I ran across this comment by Hanna Rosin at Slate about a YouTube video that’s making the rounds on the internet. It is of a kid recovering from dental surgery and still not completely in touch with reality (as any of us who have ever had dental surgery can identify with!):
It’s taken me a while, and a schooling from a couple of Slate men, to figure out what’s wrong with David’s dad. As anyone online this afternoon knows, his dad posted a video of him freaking out after getting anesthesia at the dentist . . . Probably, in that car, what Dad and David were doing made some kind of sense. But from the outside, here’s what it looks like: David is sitting in the back of the car, suffering.
While Susanna Breslin, also at Slate, disagrees with Rosin, her main argument in support of the video seems to be that “kids say the darnedest things” is a justification for making children’s experience of the world the fodder for adult amusement. The missing element here is knowledgeable participation (informed consent, if you will) of the kids in question: they are being laughed at for experiences and reactions they are often taking utterly seriously. As a former child myself, I can remember vividly the feeling of humiliation that accompanies hearing the laughter of grown-ups over something you’ve done that, to you, is not the least bit funny. I’m not saying that being charmed by the logic of children is never acceptable, but I do think we owe it to them to not turn their lives into public spectacle.