The Irony of Innocence

Gary Cross

in The Cute and the Cool

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156669
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199868254 | DOI:
The Irony of Innocence

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We love children for all the things we are no longer and often wish we were. We delight in the fact that children are not cynical or repressed. And we identify with this lost paradise of wonder because we have been so long banished from it. Theirs is the Garden of Wondrous Innocence, the World of the Cute. However, even when we affirm childhood innocence, we find ourselves confused about when it ends and who has it. Parents felt the need to exercise a firm if gentle control over the culture and experience of their children. However, the idea of wondrous innocence and the cute pulled children into the heart of a new consumer market with few ties to the worlds of parents. This unleashed a hedonistic spirit that often contradicted the developmental goals of the educator. This chapter looks at the image of the innocent child and the contradictions in how adults, including parents and schools, see and nurture them.

Keywords: children; wondrous innocence; cute; childhood innocence; consumer market; violence; media; parents; schools

Chapter.  6757 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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