the way things are. Consequently, it ceases to be the sense of the common if one has to think about it.
With my artistic contribution, “Stick ‘em Up!” looks back to a time and culture where children playing with toy guns was not an uncommon experience. I look back with fond memories of playing cowboys and Indians, dressing up like an Army guy and throwing pretend grenades at imaginary enemies, and shooting at my friends with makeshift sticks fashioned as ray guns and arguing who shot whom first. It seemed to be good-natured fun which allowed our bodies and our minds to be active and burn off youthful energy.
Fast-forwarding to the present, it seems there is a common effort to do away with the perceived violent play that restless children seem to gravitate. Games such as freeze tag or football are too dangerous. Forget about pretending to shoot anyone with a laser gun. That might get you arrested! In the shadow of school shootings and gang violence it is easy to understand why adults and parents are so uneasy about the possibility of violence escalating in our schools, neighborhoods, and community. It seems that the pendulum has swung from letting kids be kids to the other side of spectrum of helicopter parent.
Is there any room for a happy medium? Why can’t children just have fun? How do we define violence? Are guns bad? Has our society become too politically correct in trying to stop violent behavior? Are we seeking the right solutions in the name of common sense? Is our culture too soft regarding issues of violence? Is our culture too harsh regarding issues of violence? What can I do to promote peaceful relations in my community? These are some of the questions that I want people to think about when viewing my artistic piece.