Powered by
Movable Type 3.2

April 10, 2008

The Lost Children of Rockdale County


The PBS documentary The Lost Children of Rockdale County had been referenced in several articles I'd read recently, but I'd never actually seen it, so it finally occurred to me to get it from Netflix. It was... interesting. Quick summary: a syphilis outbreak among teenagers leads to the exposure of a secret teenage culture of ridiculous amounts of group sex and various other destructive behaviors. You can see more at PBS's site about the documentary. I thought the Frontline people did a good job of interviewing the teens and their parents; I was amazed at how much they got several of the teens to tell them. (The cute blonde 13-year-olds using their stuffed animals to show the interviewer what they meant by various sexual terms and positions was pretty disturbing.) But while the filmmakers did a pretty good job of uncovering what happened, I didn't think they did as well as they thought they had at figuring out why. They put most of the blame on indulgent and/or negliglent parents with too few rules, and also mention TV, alcohol, the fact that there was nothing to do in the town... but something is missing. It would have been improved by the addition of some academics - developmental psychologists, sociologists, even anthropologists - to put it in a larger cultural context. I guess my basic problem with the documentary was that there are lots of places that have bored teenagers with too much alcohol and too little supervision, so why did this particular problem happen in this particular place? I wanted Jared Diamond to come in at the end to tell me what it was about this town that made fairly normal factors produce such abnormal results.

Posted by Kat at April 10, 2008 10:13 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Page design by fluffa! Hosted at prettyposies.com. Powered by Movable Type 3.2