The Child Threw A Ball:
A Cultural Rorschach
L. Rowles, Ph.D.
November 5, 2001
In the midst of
a progressive cultural detritus, something awful happened on
September 11th which brought ambiguity, androgeny, and relativism
into proper focus. Let me propose a simple psychological test to
demonstrate my hypothesis.
Form a picture in your mind which
represents the sentence, "The child threw a ball." Got it? OK, while
you visualize your personal image, let's consider what might occur
to others. A feminist may see a tomboyish girl throwing a basketbal
at a hoop, with WNBA aspirations. A radical feminist might see a boy
throwing a ball at a female playmate in an attempt to injure and
intimidate her. A boomer mother might picture her son or daughter
tossing the soccer ball onto the field. An inner-city male might
imagine a young Michael Jordan lobbing a spectacular swoosh. A New
York city boy might conjure a game of sandlot baseball, and his own
pitch. A local policeman might envision a youthful vandal breaking a
window. A homosexual pederast may fantasize a youthful coming-out
What is the likelihood that your mental picture will
be exactly the same as any other person's? Pretty remote, especially
if you add all of the potential variables like types and colors of
clothing, location, type of ball, etc. But if you were to ask any of
those people to share their image with you, you would likely learn
something about their perception of the world. That insight would be
enhanced if you encouraged them to build a story around their image.
And should you begin to challenge their imagery, suggesting that it
betrayed their prejudices and perversions, you could end up in a
fist fight or some serious hair pulling.
Prior to September
11th, the cultural landscape of America had become littered with
varied relativistic ambiguities and fractionated gender models which
assumed a perceptual prominence vastly disproportional to their
merit. Multiculturalism, diversity, Hermaphroditus, and other
victim-demimondes each planted their respective flags on the grassy
knolls of America's institutions, rendering them virtually
unrecognizable as to their historic function.
something even more terrible happened. A few deranged zealots
commandeered large aircraft and profaned the function for which
those vehicles were designed; converting them from airborn
transports to earth-bound missiles. "The person flew the plane"
became a stimulus for Gorgonian imagery and heartsick empathy.
~ *** ~
In contrast to most other nations, the identity of
an American citizen is defined by shared political values and
principles rather than by ethnicity, race, religion, class,
language, gender, or national origin. These shared values and
principles have helped to promote cohesion in the daily life of
Americans and in times of crisis have enabled them to find common
ground with those who differ from them (103).In the hours and
days that have followed, America has found its common ground.
And it is not littered by hyphens, pink triangles, circles with
strap-on arrows or pluses, feminized doves on blue fields, or
stylized unisex stick figures.
CA: Center for Civic Education. 1994.
A few of the relativists and
do-your-own-thingers have attempted to bring their littered thinking
to the patriotic rally. "I don't think the schools should have any
role in teaching patriotism, because everyone defines it
differently" pouts the muddle-headed soccer-mom. She seems to
believe that patriotism is equivalent to a fashion statement. But
the true, if sometimes silent, majority of Americans are thankfully
lacking in such fashion consciousness.
unfashionable "Old Glory" and "In God We Trust" have brought
majestic unity to the the gruesome wreckage of the killing grounds,
vacating the sordid battlefronts of disunity.
The voices of
disparity and splenetic entitlement have been consigned to the
clod-pated station that is their due. And those who represent them
have been appropriately sanctioned with ridicule and disapprobation.
Extravagantly UN-PC judgments have been refreshingly rendered ...
for this brief, shining moment.
Though as sure as there will
be a sunrise, the disunifiers and the redefiners will return from
remission to metasticize their cancer in the body politic. Someone
will determine: that one-in-four heroic firefighters are actually
deadbeats; that any number of decorated combat heroes are
actually sexual harassers; that the war against terror waged in
defense of this great nation is actually a hegemonic enterprise to
subjugate lesser nations for their oil and figs; that the flag is
actually a symbol of oppression; - ad literatim nauseum.
maybe not. The child threw a ball, and perceptions change - and at
least once, for the better.
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