Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot

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Meditations, comments, gossip and other tidbits about technology.

August 12, 2003

Raluca kindly emailed me with a link to the computer addict camp that I mentioned yesterday. She located the site at http://www.wichernhaus.m-vp.de/ (which features a terrifying children's drawing which reminded me of Struwwelpeter, the deeply disturbing children's classic that features, among other things, thumb-removal as a cure for thumb-sucking) and has this to say about it:

Unfortunately, they don't have an English site. Looking at it, though, one gets the impression that these kids are indeed rather sick, although the physical/psychological symptoms are so general as to be just about anything.  The correlation factor between TV/computer ab/use and sickness is rather weak, but the description sounds properly alarming.

Now to the concept behind this little enterprise:  The idea of "Kur" ("treatment"/"cure" but also something like "being at a spa", or, as here, "being at a camp") is a cherished German idea, still supported by the public and private health care system.  It's hard to imagine this from our vantage point, but there used to be a time when members of the better classes in North America were sent to the sea "on cure" (or to Europe for that matter) just as well as their European counterparts.  I am myself rather fond of this
institution and still hope, the gods be willing, that one day I may get to benefit by it.  But it does spawn some strange ideas.  For, even granting that the depiction of the children is accurate and they are not just ordinary, run-of-the-mill or even brilliant little geeks and TV producers in spe, one must surely wonder if four weeks of "Kur" is the answer to what ails them.  But it sure is easy to ship the children off to cure-camp and feel like one has done one's duty by them, isn't it?  The state sure agrees.


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