Sunday, December 09, 2007

1967 was a long time ago

We saw a children's play yesterday. It was written in the 1950s, and it reminded me of how much culture has changed in 50 years.

One of the curious comic anachronisms is that the "bad" kids smoke cigars in the school bathrooms. Of course at that time most adults smoked everywhere, including in school offices and teacher meeting areas. So high school students smoking cigars in the bathroom would have seemed a funny exaggeration of everyday life.

In 2007, when middle class grade school kids rarely see anyone smoking anywhere, it's mostly weird - a message from an alien world. I guess the modern comic equivalent would feature body piercings.

Our culture has changed more than we usually recognize. Consider this prescient corporate video ...
Warming and the Right - New York Times

... This week, though, a short, uncannily accurate clip from “1999 A.D.,” a film made in 1967 by Philco-Ford, got lots of attention online when it was posted to the Ultimate News Flash blog ( The film’s depictions of electronic commerce and e-mail are about as spot-on as they could be, though the filmmakers failed to forecast changes in attitudes toward sex roles. “What the wife selects on her console will be paid for by the husband on his counterpart console,” the narrator declares. She is in the kitchen, buying clothes; he is in the den, paying bills....
When we were kids in Quebec (Napoleonic legal code) I think my mother wasn't allowed to give permission for medical procedures. Only the male could do that ...

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