Friday, March 25, 2005

A question

To be perfectly honest, I'm puzzled by why TV was so clean in the 1950s. The censoring of Elvis and Jim Morrison--these things don't make any sense to me. An entire generation had been to hell and back in World War II--were they unconsciously (or consciously) trying to prevent future generations from seeing what they had seen? What was the deal? Any sociologists want to help me understand? And can we at least provisionally agree that public morals and private actions were more incongruent in the 1950s than they are now, without specifying to what degree? Or am I wrong about that?


At 3:27 PM, Blogger Mair said...

First, I don't see the connection between WWII and Jim Morrison and Elvis. I highly doubt that WWII vets ran into Jim and the Doors on the shores of Okinawa or danced with Elvis on the beaches of Normandy.

Anyway...i don't think we can agree that public morals and private actions were more incongruent at times past. If you want my opinion, the difference is this - yes teenages were having sex in 1952, but when they did, they did so with a sense and knowledge that their behavior was wrong and that they would be scorned if they were found out. Today, teenagers have sex, their parents know it, and not many think it is wrong, as long as they are being smart about it. Lest I be accused of reducing morality to sex, allow me to say that I'm only using sex as an example because it is easy. So, private actions aren't necessarily an indicator of even the private persons morals. We all do things that we know are immoral. The difference is, do we do them in secret because we don't want to face the heat - or do we do them openly because there really won't be any heat??

In addition, in response to your earlier example of immorality in the golden days - yes, JFK was a womanizing sleaze...and the reason his aides covered it up was precisely because if the American people knew - JFK would not have been president. Also, your example failed to take into account the power structure between JKF and his aides. Their covering for him did not mean they were on-board with his actions. It only meant that they would get fired if they didn't - and it was part of their job to take orders from the Pres.

Ok. that's all I have for now.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

I think there's a huge connection between World War II and the culture of the 1950s. The men who had fought the war were returning to start families, and many took positions of power in the country's growing infrastructure. They had a huge influence on the new culture.

As for the sex 1950s teenagers were having, can you tell me where you're getting your data from? I'm not saying you're wrong, I just want a source for this shame phenomenon you've brought up. I completely agree with you--the sexual revolution and feminism have empowered women and taken away the stigma of many things, including premarital sex, divorce, and cohabitation. I just think the gulf between 1950s teens and 2005 teens is not as wide as we're told it is.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

And as for those who covered for JFK, their covering for him was itself an immoral act. From what I've read of the era, they both feared for their jobs and were sort of enthralled at JFK's power.


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