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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Can you still embarrass the K.O.T.?

Yesterday I watched Shaun Attwood giving a talk to a sixth form in south-west London. He's written Hard Time: A Brit in America's Toughest Jail about his experiences of incarceration in the Arizona prison system and so his story majored on buggery with broom handles, white supremacist gangs, the challenges of defecating in front of witnesses and casual brutality of every sort.

If anyone had been allowed to give this kind of talk in the schools of my day they would have been met with blushes, sniggers and probably interjections of the "sir, that man just said 'foreskin' variety." I can remember spending a lot of my teenage years nervously patrolling the frontier between the formal language of the adult world and the Rabelaisian badinage of the sixth form common room, worried that I might unknowingly give myself away.

It's not like that today. These 16 and 17 year-olds sat there and lapped it all up with barely a blush. This chimes with my experience of the Kids Of Today. They're a lot more difficult to embarrass than my generation were. Or maybe they're just embarrassed by different things.