Grownups and “Kids”
Among the few things Americans seem to agree on these days is that our children are in trouble; the causes and cures may be debated, but the diagnosis has reached a point of consensus. To judge, however, by the praise showered by legions of adults on a recent film, Kids, our children are hardly the only ones in trouble.
Larry Clark, the director of Kids, is a fifty-two-year-old ex-convict and drug user who has devoted his professional career to the depiction of children at the nexus of sex, violence, and death. What has shaped his own life, he has said on more than one occasion, is the fact that he underwent puberty late and missed out on what adolescence is all about. “I’m a case of arrested development,” he told New York magazine. “It’s always been a fantasy of mine to go back to high school and do it again.” Accordingly, Clark spends much of his time with teenagers, and can frequently be found skateboarding with them in New York’s Washington Square Park. His own board is custom-made, emblazoned with the picture of a young girl, winking, bent over with her genitals on display from the rear.
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