Imagine if a group of children from a fairly downtrodden part of the country went to the Tate Modern and then proceeded to climb all over a very expensive piece of art installation while their parents watched. Imagine, further, the ensuing social chaos that would be caused. The situation would be seized upon by the authorities as a political scapegoating exercise in propagating the immoral behaviour of the poor, it would prove to be fodder for a further expansion of the righting of the ‘wrong’ behaviours of the underclass – the so-called benefit scroungers in other words – and would be covered in acres of print in the ideologically right leaning newspapers with their readers leaving comments about social cleansing.
However, when a seemingly well off family visited the Tate Modern and let their child play on the Donald Judd installation costing $10 million dollars the parents defended their daughter’s actions as being ‘anti-establishment’. The parents were not present when the incident took place but have commented since. I was reading this report on a very humdrum Southeastern train service and almost choked on my chocolate bar.The phrase ‘anti-establishment’ to most people on the train would probably be interpreted as being an act which involves hurling something nasty at a member of the Royal family or mimicking what Guy Fawkes tried to do.
Allowing your child to play on a national treasure is, surely, liberal parenting gone astray. If a child of mine did that I would be, firstly, scared of any damage being caused which i would have to compensate for out of a paltry bank account. Secondly, I would not want my child to think that the world is literally a playground. Imagine if the child took that to extreme and played on something silly like a train line? How is it to know boundaries if it is not taught them in the first place?
After minutes of going through logical thinking like the boring stalwart parent that I am it suddenly occurred to me. The higher up the social class ladder that you are the easier it is to come up with defensive lines that trot out sounding like the moral high-ground. When the Occupy movement set up camp to challenge vigorously the establishment it was shot down as being ‘anti-establishment’ and, therefore, had to be dismantled quickly lest it sullied the …err…establishment. Yet, others are allowed to wage the same ‘anti-establishment’ battle in upmarket places and get away with it.