The Past Spoiled the Present

 

One would think growing up in the shadows of memories that never belonged to them might grow up to feel jaded. I remember watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the family room of my parent’s house as a kid (reruns — I was a Reagan baby). The opening sequence of Mary Richards driving into Minneapolis, the Sonny Curtis lyrics backed with a simple, optimistic tune that matched Mary’s anticipation as she embarked on a new city, a new job, and a new life — still stirs the same hope that a young lady with as much eagerness as naivete could have, and I wish still had.

I didn’t have any remarkable childhood; I just loved it. I grew up watching John Wayne storm the beaches and round-up outlaws. I spent most summers working, swimming, and biking to Dairy Queen. Our family had a local pizza place that showed Looney Tunes cartoons I know by heart and served malts with the extra tin cup. It was simple. It was more Leave It to Beaver than Rebel Without A Cause.

I grew up thinking the world was probably like Happy Days but without the jukebox, which was funny because I ended up working at a sandwich shop that had one (Roger Miller’s King of the Road was in regular rotation). But I looked forward to an adult world in which America was still the stuff of dreams. Merit was as good as one’s reputation to unlock the door of opportunity. Men knew what chivalry was and women didn’t scoff at it. There were Little Black Dresses and kitten heels, tailored trench coats, and rubber overshoes. Picture windows were dressed in thick heavy floral drapes and kids in OshKosh B’gosh. Married couples slept in separate beds and Joe Friday was always serious.

There was a morality to be seen without hearing. I look back and see a future I wish I grew older in. It wasn’t the neat storylines that fit into half-hour packages, or the wondering how Lucy was going to get out of trouble this time, or that maybe the castaways from the S.S. Minnow would be rescued next time, but that everything was so wonderfully, easily, enjoyably simple. Every question had an answer, every villain was known and ultimately defeated, and the good fought for the innocent and vulnerable against the encroaching threat trying to take it all away.

But I grew up. And the world wasn’t turned on by my smile. Not everyone thought of John Wayne as a hero. My nostalgia was what was wrong with America. I was too Donna Reed and not enough Hill Street Blues. I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now. Where once we could decide on a set of values and agree with them to such effect as to put them on television sets for millions of viewers and families every night but are now seen as “problematic” is…well, the problem. Sure, it’s a good thing for pop culture to reflect the demographics of America; frankly, it’s done pretty well for the military for decades — until one segment was suddenly deemed “problematic.”

So the tea-length skirts and teased hair over polite smiles and warm handshakes, men in loafers and socks and a straw fedora at the Tiki-themed neighborhood barbeque admiring the new charcoal grill breathing in the night air mingled with lighter fluid, charred hamburger, and a lit cigar; porcelain ashtrays with smoldering cigarettes between couples talking closely tucked into the vinyl booths at Nye’s; ladies chit-chat under domes of electric dryers and the turning magazine pages flutter in time with the excited chit-chat of ladies whose hair is drying beneath the great glass electric dome dryers…

But it was too simple, too easy, too pleasant. I’m not arguing for erasing history — or whitewashing as seems to be said amongst the fashionable set. People couldn’t really have been this content! Families were little hives of prejudice, conformity, and oppression! Suburbs were merely cookie-cutter type-cast Stepford-wives enclaves! Too materialistic! Too intolerant! Too closed-minded!

No, it’s so much better today, when our kids are indoctrinated in government schools; teen angst is encouraged to be expressed as a child’s true identity (without a parent’s knowledge, natch); technology companies regulate speech and thought; colleges and universities are mandating racial segregation.

America’s past belongs to moments of shame and triumph, but the shame doesn’t invalidate the triumph. If anything, doesn’t it make our success, our survival, our ceaseless cause for freedom and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that much more remarkable? When did it become so terrible to strive for an ideal for every American — or at least the opportunity to try — and so fist-pounding compulsory to tell us why this idealism is wrong?

I’m not saying I’ll take a stroll down Nicollet Mall and with a wide smile toss my tam o’shanter high into the Minneapolis sky. But it might be nice to live in a time where I could.

The Story Behind the Iconic 'Mary Tyler Moore Show' Opening - ABC News

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  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    JennaStocker: But it might be nice to live in a time where I could.

    How eloquently you phrased our decline. 

    What once was,  will never be again.  

    Together we can weep for the future we left for our children and our grands.

    • #1
  2. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    As someone who did live in those days, there were always dark undercurrents that were not allowed to penetrate mass entertainment. You would find them in blues halls and off-Broadway shows and art theaters. There was a cognizance that television and movies were consumed by children, and children, like saplings, should be encouraged to grow straight and strong before being bent and burdened by the dark, painful truths of Verdun, where men waited to die for days chest deep in mud with little hope of rescue, and Normandy where Saving Private Ryan gave us an endless opening scene of the thousands who were let off landing craft in too deep water by panicky pilots to their instant death by drowning and Guadalcanal and Auschwitz and Bataan and Inchon and Selma. 

    Leaving space for the children provided a space to express our ideals and provide the strength to better live those ideals. When “telling it like it is” became the coin of the realm, and the Hays office closed in 1966, and what deference there was to authority crumbled with LBJ’s decision to not seek a second term in 1968 and Nixon’s resignation in disgrace in 1974, the revolution was on. Until now we get a Disney that openly seeks to maim, sterilize, and sodomize our children under a rainbow banner rather than, as we are slowly coming to learn, doing so more covertly. Peter’s Pence, the great Papal charity for the poor, has now been used to help finance Rocketman, a hagiography for a degenerate rock star. “Let it all hang out,” they said. They have indeed. 

    Thanks for the piece, 

    • #2
  3. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    JennaStocker: But it might be nice to live in a time where I could.

    How eloquently you phrased our decline.

    What once was, will never be again.

    Together we can weep for the future we left for our children and our grands.

    Thank you for this, a clear-eyed view of our burdensome legacy.

    • #3
  4. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    As someone who did live in those days, there were always dark undercurrents that were not allowed to penetrate mass entertainment. You would find them in blues halls and off-Broadway shows and art theaters. There was a cognizance that television and movies were consumed by children, and children, like saplings, should be encouraged to grow straight and strong before being bent and burdened by the dark, painful truths of Verdun, where men waited to die for days chest deep in mud with little hope of rescue, and Normandy where Saving Private Ryan gave us an endless opening scene of the thousands who were let off landing craft in too deep water by panicky pilots to their instant death by drowning and Guadalcanal and Auschwitz and Bataan and Inchon and Selma.

    Leaving space for the children provided a space to express our ideals and provide the strength to better live those ideals. When “telling it like it is” became the coin of the realm, and the Hays office closed in 1966, and what deference there was to authority crumbled with LBJ’s decision to not seek a second term in 1968 and Nixon’s resignation in disgrace in 1974, the revolution was on. Until now we get a Disney that openly seeks to maim, sterilize, and sodomize our children under a rainbow banner rather than, as we are slowly coming to learn, doing so more covertly. Peter’s Pence, the great Papal charity for the poor, has now been used to help finance Rocketman, a hagiography for a degenerate rock star. “Let it all hang out,” they said. They have indeed.

    Thanks for the piece,

    “children, like saplings, should be encouraged to grow straight and strong before being bent and burdened by the dark, painful truths of Verdun, where men waited to die for days chest deep in mud with little hope of rescue, and Normandy where Saving Private Ryan gave us an endless opening scene of the thousands who were let off landing craft in too deep water by panicky pilots to their instant death by drowning and Guadalcanal and Auschwitz and Bataan and Inchon and Selma.”

    So striking. I recently watched a retrospective about the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach. I don’t know whether to weep for the men who sacrificed themselves – whether in life or in death – one soldier said he was called the “Old Man” at 23 years old, imagine! Or weep in sadness at a 23 year old who can’t bear to have an opposing opinion pass through his sacrosanct ears. Thank you for your thoughtful, powerful comment.

    • #4
  5. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    For me the past has not spoiled the present, the present has spoiled the — or actually lighted — the past.  It’s funny, I’ve never been nostalgic.  But coincidentally, I was just listening to a recording of Judith Durham and the Seekers singing Georgy Girl on She’s post.  And I found tears in my eyes.

    Then I stood up and sang out loud Downtown and the Drifters’ On Broadway.  It was bitter sweet.  I remember one night walking down Main Street as a very young boy.  I didn’t know exactly where my parents were, but in those days things were different.  Our parents had driven us all into town and released us to sight-see and to meet up in an hour or so at the corner of the local pharmacy across a side street from Woolworth’s.  I remember all the street lights reflecting off the red background that held the golden letters glimmering in the night air, and the night was beautiful.  Happy families were walking together along the wide sidewalk going someplace or perhaps nowhere slowly, talking and smiling.  And it was there I heard the Drifters and Petula Clark carried on the air.  And it was like heaven.

    And of course, as a boy the future was all of what could be.

    As I say, I’ve never been nostalgic, but in the last two years I’ve come to mourn the passing of the country I was raised in.  A good country is a terrible thing to waste.  Eventually I knew bad times would come, but I never expected this, and never thought that the culture of the US could be turned upside down so quickly.  And more unexpectedly, without anyone else seeing it, and with half the country cheering it on rather than protesting it gravely and loudly.

    No, for me the past didn’t spoil the present, the present has enlivened the past.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Flicker (View Comment):
    . . .but I never expected this, and never thought that the culture of the US could be turned upside down so quickly.

    Yeah. Me, too.

    • #6
  7. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Flicker (View Comment):

    As I say, I’ve never been nostalgic, but in the last two years I’ve come to mourn the passing of the country I was raised in. A good country is a terrible thing to waste. 

    Yes, this. Thanks for a sobering reminder.

    • #7
  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Is it worth pointing out thirty-forty years ago was always the best time to be alive – except for twenty years earlier which was always the golden age?  It’s not a new phenomena, either.  Kipling wrote about it a century ago:

    The King

    Rudyard Kipling

    "Farewell, Romance!" the Cave-men said;
      "With bone well carved He went away,
    Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead,
      And jasper tips the spear to-day.
    Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance,
    And He with these.  Farewell, Romance!"
     
    "Farewell, Romance!" the Lake-folk sighed;
      "We lift the weight of flatling years;
    The caverns of the mountain-side
      Hold him who scorns our hutted piers.
    Lost hills whereby we dare not dwell,
    Guard ye his rest.  Romance, farewell!"
     
    "Farewell, Romance!" the Soldier spoke;
      "By sleight of sword we may not win,
    But scuffle 'mid uncleanly smoke
      Of arquebus and culverin.
    Honour is lost, and none may tell
    Who paid good blows.  Romance, farewell!"
     
    "Farewell, Romance!" the Traders cried;
      "Our keels have lain with every sea;
    The dull-returning wind and tide
      Heave up the wharf where we would be;
    The known and noted breezes swell
    Our trudging sails. Romance, farewell!"
     
    "Good-bye, Romance!" the Skipper said;
      "He vanished with the coal we burn.
    Our dial marks full-steam ahead,
      Our speed is timed to half a turn.
    Sure as the ferried barge we ply
    'Twixt port and port.  Romance, good-bye!"
     
    "Romance!" the season-tickets mourn,
      "He never ran to catch His train,
    But passed with coach and guard and horn --
      And left the local -- late again!"
    Confound Romance!...  And all unseen
    Romance brought up the nine-fifteen.
     
    His hand was on the lever laid,
      His oil-can soothed the worrying cranks,
    His whistle waked the snowbound grade,
      His fog-horn cut the reeking Banks;
    By dock and deep and mine and mill
    The Boy-god reckless laboured still!
     
    Robed, crowned and throned, He wove His spell,
      Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled,
    With unconsidered miracle,
      Hedged in a backward-gazing world;
    Then taught His chosen bard to say:
    "Our King was with us -- yesterday!"
    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Nowadays, Mary Richards would be a single birthing parent who identifies as a man, and rooms with an undocumented migrant who “grooms” the child . . .

    • #9
  10. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    I have often felt that the best Ricochet writing matches and exceeds that of the “punditocracy”, but this is spectacular, both in content and writing.  You really did capture some of what this older guy (Truman baby) has been feeling.

    Thanks

     

    • #10
  11. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Is it worth pointing out thirty-forty years ago was always the best time to be alive – except for twenty years earlier which was always the golden age? It’s not a new phenomena, either. Kipling wrote about it a century ago:

    The King

    Rudyard Kipling

    "Farewell, Romance!" the Cave-men said; "With bone well carved He went away,
    Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead, And jasper tips the spear to-day.
    Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance,
    And He with these.Farewell, Romance!"
    "Farewell, Romance!" the Lake-folk sighed; "We lift the weight of flatling years;
    The caverns of the mountain-side Hold him who scorns our hutted piers.
    Lost hills whereby we dare not dwell,
    Guard ye his rest.Romance, farewell!"
    "Farewell, Romance!" the Soldier spoke; "By sleight of sword we may not win,
    But scuffle 'mid uncleanly smoke Of arquebus and culverin.
    Honour is lost, and none may tell
    Who paid good blows.Romance, farewell!"
    "Farewell, Romance!" the Traders cried; "Our keels have lain with every sea;
    The dull-returning wind and tide Heave up the wharf where we would be;
    The known and noted breezes swell
    Our trudging sails. Romance, farewell!"
    "Good-bye, Romance!" the Skipper said; "He vanished with the coal we burn.
    Our dial marks full-steam ahead, Our speed is timed to half a turn.
    Sure as the ferried barge we ply
    'Twixt port and port.Romance, good-bye!"
    "Romance!" the season-tickets mourn, "He never ran to catch His train,
    But passed with coach and guard and horn -- And left the local -- late again!"
    Confound Romance!...And all unseen
    Romance brought up the nine-fifteen.
    His hand was on the lever laid, His oil-can soothed the worrying cranks,
    His whistle waked the snowbound grade, His fog-horn cut the reeking Banks;
    By dock and deep and mine and mill
    The Boy-god reckless laboured still!
    Robed, crowned and throned, He wove His spell, Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled,
    With unconsidered miracle, Hedged in a backward-gazing world;
    Then taught His chosen bard to say:
    "Our King was with us -- yesterday!"

    An excellent point. There is a halcyon wistfulness to look back on the halcyon days, a yearning for simple and straightforward times. Kipling could distill that in his work.

    • #11
  12. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Stad (View Comment):

    Nowadays, Mary Richards would be a single birthing parent who identifies as a man, and rooms with an undocumented migrant who “grooms” the child . . .

    Make sure whatever TV network picks this up gives you creator credits and a big payout!

    • #12
  13. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    I have often felt that the best Ricochet writing matches and exceeds that of the “punditocracy”, but this is spectacular, both in content and writing. You really did capture some of what this older guy (Truman baby) has been feeling.

    Thanks

     

    Your words are too kind and generous. Thank you.

    • #13
  14. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Nohaaj: What once was, will never be again.

     Call me a wild eyed optimist, but the future can still be great for America and the World. 

    What is needed is to directly confront the corruption of ideas  and the suppression of truth that abounds in our new Woke World.  We need to fight to assert our Rights and our Liberty to give equal footing to the Truth and our rights to express them. 

    Much of the turning away from the Happy Days life Jenna described when America was great was accomplished by the Left eating away relentlessly at our rights  in order install a Totalitarian Order, which we now nearly have.  Those who want to push this new Totalitarian order and yes those who simply are too afraid not to cede our rights to these Woke Dictators need to be confronted in a very harsh way.  If we do not, the life we are living now, as much as it does not compare to the old “Happy Days” of old , will seem in the future like an  unattainable Nirvana. For what is coming  is an unthinkable hell, if we let the Woke have their way.

    On the bright side, the internet and modern communications properly cleansed of it’s censorship could be a great vehicle for the flowering of new ideas and a return to our inalienable rights and our Constitutional Republic which gave fruit and actually bore the “Happy Days” life.  Those days are still possible again.  We just need to “Pick Ourselves Up and Start  Over Again” as in the Astaire/Rogers dance scene in Swing Time speaking of nostalgia. 

    • #14
  15. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Such good stuff. Thank you.

    I’d just add, in case it comes up, that black children, too, were allowed to grow up in protected innocence—as protected as possible, anyway. A good friend of mine told me that when he was little, growing up in inner-city Chicago, the annual trip south to see relatives was made memorable by all the good food. Mom would make wonderful picnics to punctuate the long car ride, and the aunties down in Georgia would throw fabulous feasts, and then make sure the leftovers were packed for the return trip north. 

    It wasn’t until he was an adult, looking back, that he realized that he and his siblings were deliberately shielded from seeing the “Whites Only” signs and segregated roadside restaurants still extant in the south. 

    “Good for your parents!” I said. Children ought to be reared with a strong sense of the ideal. They should be shocked when they discover the real. By exposing American children, far too soon, to the sins of their country, we are ensuring that they will arrive in adulthood already jaded, incapable of the moral indignation that previous generations harnessed as the energy that make their country better. 

    • #15
  16. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    ‘The Past Spoiled the Present’, a great title for a great essay. There is a long history of Nihilism and unfortunately it is rediscovered as if it is something new and unique to our own times.

    This bit of doggerel was written by Theognis of Megara, a Greek lyric poet that lived in the sixth century BC.

    Best of all for mortal beings is never to have been born at all
    Nor ever to have set eyes on the bright light of the sun
    But, since he is born, a man should make utmost haste through the gates of Death
    And then repose, the earth piled into a mound round himself.

    Faith, family, and friends is something that we can nurture in our own lives, or we can surrender it to those whose lives are so empty that the only pleasure left to them is interfering in the lives of others.

    Well done, Jenna.

    • #16
  17. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Beautiful post Jenna. You portray the same America that I grew up in and likewise lament its passing. I was reminded of several John Cougar Mellankamp songs …

     

     

     

    • #17
  18. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Unsk (View Comment):

    Nohaaj: What once was, will never be again.

    Call me a wild eyed optimist, but the future can still be great for America and the World.

    What is needed is to directly confront the corruption of ideas and the suppression of truth that abounds in our new Woke World. We need to fight to assert our Rights and our Liberty to give equal footing to the Truth and our rights to express them.

    Much of the turning away from the Happy Days life Jenna described when America was great was accomplished by the Left eating away relentlessly at our rights in order install a Totalitarian Order, which we now nearly have. Those who want to push this new Totalitarian order and yes those who simply are too afraid not to cede our rights to these Woke Dictators need to be confronted in a very harsh way. If we do not, the life we are living now, as much as it does not compare to the old “Happy Days” of old , will seem in the future like an unattainable Nirvana. For what is coming is an unthinkable hell, if we let the Woke have their way.

    On the bright side, the internet and modern communications properly cleansed of it’s censorship could be a great vehicle for the flowering of new ideas and a return to our inalienable rights and our Constitutional Republic which gave fruit and actually bore the “Happy Days” life. Those days are still possible again. We just need to “Pick Ourselves Up and Start Over Again” as in the Astaire/Rogers dance scene in Swing Time speaking of nostalgia.

    I do absolutely agree with you that nothing is beyond repair: “Those days are still possible again.” And I do believe America has always been great, but sometimes we let our good nature be taken advantage of both within and without our borders, and usually to our great detriment. I hope what we can put into the past – for good – is a shaming of families who just want to control their lives, their futures, and their thoughts. Thank you for reading the post and your insightful comment.

    • #18
  19. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Such good stuff. Thank you.

    I’d just add, in case it comes up, that black children, too, were allowed to grow up in protected innocence—as protected as possible, anyway. A good friend of mine told me that when he was little, growing up in inner-city Chicago, the annual trip south to see relatives was made memorable by all the good food. Mom would make wonderful picnics to punctuate the long car ride, and the aunties down in Georgia would throw fabulous feasts, and then make sure the leftovers were packed for the return trip north.

    It wasn’t until he was an adult, looking back, that he realized that he and his siblings were deliberately shielded from seeing the “Whites Only” signs and segregated roadside restaurants still extant in the south.

    “Good for your parents!” I said. Children ought to be reared with a strong sense of the ideal. They should be shocked when they discover the real. By exposing American children, far too soon, to the sins of their country, we are ensuring that they will arrive in adulthood already jaded, incapable of the moral indignation that previous generations harnessed as the energy that make their country better.

    Such a great point. Children of all races and creed deserve to have their innocence protected and not exploited by adults using them as political pawns. Yes. And it’s worth noting that black families were on a much better trajectory – even better than in Appalachian white communities of upward mobility. This doesn’t mean things were perfect or ideal, but as I drive through North Minneapolis and see the destruction of generations of black families at the hand of liberal polices starting with LBJ, it’s so maddening. What might have been…

    • #19
  20. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    ‘The Past Spoiled the Present’, a great title for a great essay. There is a long history Nihilism and unfortunately it is rediscovered as if it is something new and unique to our own times.

    This bit of doggerel was written by Theognis of Megara, a Greek lyric poet that lived in the sixth century BC.

    Best of all for mortal beings is never to have been born at all
    Nor ever to have set eyes on the bright light of the sun
    But, since he is born, a man should make utmost haste through the gates of Death
    And then repose, the earth piled into a mound round himself.

    Faith, family, and friends is something that we can nurture in our own lives, or we can surrender it to those whose lives are so empty that the only pleasure left to them is interfering in the lives of others.

    Well done, Jenna.

    That’s very beautiful. Thank you. This is why I love Ricochet: the depth of knowledge and insight is unmatched. Your comment is well taken and has given me much to think about.

    • #20
  21. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Beautiful post Jenna. You portray the same America that I grew up in and likewise lament its passing. I was reminded of several John Cougar Mellankamp songs …

     

     

     

    Well, now you’ve opened my love/hate relationship with JCM, which itself could be a whole post. But music, at least for me, has such a deep emotional connection to memory and pinpointing life’s milestones, joys, and pains that cannot be ignored. I don’t know if it’s true, but I heard Ronald Reagan wanted to use “Little Pink Houses” as part of one of his campaigns (but Mellencamp wouldn’t allow it). These are the soundtracks of our lives. Thank you for this!

    • #21
  22. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    JennaStocker: One would think growing up in the shadows of memories that never belonged to them might grow up to feel jaded.

    ?

    • #22
  23. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Great post, Jenna.  I have a couple of thoughts.

    Thought #1:  I think that kids in the bygone days, which I seem to like better than the present also, were indoctrinated in the schools.  They were indoctrinated to love America.  They were indoctrinated into a certain set of values, essentially Protestant Christianity.  Now they are indoctrinated into a different set of values.  It’s not clear to me that indoctrination is the problem.

    Thought #2:  I liked the Mary Tyler Moore show as a kid, too.  But what if Mary Tyler Moore actually exemplified the change that you and I don’t like?  In her first role, she was Dick Van Dyke’s wife.  They seemed to have a good marriage.  In her second role, she was an independent career woman, who needed a man like a fish needs a bicycle.  And, as I recall the typical plot lines, the youngest person in the newsroom and only woman, Mary, knew best, and all of the older guys were clueless.  Well, maybe except Ed Asner, but only on the occasions when he agreed with Mary.  The presentation of a married couple in Mary Tyler Moore was the idiot, blowhard Ted Knight (playing Ted Baxter) and his airhead of a pretty blonde wife.

     

    • #23
  24. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    JennaStocker: One would think growing up in the shadows of memories that never belonged to them might grow up to feel jaded.

    ?

    Ah, my unfinished thought. I’ll let you fill in the blank.

    • #24
  25. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    I haven’t seen all the episodes of the MTM, but from the ones I saw I got the impression that many of the characters on the show considered marital fidelity to be an optional thing.  Having a fling on the side wasn’t celebrated but it wasn’t portrayed as something to be terribly ashamed of, either.

    • #25
  26. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Great post, Jenna. I have a couple of thoughts.

    Thought #1: I think that kids in the bygone days, which I seem to like better than the present also, were indoctrinated in the schools. They were indoctrinated to love America. They were indoctrinated into a certain set of values, essentially Protestant Christianity. Now they are indoctrinated into a different set of values. It’s not clear to me that indoctrination is the problem.

    Thought #2: I liked the Mary Tyler Moore show as a kid, too. But what if Mary Tyler Moore actually exemplified the change that you and I don’t like? In her first role, she was Dick Van Dyke’s wife. They seemed to have a good marriage. In her second role, she was an independent career woman, who needed a man like a fish needs a bicycle. And, as I recall the typical plot lines, the youngest person in the newsroom and only woman, Mary, knew best, and all of the older guys were clueless. Well, maybe except Ed Asner, but only on the occasions when he agreed with Mary. The presentation of a married couple in Mary Tyler Moore was the idiot, blowhard Ted Knight (playing Ted Baxter) and his airhead of a pretty blonde wife.

     

    I think I understand what you’re saying (although I never claimed to be very smart or clever).

    Thought #1: I agree that indoctrinated by itself isn’t a good thing. Maybe a better way to explain it is that education was centered around academic excellence, citizenship, and basic knowledge standards. I don’t have it off hand, but there are studies that show a rather large gap between what high school graduates know now versus what they knew then (academically speaking). And the then is pretty much any time before now. We are headed in the wrong direction. It is now fashionable to teach obtuse theories and use childhood education as a social experiment in tolerance, identity, and feelings rather than based on concrete practice. Fundamentals and all that. I do think citizenship and civics has fallen by the wayside and I do not think it’s indoctrination per se. But we have responsibilities to each other, our country, and our history. Without that knowledge and understanding, learned at an early age, we creep closer to destruction.

    Thought #2: Mary was never anti-male. Although she was independent, she never declared herself as a victim of the patriarchy. She went on dates, most likely with the end goal of being married. Her best friend Rhoda expressed often expressed such wishes to be married and I don’t recall Mary telling her she’s been been brainwashed by old white dudes who want her barefoot and pregnant. But it has been a while since I’ve seen the whole series start to finish! Further, she got along quite well with Mr. Grant and even Ted, both of whom could be seen as throwbacks to a male-dominated society, and a bit priggish. But Mr. Grant was her best friend at work. Nowadays we have women (I’m assuming since I’m not a biologist) like Taylor Lorenz who see sexism and bigotry under every rock and in every tweet, getting her co-workers reprimanded and suspended for enjoying a joke. Even in Mary Richards’ time of popular feminism, this was never the case on the show. It was funny, lighthearted, and was a good example of how different people with different views can co-exist in the workplace, even be friends and have the same worries and problems as everyone else, (much like another great ensemble show, Cheers) politics be damned. Today preaching political views is the point and the actual show is an afterthought.

    Thanks, Jerry. You always have good things to say and make me think a bit harder about my writing. I appreciate that.

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  27. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I haven’t seen all the episodes of the MTM, but from the ones I saw I got the impression that many of the characters on the show considered marital fidelity to be an optional thing. Having a fling on the side wasn’t celebrated but it wasn’t portrayed as something to be terribly ashamed of, either.

    Yes, I suppose. But no show is perfect and I probably didn’t understand what was going on when I saw it as a kid. Very much unlike the graphic content even on network television today (aren’t I a prude!). And certainly not like the message to young girls and women today that being a “liberated” or modern woman must involve casual sex, meaningless relationships, and abortion.

    • #27
  28. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    JennaStocker (View Comment):
    Mary was never anti-male. Although she was independent, she never declared herself as a victim of the patriarchy. She went on dates, most likely with the end goal of being married. Her best friend Rhoda expressed often expressed such wishes to be married and I don’t recall Mary telling her she’s been been brainwashed by old white dudes who want her barefoot and pregnant. But it has been a while since I’ve seen the whole series start to finish! ,,,

    I happen to have just watched the first episode this week (have there ever been any coincidences) and she is moving to leave behind a two year relationship with a man who would not commit to marriage. Not long into the series he shows up to talk her into reconciling and they are on the verge when, again, he shows feet of clay. Mary is not dreaming of a hot tub rendezvous with Bella Abzug here (apologies for the image, my web site is offering a discount on brain bleach, though).

    And Phyllis is Mr. Roper with a side of Dr. Spock fan girl. Her husband Lars is the constant rejoinder to any sighing about the single life.

    • #28
  29. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    JennaStocker (View Comment):
    Yes, I suppose. But no show is perfect and I probably didn’t understand what was going on when I saw it as a kid. Very much unlike the graphic content even on network television today (aren’t I a prude!). And certainly not like the message to young girls and women today that being a “liberated” or modern woman must involve casual sex, meaningless relationships, and abortion.

    Yes, and it is a blessing. When I was young and foolish I wanted to be a writer and for me that included repressing my prudent side enough to get into the mindsets of people whose actions I abhorred, so that I could use that to build effective portrayals. In the end, many painful decades later, it led me to better understand the importance and utility of the guardrails that proper religion places on our thoughts and manners. 

    Be a prude, firmly and unapologetically. The people who will be offended require offending.

    • #29
  30. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    I know how you feel, I’ve often said and wrote, I joined the Navy in 1964 in the Happy Days/American Graffiti world but in just three years I got out in a different country, the world turned upside down in 1965 with the Great Society programs , the 65 Immigration Act , the flooding of the streets with pills, it was all downhill from there.

    • #30
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