Bracketing time into tidy titled segments is probably impossible. But let me try anyway. I say the first 2/3 of the 20th C was a very different America than the last 1/3….!
Here’s what I mean. From 1900 to the end of the 1960s we generally talked and walked one set of values; then from the 1970s to 2000 a very different set. To test my proposition, I invite you to surf through some of the music & movies, radio & television during the first 2/3. If you do, I’m betting you’ll start out by laughing but gradually you’ll begin listening. To what? To what we mostly believed in as a nation during those years. I’m not saying we practiced everything we believed, but just believing is in itself a powerful thing for a people.
Consider some common beliefs back then long before you were around:
* Government Is good >> As in Sousa marches, “Mr Smith Goes To Washington,” “Cavalcade of America,” “The FBI In Peace & War”
* Family is important >> As in “Home On The Range,” “The Hardy Family series,” “Pepper Young’s Family, “Father Knows Best”
* The American Dream >> As in “This Land Is My Land,” “Young Abe Lincoln,” “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “The Mickey Mouse Club”
OK, have you been stifling some laughter…? Sure, because such pop entertainment from that America plays a little corny in this America. A post-1960s America that has become smarter. more informed. more skeptical. more willing to admire public rascals say like a Charlie Sheen or a “Family Guy” than the old public heroes say like a Babe Ruth or a “Dr Marcus Welby”
I tell my grandchildren there’s nothing wrong with growing up smarter than we did. And learning all that glitters out there is not actually gold. However….! Guys my age can’t help feeling kids their age are missing something. You see, what this America may laugh at, that America listened to. And at important times in our history, it sounded awfully good to the ears.
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