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The Syphilis Movie

The movie "Bully" is in town and adults who work with children or are parents are urged to attend..  They are asked to come alone.
I wondered why.  Parents and children watching together might accomplish more.  Perhaps those promoting the movie have some moral scruples?  Perhaps the movie was rated "R" by the motion picture censors?  Its funny how things like this trigger old memories, things i never remember remembering before.

When i was a kid, maybe 13 (1946 or 47) the syphilis movie came to town.  That was not its title.  It might have been a WWII public information film or a 1930s - 40s sexploitation film--maybe even Dwain Esper's "Sex Madness".  It was shown at the local theater for two nights: one night dads were supposed to come with their sons, next night was for mothers and daughters.  I have no idea why, but my father decided that he and i should go.

Dwain Esper, the Father of the Exploitation Flick - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com    

My father and i just did not do things together.  We went hunting together once and that was quite enough togetherness for both of us.  But he wanted to be a good father and shield me from the dangers of VD (later to become STD)  All i can remember is huge images of genitalia in various stages of deterioration and a stern voice warning about blindness, infected children and early death and a whole list of other evils.  We sat in stony silence and later not a word about the movie was spoken.

Maybe the movie had a good effect.  I have never had a venereal disease.  However, i did shortly thereafter develop an obsession with genitalia and mutilation which continued for several years.  You never know what an undiagnosed autistic kid is going to  bring home from a movie.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2012 08:00 am (UTC)
My impression is that it's the kind of film you need to see on your own to absorb before taking a child to see it, especially if you're working with kids. I've been hearing that adults are finding that it brings up a lot of very difficult to cope with emotions around their childhood bullying (as bullies and as victims), and that it really challenges the way they do things as adults.

I confess, I was torn between laughing at the irony of your Dad wanting so hard to do the right thing that he took you to a public information film and then not being able to talk about it, and you totally missing the point because of that, and feeling deeply for you both. It was hard for public educators back then - even harder than now, and I think it's pretty tough at the moment.
Apr. 18th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
I hope you are right about "Bully" My reaction to what i have heard about it is, lots of shock value, very little substance (sort of like the syphilis movie). They say bullying is worse now, but i was bullied by both children and adults (including teachers). Of course bullies have better technology now. When i was a kid most of the potential pathological and lower class bullies had left school by grade 8. But that still left "normal" bullies, most of whom went on to sterling careers, and teachers. But then i was unusually sensitive to unfairness, a good victim.
Apr. 18th, 2012 03:59 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen it, and it's hard to go off others' reviews, isn't it?

It's funny - I don't think I've ever had a conversation about bullying with someone who says they weren't bullied, usually at school. It's as if every single person out there has been bullied, and I think that's probably true.

Have you ever seen the episode of 'Big Bang Theory' where Penny suddenly realises that SHE was someone's bully? I hate to think I might have been, but there's a chance that I caused others real distress without the first flicker of recognition, so bound up in being bullied was I. In my case, it was a core group of bullies and a general atmosphere of name-calling and anti-"brainbox" sentiment. Some teachers were my bullies, though most were really nice to me. My sister suffered bullying by a fair few of her teachers. Both my parents had bullies as teachers, back in the days of the cane, the strap, and the ruler.

Most kids are hypersensitive to unfairness, as far as I can tell. And most don't think that there's anything they can do about their situations - I think most kids reckon that their parents know what's going on at school/scouts/insert group here, and that they're OK with it. So they internalise and they lash out. And no-one gets out unscathed.

It'd be interesting to talk with someone who felt they'd never been bullied. I wonder what kind of difference it makes?
Apr. 18th, 2012 06:32 pm (UTC)
Duke Ellington, i think, once said something to the effect that he had never experienced bullying, at least not until he was old enough to know who he was.

If i know who i am psychological bullying (the worst kind) is water off a duck's back.

I don't watch The Big Bang Theory, but two days ago i accidentally rewatched the first half hour of Full Metal Jacket. Here the drill sergeant is the bully and he manages to turn his whole group of recruits into bullies by the simple device of punishing the whole group for the poor performance of one "sad sack" (Vincent D'Onofrio in an excellent portrayal of a bullied young man) This reminded me of the power that a group has to sustain or eliminate bullying. If one person starts the bullying process, it is what the second person does that is of the most vital importance. If he or she stands up for the victim, especially if that second person is a "leader," the bullying stops.

There is a scene in Full Metal Jacket where the friend and ally of the D'Onofrio character says nothing when the other members of the group (about a twenty men) start to beat him. Each man hits the victim once or twice until finally only the friend has not struck. The instigator nods toward him at which point he strikes the victim six times,
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:45 am (UTC)
Stanford Prison Experiment still stands. Mind you, Zimbardo's work on what what allows that kind of behaviour to flourish has also yielded interesting and practical info on how to not only combat it, but replace it with positive behaviours. As he said about Abu Ghraib, if you keep finding rotten apples in the same barrel, maybe there's a problem with the barrel, and you need to take it apart and replace it.
Apr. 19th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
Yes.(also thinking of Stanley Milgram.s obedience experiments,)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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