Paul Catalanotto: The domestication of danger

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Not everything should be made cute and cuddly

It is time we discuss the elephant in the room, along with the shark, the bear, the lion, and the tyrannosaurus rex grinning in the corner. I first noticed the problem when friends and family gifted us with the necessary baby gear as the wife and I prepared for our firstborn’s arrival. There isn’t anything sinister in the gifts, unless you consider false representations of reality to be sinister.

Most of the items gifted were teeming with false representations of wild and vicious creatures. Grinning great white sharks pattern my son’s shirts. Cute bears cover his nappies, and his storybooks have smiling baby dinosaurs search for mummy dinosaur. Let’s not forget the laughing bees. Have you ever been stung by a bee? It’s no laughing matter.

As an adult, I know these jovial versions of dangerous creatures are unrealistic. However, for bubs who have yet to seen one shark, let alone one of the great white variety, they can’t help but be set up unconsciously for disappointment when they finally try to befriend a shark.

We’ve left the lay ill-prepared to deal with God in His entirety by swapping biblical Jesus for buddy Jesus doing finger pistols

I’ve discussed with my newborn that sharks are irrational beasts that only want to eat, and if you happen to be swimming by when one wants to eat, you will be dinner. I’ve told him that sharks lack the emotional capacity, as well as the necessary muscle and skeletal structures, to express happiness in the form of a smile. The bub smiles and kicks in response. I guess I’ll have to have this conversation multiple times through his life.

What is a parent to do? As a parent, I can’t compete with the mass-produced cuteness that the big-baby-industrial-complex makes every day. I don’t think these people are evil, just that they skirt their responsibility to families regarding animal safety. Moreover, with the lack of oversight from the government and the companies’ broken moral compass, Jaws and any other movie that features a prominent and intense encounter with an animal will be on frequent rotation in my home.

The only truth in the gifts to my son is that zebras are black and white, though I am sure that is problematic in a post-binary world.

If I were a CEO of a big-baby-industrial-complex company, I’d ask myself, “What could I have done differently? What can I do now to prevent some poor bub from a lifetime of disillusionment? What can I do to stop instilling a false sense of safety toward dangerous animals? What can I do now to help better educate society on the dangers of domesticating dangerous beasts?” Because, when it comes down to it, domesticating danger does not make the danger less dangerous. It only servers to make us less prepared to deal with the tyrannosaurus rex when we finally encounter it.

Likewise with God, His Church, the Angels, and Saints.  We haven’t made Christianity better by domesticating God.  We’ve made God laughable and unbelievable.  We’ve left the lay ill-prepared to deal with God in His entirety by swapping biblical Jesus for buddy Jesus doing finger pistols.

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