Kids today, they got it too soft. No wonder they’re all going to hell. Not only do we no longer beat them, send them down the mines, into reform schools or into the navy at 12, but also we no longer humiliate them.
What’s that all about? How can we muster sufficient cannon-fodder for future wars when all we’re left with is a bunch of spoiled nancies? No wonder Al-Qaida laughs at us.
There has been a long evolution to this softening of the moral fibre of the young. It began when they stopped strapping the snot out of them in school hallways, and I suspect this is the final straw.
You see, I just read yesterday that they’ve done away with the old-fashioned boy scout and cub scout uniforms past generations had to contend with and have replaced them with moderately modern garb that is not only representative (sort of) of life in the 21st century rather than something Kitchener’s lads wore at Khartoum in the late 1800s, but is also (get this) fairly comfortable and practical.
Comfort and practicality? I always thought that part of the sadistic motivation for Baden-Powell’s li’l group of paramilitaries was to deck them out in stuff that was not only horrible to wear, but was inconvenient and awkward to dress in, and then ultimately looked like shit, even in context of the 1950s.
I only mention the 1950s because that was the decade in which I was introduced to the awful world of ‘cubdom’. Judging by the looks of Annette at the time, I would have much preferred membership in the Mickey Mouse Club, but was granted no such option. Yes, the mouse ears were pretty ridiculous, but the bounty of Annette would have made the sacrifice worthwhile.
My father, a former boy scout leader, was a great believer in the virtuous of honesty, steadfastedness, the ability to light a fire in a raging windstorm and other sorts of nonsense, so he left me effectively no alternative but to join the ranks of the “Dib-dib-dib; dob-dob-dob” gang of motley urchins. Actually, to my astonishment, there were kids that actually liked being in the organization. Alas, I was not in their number.
I’ve already outlined how much I detested my cub days in an earlier blog, but I am here to say that arguably the thing I hated the most, aside from the Akela guy, old Mr. Knobby-knees with the wonderfully risible name, Rundle Woolcock, was the uniform.
And we were ordered to take our uniforms very, very seriously. Here’s what we had to put on, you runny-nosed lazy little modern cubscouts and scouts: A horribly scratchy sweaterish top, an immaculately pressed neckerchief that had to be folded only in the prescribed manner and secured by a thing called a ‘woggle’, mortifying woolen short pants, and knee-socks of the same abrasive material as the top, secured with little elastic garters with tags on them. Then you were set.
Now all they have to put on is a bloody T-shirt. How is that different from conventional schoolyard wear? Where is the humiliation in that? Modern adherents do not seem to get that humiliation is part of the mix. Makes a man of you, damn it! At least I believe that to have been what motivated weird old Baden-Powell whom, as an aside, was rather an admirer of the Hitler Jugend in the 1930s according to vicious but amusing rumor.
As I have said before, the cubs and I parted company in relatively early order. Maybe I just wasn’t man enough, but I was at least able to dress comfortably and to grow up to be an adult wastrel just like contemporary cubs and scouts will unless they reverse this ‘soft’ trend and demand that they ‘man up’ once again like in BP’s day.