Sunday, November 11, 2007

Chutes and Abuse

One of my big pet peeves is when people (usually old folks) talk about how great life was in the 50's and how society is going to hell these days. It annoys me because I feel people easily forget the negatives and only remember the positives of times long ago. Everything becomes romanticized.

Well, to make this point, I have an odd way to show how the times have changed for the better since the "golden days of yesteryear". I was playing Chutes and Ladders this weekend with my kids when I noticed something striking. We were playing a "collector's series" edition that someone had given to them that represents the gameboard the way it was "back in the day". I imagine someone thought, "Oh, boardgames back then were soooo wonderful" when they decided to reprint the original board. Well, not so quite.

Just to refresh everyone about how the game works, the board has a hundred squares that you move across after spinning a dial. The object is to reach the final square before anyone else. However, the "fun" really kicks in when you climb the ladders to get ahead or slide down the chutes to fall behind.

If you land on a square depicting a child doing a good deed, you climb the ladder to the square with an image of a child enjoying a reward. Conversely, if you land on a square with a picture of a child engaging in misbehavior, you slide down the chute to the box showing the child suffering the consequences. Kind of creepy but it is what it is.

For example, if you land on the square above showing a girl bandaging a friend's leg, you climb the ladder to the spot below where you see the girl receiving a gift from her klutzy friend.

Conversely, if you eat too many apples before they are ripe... are punished with a stomach ache at the bottom of the chute.

Now, here's where things get kind of weird and uncomfortable; particularly when you have to explain the punishment to your kids.

At the top of one of the chutes (pictured above), you can see the boy fishing where he isn't supposed to be fishing. And what is the consequence for such a transgression???

That's right. You get kicked by an adult. What the hell?

In this one, a boy is yanking on a girl's braids. What's the result of his action?

You called it...some sort of smack from a parent. Was that sort of reaction to childhood misbehavior so accepted in those earlier days that they were laid out on popular board games?

I was so surprised to see these acts of abuse on a kid's boardgame that I googled an image of a current version of the game. Sure enough, while many of the milder behavior/consequences images in the new board (above) are the same from the "collector's series" edition, the images of kids being hit have been removed. It makes me glad I wasn't raised in the 50's.


Anonymous said...

Being raised in the 50s wasn't so bad. For one thing it meant I got to see David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars tour live.

Flatlander said...

Ha! Excellent point and well-played.

Anonymous said...

I don't think people have changed much at all. Not all people in the fifties were like that, some people actually cared about their children. People today are not really better than people were in the fifties. Those fifties attitudes are still here, and aren't going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Back then we had respect for others because we knew that wrong behaviour had consequences. Do you really think things are better now? How many school shootings did we have in the 50s or 60s, or assaults on teachers by studens?