Friday, June 30, 2006

Mad dogs

I was at a "fun-day" last week at a local High School - my partner was paid to take some photos.
The event was a valiant effort on behalf of the parents support group at the school to being the community together and tackle some of the racism. I am sure it was done on a very small budget.

The fun-day was far from fun as far as I was concerned, however. The place itself is so depressing - a tall grey building dominated the site and the fence all around made it feel like a prison. We were on the field round the back. The "entertainment" ranged from a bucking bronco machine, to a very poor karoake style act called Alien effects - 2 men who dressed in various costumes (ET - who very few people at the event were old enough to recognise, Men In Black and so on) and sing along to a soundtrack.

There was also a full half hour demonstration to very loud rap music (the PA was crap) by the girls and boys from the Mad dogs kick-boxing team - which I really don't relate to at all - stylised, dancelike poses with fists raised and kicks to music. There were lots of splits, high jumps and back flips too. There were more boys than girls and they were not all white. felt like packaging an explosive in a shiny box with a pink bow - however you dress it up it's still about fighting. I watched the adults who run the team - they stood around with arms folded across the chests, looking, as I thought, rather smugly self-satisfied. I have to say the young people were highly skilled, very well co-ordinated and super athletic. It is obviously great exercise, they clearly enjoy it, they have won awards for their displays and it "keeps them off the streets", but I just don't like it. So that must be one of my prejudices shining through.

Anyway - regardless of the actual activity - I really hate the name. They are the "British" Mad Dogs and it just makes me think of the British Bull-dog stereotype mentality - all white male aggression. It also equates madness with violence and animals - that really offends me - it is so unhelpful - it just serves to confirm the belief that people who live with mental distress are violent and out of control, which is the opposite in truth - people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of abuse and violence than the average citizen and not perpetrators.

By the way - they are sponsored by a local sausage manufacturer - the connection with offal is a great irony!