With colder weather and a full lineup of big-time sports programming, many of us are now becoming seasonal couch potatoes. Worse, there are some who keep it up all year-round. Maybe it’s time we look at the consequences…
From a historical perspective, it does seem quite odd—if not shocking—that our nation, formed with a pioneer spirit, featuring individuals who could be called just about anything EXCEPT vicarious could be so transformed. No doubt, even in colonial times, there were always some who would get unduly wrapped up in the machinations of the latest pop culture icon, but most were far too busy for all that. Besides, mass communication was hundreds of years in the future.
For the transformation to occur, three factors would have to merge, and exert their synergistic influence: entertainment, advertising, and government.
By the late 1930’s the moguls had fully created the studio system, and there was no shortage of Depression-scarred patrons for the Hollywood dream factory. With their iron grip on the media, not to mention the LA Police, the moguls could convince millions to drink the sweet Kool-Aid of the multifaceted fantasy. Ironically, they would succeed far too well: Most of the performers ended up believing their own BS, and when that wouldn’t reconcile with the small dose of the real world that even they had to experience, they would often come to a bad end.
Few movie fans at the time seemed to “do the math,” and ponder why so many sex goddesses, such as Jean Harlow, Lana Turner, or Marilyn Monroe, couldn’t hold onto a man. Even fewer would consider the sexual preferences of certain leading men. Every drug has side effects, and the cinematic drug to cloud reality is no exception.
As to advertising, it was David Olgivy himself who once said “You will never win fame and fortune unless you invent big ideas.” Buy this shirt, get the girl; use this brand of makeup, get the guy; take this pill, cure the disease; buy this brand of car, you will attain status…ad infinitum. Great fortunes were founded on these images, and if Olgivy and company were telling us what to do, and how to think, we didn’t have to think for ourselves.
To be sure, somewhere near the core of the 1960’s social revolution was the desire to break away from all the post-World War II conformity and groupthink. Fair enough, until the 60’s developed its own brand of conformity and groupthink.
This morphing of the man in the gray flannel suit to the sensitive liberal with a social conscience was not lost on the power hungry politicos. If unprecedented Supreme Court action (Brown v. Board of Education–1954) could be enacted in a good cause, why not push the envelope with imperial Court outrages in a bad cause, such as Murray v. Curlett (1963), Miranda v. Arizona (1966), and Roe v. Wade (1973)?
But, this would not be the half of it. Government, in all forms, would grow astronomically from the 1960’s onward, insinuating itself into more aspects of people’s lives than FDR could even imagine. Nor, could he imagine how willingly most people would take to exchanging huge portions of their incomes—and their freedoms—to let Uncle Sugar run their lives.
Perhaps Government’s biggest current fraud, carefully timed to achieve its maximum effect as the Baby Boomers get older and sicker, is its creeping control of what is now called “health care.” True health care would have people exerting responsibility for healthy lifestyles, well before they need the DISEASE care funding scheme, that presently is masquerading as health care. More than that, the entire notion of third party payers in this matter, a far cry from the original model of catastrophic expense health insurance, simply forces the costs upward, and the quality usually downward.
In many ways, this parallels a much older government fraud called public education. At its outset, public schools were simply a bigoted reaction to create an alternative to the highly successful Catholic schools. Now, they serve to indoctrinate millions of pliable young minds into the latest Leftist social engineering modality, along with hilariously distorted history. Don’t believe me? Check out any high school history book.
Just think, this destruction of the American persona can be traced to simple sloth, avarice, and envy. No wonder they are capital sins.