Today, for some unknown reason, I found myself thinking about the differences between how the English treat their children compared to how we, the American’s, treat ours, at least when it comes to death.
Surprisingly, I think Doctor Who started this thought process. Doctor Who, for those few who don’t know, is a science fiction children’s show from the across the pond. It started airing in the 1960’s. Well, a companion during the era of the fourth doctor named Adric died in his final episode. That’s right, a children’s show killed off one of the main characters.
While someone can argue that they killed him off in the early 80’s, I can also mention a more recent children’s story. Harry Potter. Harry Potter was a children’s story of sorts, and look at all the death and destruction that happened in those books. Harry’s parents. Dumbledore. Snape (my personal favorite character). Ron’s brother. The list goes on and one for the amount of characters killed off. George R. R. Martin may kill off a character a chapter, but he wasn’t writing for children. And people here were calling the Potter books too violent, and not just the religious fanatics.
What did we have here in the states? G.I. Joe who had the accuracy of storm troopers from star wars (and yet they always won). The smurfs (communists!) who built their only female character. Tom and Jerry…I hated that mouse.
My point is that we teach our children to fear death, while the British don’t seem to have that issue. They seem more accepting of the natural process. None of the Joes could kill their enemy, but if it was a British show, I bet you they would have.
I don’t know what this says about our cultures, but it sure says something.