It is a quandary wether to draw something from a show like Squid Games. The show is very violent, but no worse than, say, John Wayne shooting Apaches or watching much of what appears on the news every night.
There have always been real world atrocities, and probably always will be. New situations and new methods become available are outrageous because we don’t expect them to happen. They have novelty value. But, sadly, we eventually get used to them and end up immortalising the perpetrators in history, wether we mean to or not. TV news is a hidden recruiter.
Squid Games is actually quite interesting if, like me, you close your eyes when the bad bits come on. It is stylish and throws open a window on another culture I don’t really know much about. The characters are interesting and well drawn. The winners – up to ep 5 at least – are those who collaborate and use their wits against the faceless monolith that is happy to eliminate them without a care. You could say that it is the perfect story for the Pandemic. Random death amongst the most vulnerable in society.
I’ve seen many media panics before – The Exorcist – my goodness if you read the papers in the 70s you’d have though every other child was possessed, with a poltergeist on every street! Numerous horror movies over the years – remember Chucky? (I never saw it) The media love to blow up a story. Aliens in the 50s – fear sells.
And don’t forget how everyone wanted to ban the Simpsons! I seem to remember a panic about batman in the 60’s too, encouraging children to jump off buildings and zap, pow, biffing each other.
Most parents won’t let their children watchXx rated movies. But violence is on tap in the home now and hard to stop kids watching stuff. Most kids will boast at watching it, but probably have really and secretly don’t want to.
If they really are watching it and not just getting caught up in the hype and imagery, I’d rather draw their attention away by getting them to draw the characters, rather than emulating them, and learn something along the way.
While drawing the characters, they’ll have time to think and maybe consider if the characters are goodies or baddies and which side they are on. Maybe even have time to consider the philosophical questions the show brings up, just as they might when they draw Space Marines eliminating a race of Zargons or a Cowboy shooting the very last Passenger Pigeon in the USA.
We will look back on Squid Games in twenty years time, as we look back on with Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction, which were panicked over, and wonder what the fuss was about. I’m sure it will win lots of awards! There is a reason it is a worldwide success, and it’s not because kids are watching it, because I don’t think they really are. It’s because it says something to us all at a particular moment in time.