Tradition is not a fetish to be prayed to-but a useful record of experiences. Time should bring improvement-but not all old things are worthless. We are served by both the moderns and the ancients. The balanced man is he who clings to the best in the old-and appropriates the desirable in the new. – Richard Steele
With all things there are differences throughout each generation. Changes in how things are viewed, perceived, and even in language terms.
During the fifties a cigarette was called a “fag”. In the very early days of the cartoon, “The Flintstones”, Fred and Barney appear in a commercial smoking a cigarette advertising a cigarette brand. Commercials for cigarettes are now a thing of the past. The biggest change that has been seen in the past ten years is what is called, “vaping”. It has recently come to the forefront that many of the vaping products contain nicotine. Nicotine just has a new packaging, still very addictive and one of the causes of lung cancer.
1971 saw a television series created by Norman Lear, “All in The Family”. For the first time ever the character “Archie Bunker” uses the term, “fag”, not in reference to a cigarette, but as a slur about gay men. The same series brought to America a female impersonator. Now that same person would now be called a “drag queen”. A man now dressing in woman’s clothes is now said, “to be in drag”. All in Family began to show a married couple sleeping in the same bed. Most sitcoms during the fifties and the sixties couples were always shown as sleeping in twin beds. There were also some episodes that dealt with rape, in past decades it was alluded to, but never was said. In another episode the character “Edith” deals with menopause. Again, a first for television, it was previously joked about as “the change of life”.
Even though some things seem to change, others are stubborn, adamant to stay in a past era. The topic of sex was discussed in hushed terms, never openly discussed. Once again the seventies bring about change concerning the discussion of sex. The television series, “Mash” was openly dealing with sexual issues, even though it was done in a joking manner.
Sex is openly discussed today, nothing is held back. Pornography was only to be found in some dark corner of a store. It is now prevalent and easily accessed with a couple of clicks of the mouse on any personal computer. Today’s child knows more about the subject than of those in my generation. Parents are comfortable talking with their children around the issues of puberty, reproduction, and sexually transmitted diseases. The topics of rape, incest, and other issues can be found in many dramas seen in prime time television.
Marijuana is also viewed differently today compared to bi-gone eras. To mention it was done in dark alleys and purchased in a cloaked manner. Possession of it could mean some time in jail. Now, here in Canada and many states it is legal to possess and even grow plants. A person in Canada can have up to four plants growing in their residence. It now comes in designer plants.
The same can be said about all things dealing with mental health. In the era of the big movie studios mental health was always a joke, and if it was mentioned at all the character was always in some sanitarium. Jokes about straight jackets and rubber rooms were very prevalent in movies and early television. Mental health was never talked about in family setting and education about the issues were non-existent.
Today is much different. Groups like, “Better Help” have brought the issue of mental health directly into the homes of America and Canada through the avenue of well produced and written commercials. The term, “bi-polar” is recognized and when mentioned most understand what it is and many will have either dealt with it or know someone who has.
So dear reader, there are some differences that I have seen throughout my sixty years of living. For many under the age of forty have only known a more open and inclusive life style. There are no hang-ups about sexual orientation, sexual intercourse, gay or hetero and mental health is discussed openly. I ask you, dear reader, what differences, if any, have you seen in your life around you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section for others to read!