With Wisdom Comes Age … And Fear
Last month saw the launch of two unrelated cultural phenomena that enchanted teens and horrified adults: the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino and the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
The frothy, rainbow-swirled beverage was mercifully short-lived; ashes to ICEEs, fluff to fluff. But the controversial television drama lives on as the most-Tweeted-about show of 2017.
13 Reasons Why tells the story of a high school girl who committed suicide by slitting her wrists in a bathtub. But first, she recorded audiotapes detailing why she was ending her life and instructed that these tapes be passed around to the friends and classmates whose particular cruelties stung her so badly — the people “responsible for my death,” as she puts it.
The show has experts crying foul. Schools are advising parents not to let their kids watch it. New Zealand created a whole new rating category for it; those under 18 are forbidden from watching without an adult. Mental-health experts say the series — which depicts the bloody death in horrific, drawn-out detail — glamorizes suicide and could inspire copycats. Netflix met the backlash by adding more warnings to the first episode.
But no one listens to warnings.