The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Do you think "the more things change, the more they remain the same?" How about "There's nothing new under the sun?"

Things are constantly changing. I was reminded of this as I caught a glimpse of a Cialis commercial while watching the golf tournament on TV. When I was a youngster, the raciest commercials were from Maidenform and the bras were either shown floating in the air or worn over cashmere sweaters. There were no condom commercials, no feminine products of a personal nature, and even bathing suit commercials were often done without live models. As a young boy, I was left with National Geographic magazines and Sears catalogs to satisfy my boyish curiosity. I won't mention my father's vast collection of what was once called "girlie magazines" which he did not hide very well.

Today, though, we have all kinds of personal hygiene products, revealing underwear, and sexual enhancement products being advertised on TV. It was shocking back in 1939 when Clark Gable said "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!" in Gone With The Wind. Now there is much stronger language used and even by young girls.

When I was a teen, we'd have sooner cut our own throats as uttered a profanity in front of a girl. Oh, mild expletives were tossed about freely, there was no problem with that. But the F-bomb? Not a chance in heck.

I sometimes miss those more innocent times. Society was much more polite. And smaller. Life was slower. You might be away from a phone for hours and hours at a time. You had maybe 3 TV channels unless you were in, or near, a major city. While we did lock our doors, it was only while we were out. Some say those were not all that innocent of times, that there was a a lot of ugly hidden under the surface. Maybe so. We were shocked to learned of an unwed pregnancy. They were quite rare in small towns, extremely rare. I suppose there were a few that we never heard of. Girls might be off "visiting an aunt" for most of a school year. Rumors would abound. But these were also rare. I can only recall one girl who disappeared that way in my teens. We all suspected but there was no proof, of course. And that was when I lived in south Florida, a more cosmopolitan area than my former home town of Farmingdale on Long Island.

Today, a lot of ugly is on the surface. People say it is better, that it should be exposed to the light of day. I don't agree. We get inured to it, we become tolerant toward it. Unwed mothers face no shame, thuggery is celebrated, life is cruder, and the ugly that is hidden is so much worse than what it once was.

I remember that the album "Blind Faith" had to have new cover art because the British version featured what appears to be an 11 or 12 year old
topless girl. In more recent years, we have seen (or at least heard of) sex tapes featuring various celebrities. At first, these were titillating to the public and embarrassing to the celebrities. Now, they are de rigeuer and few seem to bat an eyelash about them. I should also mention something called "sexting."

So, with all that was bad about the 50's... and there was bad... I still wonder if we have improved or just progressed.


Sightings said...

You're absolutely right that there's been a coarsening of the culture -- consider the advertisements that are pushing the limits of child pornography. And yet, there's still a Puritan strain. Consider Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards and others who have been drummed out of office for doing things that Kennedy and Eisenhower did with impunity. I'm not defending adultery, by any means, I just think it's curious how the society can go in two seemingly opposite directions at once.

Douglas4517 said...

Some are driven out, some are not (think Clinton), some resign immediately,
some tough it out but get dumped at the polls. I don't understand it either.
Kennedy would have been pushed out had the media revealed what they knew, I
think. Eisenhower is more rumor and myth than actual truth. As far as I can
tell, the alleged affair with his driver, Kay Summersby was untrue.

I would look at political party, ideological leanings of the media, and the
ferocity of the "spin doctors" for an understanding of the double or triple
standards involved.

Edwards, by the way, was not hounded out of office. The mainstream media did
its level best to ignore the affair. He stayed in the campaign as long as he
could until it was completely unavoidable. Let's see how long Weiner lasts.


Steven Scott said...

reminds me of the penn & teller episode where they blew the lid off of the "good ol' days" (name of the episode). I don't remember what they talked about...manners mighta been one thing, unless i'm mixing it up with a whole episode on manners.

but anyway...racial politics. sexual politics (still have climbing left to do). people forced into military service. loveless marriages brought on by the necessity of appearances (pregnancy) by people who were basically teenagers. all our depravity was still there, it was just forced to be hidden, and often criminalized. terrible government censorship of media. mccarthyism.

i mean, i don't like rudeness...but we've made a lot of improvements since then...and if a loss of some of our Puritanism came along with that...well, all the better.

Douglas4517 said...

Steven, I think it is very difficult to say "all our depravity was still
there, it was just forced to be hidden" because if it was hidden, how do we
know it was there? It's impossible to prove one way or the other. I would
postulate that exposing more and more of the "hidden depravity" comes to
light, it encouraged even more and varied depravity. Like people trying to
top others in world records. We humans are very competitive.

You are right about the bad things of that period. There were many things
that were wrong. I just say we could have addressed those without losing the


Satisfyingretirement said...

What I can't fathom is the apparent necessity of politicians to act like sex-starved teenagers with zero moral compass. Is it  one of the job requirements? Do they believe getting elected is a free pass to acting stupid?

In these cases I am glad the "light of day" shines brightly on these shameful  actions and people.