Die, Youngster, Die!

Putting kids on television has always been a reliable way to get a certain demographic chunk of the population to tune in. But these days, the apple-cheeked youngsters featured in prime time are less likely to spew cuteness than blood. “Television has become an extremely inhospitable place for middle-class children, and in some sense, for the demanding ideals by which they are now raised – a gory receptacle for any and all of our collectively sublimated parental ambivalence. Against our new universe of Humvee-inspired strollers, television constructs a parallel one, in which children are routinely maimed, killed, abused, mocked, mistreated and kept central – but according to a contravening morality.”