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Thursday, October 18, 2007

How far we've come

A reader sends along this one, which no doubt has been circulating on the internet for a while:

Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.
1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2007 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2007 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.
1957 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2007 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 - Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.
2007 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.
1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.
2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant mound.
1957 - Ants die.
2007 - BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2007 - Physical activity during recess is banned. Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Anyone got the source on this one?

Comments (31)

"Anyone got the source on this one?"

The Oregonian? [ducks]

1957- Ants die.

You forgot to add the PETA lawsuit in 2007.

Now I think I understand what my (slightly) older friends mean when they talk about the 'good old days'.

you mean the "made up in our heads old days"

Scenario: Johnny is black, talks to a white person.
1957 - Johnny gets lynched.
2007 - The white person talks back, if perhaps awkwardly.

Scenario: Jane is bored with her lot in life as a housewife.
1957 - Jane is told to shut up and scrub the kitchen if she knows what's good for her.
2007 - Jane has a nice job.

Scenario: Old man Jones is annoyed and wishes things were like they were back when he was a kid.
1957 - He rants at any kid that comes near his porch.
2007 - He writes a farcical account of why things today are horrible and it gets posted on the internet.

Yeah, right. What a bunch of crap. George, you called it right. Not one of those "scenarios" is even remotely typical, and the sad thing is, about 35% of this country actually believes it is.

I ADMIT it is representative of a social trend. But that does not mean the overall benefits of this trend do not outweigh the exceptions. The failure to look at the underlying issues, and only to cherry-pick and distribute the excetions is the difference between s**t-stirrers and good citizens. Some people might get the difference, but too many morons takes it and runs with it.

I'm not even saying jokes about this subject are inappropriate. Humor can be effective at social discourse. It should just be funny.

Jack, do you really think it has gotten this bad? I respect your take, and if you or any other level-headed folks who actually remember the good ol' days (I am too young) think this is more true than not, I hereby agree to re-think my position on this one.

I think that is a fairly accurate 'parody'. My gawd...a kid can't play with a cap gun anymore. Remember when the big craze in cap guns were the ones that looked like Saturday Night Specials and had those plastic 'ring revolver' caps? Not saying that was a 'good thing', but the culture has definitely changed.

"The good old days weren't always good,
And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems."

Todd, if you're going to be nothing but a troll, you're going to be banished pretty soon.


Yes, those scenarios are "remotely typical" of what life was like in 1957, when society seemed to have more common sense and decency (for the most part.) While it's true that the common sense and decency hadn't yet carried over to the equal treatment of women and minorities, at least people weren't going to jail for sprinkling flour in a parking lot to mark a running trail (we read about that one here about a month back) or being frisked by government goons at the airport. Ah, the old days.

Talk about times changing, I remember in 1976 I was flying on Braniff Airlines from PDX to SEA. earlier that week I drove from Boise to Portland, I had just purchased a new Browning 9MM Auto for $167.50. When I arrived a Portland International, I decided that I did not want to leave my new Browning in the car(door locks not working) and made the decision to take the gun with me to Seattle.
As I purchased my ticket I declared to the gate agent that I wanted to check my firearm in my baggage. No problem sir, she responded, 'Would you please show me your weapon and slide back the receiver to show me your handgun is empty'.
No problem miss, I replied.
I did this in front off about 20-30 persons waiting at the Braniff line.
There was no reaction what so ever from the waiting passengers.
My point being if one were to repeat that same procedure at PDX,TODAY, he would be attacked by Steven Segal, Westley Snipes, and Tased by airport security.
Yes times have changed.

Many of today’s "cures" to everyday societal problems come from people with advanced academic degrees and common sense is rarely part of their resume.


While a few of those might be a bit much, a couple are right on whether you are in denial or not. Particularly the ones about drugging up kids on ritalin, being expelled for aspirin, and getting abuse charges for spanking your kid. I mean c'mon, there have been kids expelled because of a no-weapons policy..for having fingernail clippers.
As for the guns in the car...how about as recent as 1987? Thats when I was in high school, and we all brought guns to school in our cars for use before or after school. No problems...ever.

I guess the thing I remember growing up some decades past is that I was scared to death of my friend's parents as much as my own if I was getting into trouble. As a kid, I swore all the parents had a pact to punish anyone screwing up regardless of whose kid they caught.

I'm not sure my kids and their friends have the same concern.

Freedom as a child. To play outside in the hood all day and half the night - without fear. Ride helmetless all over the valley. Trick or treat into the wee hours with enough candy left by Lent to give it up. By then it needed to be tossed. Few toys needed, mostly sports equip. or faux weapons for faux battles.
Lots of opportunity for creativity and fantasy. Cold war fear from those classroom N bomb drills. "Now calmly get under your desks kids and hunker down the Rooskies just dropped the big one." Ah, the good old days.

Last week I was visiting my mom and stepdad in AZ, and he was relating how in high school in the late 1950s he and a friend would take their shotguns to school (traveling from Westport to Clatskanie High), put them in their lockers, then go duck hunting after school.

Funny, may be slightly exaggerated but, Huck and Todd, these scenarios are a lot closer to reality than you and many who didn't grow up before the "enlightenment" of the '60's and '70's will ever be able to comprehend. But there was also one hell of a lot less government intrusion and interference in our lives and a quantum difference in the amount of common sense used to address routine issues. For sure there was a lot more self reliance and acceptance of responsibility than what passes for citizenship today. Oh, sorry if I offended anyone by using the "c" word.

I graduated from high school in 1979 and I used to have a rifle in the gun rack in my pickup truck. That was in north Idaho and guns in gun racks were a fairly common item. Drive thru Portland today with a rifle in a gun rack and the 911 call center will light up.

Andy.......You are right on "Target" about gun racks in Northern Idaho, as the norm.
I graduated from Bonners Ferry High School in 1969.
My parents were teachers, and we would spend summers in New Jersey and winters in Idaho.
I recall in the summer of 70, I was driving my fathers pick up in Jersey, with nice oak gun rack showing (NO GUNS of course) and was stopped several times that summer by local and state cops, just checking for cough, cough, "Your tail lights are out Or you failed to make a signal ect.
It was nice to return to Idaho State University in the fall. No hassles, just fun, beer and books.

RonaldM and Jon-

Sure, there was less government intrusion,but like tODD pointed out, many things have improved, and the population has almost doubled during this time, leading to many new problems. The world has just become immensely more complex, and the way we deal with the problems has become less clear-cut. It seems like a lot of people (not necessarily you guys) don't want to admit that, as Bob Dylan says, things have changed.


We surely don't want to frisk people at the airport, do we? And you're probably right, if the police constantly ignored mysterious white powders that wouldn't really bother people when it turned out to not be flour. I'm no fan of a nanny state, but I can surely understand the choices that have been made - people want to keep their jobs.

I don't have much else to say here except "Ants die" really made me laugh!

mm, what happened between 1957 & 2007. Oh, yes the Baby Boomers took control. First of the culture and then of the Presidency.

What a lovely world your generation has created for us.
This is surely the Age of Aquarius you planned and promised.

Well done, Jack. Well done, Boomers.

"While it's true that the common sense and decency hadn't yet carried over to the equal treatment of women and minorities . . ."

That's a pretty damning indictment of "the good old days" right there, since women and minorities make up well over half the population of this country.

On my scale, what has been gained by extending greater political and economic rights and opportunities to the majority of the citizenry far outweighs whatever drawbacks the brutes and rednecks see in not being able to abuse their kids or pack heat in a school or airport.

I realize the internet document is intended to be humorous, but it has a basis in attitudes that are real enough--as the success of asinine right-wing talk shows attests.

What's happening, though, I think, is that we have entered a new Victorian era where it is taboo to criticize anything a female or member of a minority group does. I think the neo era is as repressive and hypocritical as the origninal, if more subtle and "professional". We have, indeed, progressed in the past 50 years; the trick is to continue progessing and not rest on laurels.

Otherwise, intellectuals get type-cast as "brutes"-anyone who has a questioning mind and can't get with the new "progressive" rut. I have had members of the news media indicate that they recognize this problem, but it seems to stop too few from riding the bandwagon, imho.

Richard writes: "On my scale, what has been gained by extending greater political and economic rights and opportunities to the majority of the citizenry far outweighs whatever drawbacks the brutes and rednecks see in not being able to abuse their kids or pack heat in a school or airport."

Somehow I don't think that it is just the 'brutes and rednecks' that are doing the seeing. Abusing kids? Packin heat?

You might just be quite the youngster on this thread, not that there is anything wrong with that!

"we have entered a new Victorian era where it is taboo to criticize anything a female or member of a minority group does."

Yeah, yeah. We all fancy ourselves down-to-earth realists, and we therefore ridicule political correctness. But PC behavior, for all its occasional ridiculousness, does nowhere near the damage caused by the virulent, racism, sexism and homophobia of the "good old days." Your contention that the "new Victorian era" is as repressive as prior eras, with respect to women and minorities, is the product of a mind not nearly as "questioning" and perceptive as you like to believe. IMHO.

I sure wish I could've been alive in them good ol' days so I could bring my guns to school and on airplanes..That sounds mighty swell. And it sure would be nice if we never had that pesky civil rights movement and minorities and women still knew their place.

It's amazing how quickly I discount someones entire post as soon as I see the term 'packing heat'.

Good post, Jack.

I may be stupid, Richard, but don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say the current era was repressive with respect to women and minorities, but to the ongoing free interchange of ideas(ultimately dangerous to all of us). In fact, I tacitly agreed with your assertion of the gains that have been made. And as to the rest: Touche, Richard, Touche.

And Harry, it's brutes, rednecks and deluded dummies like me, too. Actually, forget me and my redneck pals; it's people like Nat Hentoff, an ocotogenarian who lived through the civil rights struggles of the Twentieth Century , remains a civil libertarian and sees hypocrisy. Is he a dummy, Richard? Do tell. It's not gonna make me modify my reading list, but I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Maybe my Mother and Grandmother didn't have "equal rights" back in 1957, but then again neither of them was ever at work at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday like I am today. And I am here after already putting in 47 hours on the job this last week.


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