Wish Upon a Star
written by Laramie:
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In 1939, in the movie "Gone With the Wind", Clark Gable spoke the words "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." And in a 1978 movie, Mae West uttered the famous line, "Is that a pistol in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me.?" And it's been all downhill since those "immortal" words were spoken. After that, movie cursing progressed, slowly but relentlessly. Hell, Son-of-a-Bitch, Goddamn, one at a time dared to show up in a movie until finally "Summer of Sam" spewed out the "F" word 435 times. A Steve Martin film, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" let go with the "F" beauty 18 times within a minute or so of dialogue. And these were non-pornographic pictures, and don't include a "documentary", with the "F" word as its title, where the "F" word was used 824 times. Does this sound like "Give them an inch, and they'll take a mile.?"
There is no secret that sex in the movies has run rampant. In the old days, when a man and a woman kissed, closed mouthed and fully dressed, to suggest that any other hanky-panky was going on, the two would enter a room, a bedroom of course, and the door would slowly close. We all knew what was going on, it was just left up to our imagination to picture it in our mind. Then Jane Russell came along and showed off her bosoms, still enclosed in a tight sweater, and things really took off. The public, I guess, liked what they saw, and it kept coming. Now, of course, total nudity, bedroom scenes where nothing is left to our imagination, including all the descriptive words, all seem to be a routine addition to whatever plot is taking place. And sometimes that is the plot. Is a kiss just a kiss?
Does "one thing lead to another?" Take the fashion history of women, for example. In the early 1900's, total modesty prevailed, full length skirts, and no skin seen from the neck down. In the '30's to '50's, dresses came "way" up to the knees, and some daring ladies even wore pants. Then the '50's took hold and immodesty and "shocking" exposure of the female form began to surface and lasted thru the '90's. At present, forget it, no holds barred, from see-through tops to thong bikinis, where few, if any, parts of the female anatomy are sacred or hidden. And most men, in mock rage, screamed, "Down with hot pants." Are we getting the picture yet?
Up through the '60's, many junior and senior high schools had strict dress codes. Appearance, and pride of neat and appropriate dress, was thought to play a part in good classroom behavior and also could stimulate students to do better work. When the Beatles and Elvis showed up, that all changed. Hair no longer had to be cut, then belts didn't have to be worn by the boys, and girls could let it all hang out, more or less. In the classroom, behavior that was previously taboo became commonplace. Tardiness, truancy, failure to do assigned homework, all of this increased at an alarming rate. Administrators hesitated to clamp down and enforce prior restrictions on the students, probably knowing that the courts would use the Freedom of Speech amendment that allowed almost any kind of self expression. Self expression may be great, but, some would argue, at what expense? If the kids were expected to dress up like the classroom was a place for learning rather than a Friday night party, no doubt their attitude and educational progress would improve. A first step is the beginning to every journey.
Now, that's not to say that all progressive behavior is bad, just that it does happen. And of course whether the progression is good or bad, that's a value judgment. Take Women's Suffrage. Who could deny that giving the women the right to vote started a revolution in all sorts of privileges and responsibilities that, prior to that decision, weren't available to them. Women run for office, are elected, and help shape the future of America. They own corporations, head up school districts, fly jet fighter planes and carry guns in time of war. That's a long, winding road our wives and sweethearts have travelled, from second class to influential citizens, and some men would ask, "What took so long?" And it very well started with the right to vote.
And of course, when slavery was abolished, the social structure of America, and attitudes, changed dramatically. It's a matter of public record what African Americans have accomplished since that controversial time in the history of America. The list of bigoted barriers, blocked opportunities and cruel treatment is endless and embarrassing to many in the "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave": the right to be free, to vote, to own property, to marry, to hold office, a right to play all Major League sports, win Academy Awards, buy homes in any and all neighborhoods of their choice, almost unbelievable restrictions that today seem like some fictional novel. But one by one, because slavery was outlawed, the paths to these rights have been cleared, so that it's almost like African Americans are on an even playing field with all Americans. Progression from slavery to freedom!
The point is clear, and has been said many times. "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." Whatever we wish for or whatever action we take that we believe to be beneficial, probably has a lot of dirty baggage that we have to drag along with it. Do we really want to take the first step in a Government run health care plan? Or have the Government buy out many privately owned corporations, or give tax money to bankrupt businesses, or raise taxes only on the rich, or "borrow" money from the Social Security fund? Or fight another war? Or allow gay marriage? Let's be careful what we wish for, and what action we take that we think would solve a problem or make us happier. "Be careful of that first step, it's a doozy."
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