Q) What is the problem with kids these days?
A) Uh, you know, the problem isn’t really with kids, it lies with the grownups. I mean, if you give boys toy guns and soldiers and you give girls dolls and frocks and tell them that that’s what girls and boys play with then you know you’re going to end up with a bunch of male misogynists and angry women 20 years down the line. Everyone eventually buys into the world they’ve been brought up into, even if they don’t necessarily like it. Just look at the mess we have now: entire generations were brought up being on silly biased conceptions about black people and women. Now its brown people and gays and lesbians. But it all starts in the cradle. Right now we’re raising an entire generation to uh, hate cyborgs and stem cell babies.
Q) So how do we address this issue?
Well, honestly there can’t be anything done because the entire social order is already completely entrenched in their ideological ditches. The only way people actually change is through technological reinvention, and by technology I don’t mean computers and smartphones. Writing’s a technology. You work from the ground up. Just look at how the internet has reconfigured public opinion over the years and empowered people to speak up – all the subaltern voices now have a forum to debate openly, even if most of it is ill informed hogwash. But yeah, you do it by creating new ways to people to behave and act differently, and part of the prerequisite to that is to begin people to start imagining things differently. That’s where I come in. With kids, I mean, just look at the everyday stuff that they interact with that’s such a core part of their development. Like toys. Most adults forget how important their toys where when they were young. So I say, maybe that’s a way to get adults to start thinking about their biases differently – hit their kids with toys that make them grow up differently.
Q) What industry might help us think differently?
Hmm…depends what issue you talk about. Conventional tech startups are notoriously dull and unimaginative…it’s basically a bunch of dull stupid adults trying to do needs evaluations on bored kids who’d much rather be playing on their xboxes than answering interview questions. Know where I’d look for inspiration if I was thinking about the relation of say, the interpellation of gender norms in kids? Chat forums. Youtube. Or maybe the porn industry.
Q) Ooh, sounds like you have a disruptive thought there, Ahmed.
Shit no. But like I said, you change the adults by changing the kids. Maybe all you need to do is ‘surprise’ the adults by showing them what their precocious young preteens might turn into. Adults are always super sensitive about their kid’s future – it’s fascinating to see how this is actually one of the few places where the fundamental human fear of the future actually breaks – you channel your anxiety of change by ensuring it doesn’t happen in your kids.
Q) Well Ahmed, looking forward to your next idea. Don’t do anything too crazy.
Yeah, I’ll try and keep that in mind. Peace out.