In an exclusive boarding school for boys, there is an unusual hazing practice. When a young boy first joins his dormitory, the other boys (ranging in ages up to eighteen) drag him from his bed in the middle of the night to the toilets. There, they push his face into a toilet and stick a carrot up his bum.
“I know it appears untoward and ghastly,” say the illustrious alumni when pressed upon the practice, “but it is just how it always has been done at the school. Boys will be boys, after all. And we all had to go through it.”
Indeed they did. And when the new boys joined the dorm the next year, the second years only had to watch it be done. And when they grew up a little, they can help drag kids from their bed and hold them down in the toilet. Now it has become enjoyable. Then there was that special day when they were senior enough to wield that carrot themselves.
It’s how it’s always been done.
But where did that start? It’s not like the founders of the school installed anal violations with root vegetables in their charter.
No, it started at some point in history with one individual psycho who got off on sticking carrots up people’s bums. He did it because he liked doing it, and did it enough that he established a pattern of behavior in his community. A pattern that became so ingrained that it spread and continued to be practiced long after its originator had moved on.
So it goes with culture as a whole.
Saying shitty behaviors should be allowed to continue because they are part of a culture is no better than saying young boys should get a carrot up the ass because you did.
The Spanish love animal torture festivals. What a festive culture! Circumcision! Well, that’s an important part of our religious and cultural heritage, you know. The Confederate flag? Well, son, if you have a problem with that, I suppose you’re in need of a history lesson.
“This is just the way I was raised, and it’s what made me the man I am today.”
Yes. An abusive asshole. Way to rise above.
We can convince ourselves that we weren’t a victim, that we haven’t been wounded, if we tell ourselves and the world that the abuse we’ve suffered is normal.
Normal is what we collectively choose to accept. It doesn’t mean it isn’t fucked up.