My wife’s cousin posted this on Facebook moments ago, and it cracked me up.
Dig these hepcats delivering the message, “It’s not how long you make it, it’s how you make it long!” And no, I’m not trying to switch the subject back to pornography. They really said that. On TV. And yeah, in a way, it kind of was pornography.
Yes, boys and girls, before 1972, there were cigarette ads on TV. And while all TV advertising tended to be pretty insipid, almost nothing else exceeded cigarette ads on that score.
Can’t you just see Don Draper thinking this one up between naps on the couch in his office?
What’s a TV commercial, you ask? You know, those irritating things that come on when you watch a sporting event on TV. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to see them. At least, that’s the only time I see them, which means I don’t see them much. (I’ve watched a little of the Winter Olympics, but I can’t bring myself to stick with it past maybe one commercial break. Then it’s back to “Britannia” or “Detectorists” or old episodes of “The West Wing” on Netflix or Prime.)
Worse, back in the day they were often a whole minute long, even though this one is closer to the modern length. Thank merciful heaven.
I look back at this, and take heart: Yes, some things about our society and culture have gotten better in my lifetime…
This is refreshing, a post that is positive. There are lots and lots of things that have gotten much, much better including the entire cigarette culture. Some others: Blue laws are gone; marijuana is legal in many places; motor vehicle travel is much, much safer; polio and small pox have been eradicated; flying is much, much, much safer; Jim Crow laws are gone; typewriters are gone; smart phones exist; craft beer proliferates; you can now watch a movie or tv show that you missed the first time around; ties are no longer necessary in virtually all situations and so on. Yes we complain about sagging pants and salty language in public but really isn’t it a better time to be alive now than in 1962?
Dang, after you praised me for being positive, I hate to quibble, but….
Obviously, you’ve mentioned quite a few good things. “craft beer proliferates” is a good ‘un, although that’s of greater use to people who have more disposable income than I: I noticed last night that a six-pack from River Rat cost $10.99 at Publix.
But “a better time to be alive now than in 1962?” Gosh, if only you hadn’t picked THAT year, the one that “The Catalog of Cool,” a book I love, called “The Last Good Year.”
But seriously, folks. You mention “Jim Crow laws are gone.” Yep, and when did that happen? In the 60s.
Not to be Captain Bringdown when we’re all being positive, but… Do you think that, if it hadn’t happened back then, today’s America would pass the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act today? Really? The America that elected Donald Trump as president?
I don’t think so. Because we aren’t, right now, the kind of society that does things like that.
In the 60s, we were. In 1962, we were the society that would soon do those things.
Why? Because we were, as a country, more unified, more confident, more generous. We were bigger than we are now, less petty. We were better able to garner support to deal with our problems. We were able to do things, for instance, like passing gun control laws. We did that in response to the assassination of JFK. We did it because of the death of one man. Today, we can’t do it even in response to the killing of scores of children.
America in 1962 was a country ready to pay any price, bear any burden. Now, we’re all huddled in out little cliques, afraid that someone else is going to get something at our expense. We’re petty; we’re mean.
If I had to get something worthwhile done, and had the option, I’d rather have 100 random Americans from 1962 to help me do it than a random 100 from today. We were a can-do country back then.
Yes, I can see how this discussion might devolve into another fruitless digression about Vietnam, but let’s see if we can avoid that, and address the points bud and I have made above…
“America in 1962 was a country ready to pay any price, bear any burden. ”
And then they blew it by sending off troops to fight an undeclared war against a country that wasn’t a threat to the U.S.
You have to stop watching Turner Classic Movies and Ozzie and Harriet on repeat. It wasn’t better in 1962 for anyone but a white guy with a decent job. Yeah, all the white guys were pretty much unified and confident about their ability to keep it that way.. but for everyone else, it was a struggle. Women, gays, blacks, you name it.. Nevermind the constant Red Scare used to keep people afraid enough so they’d support building up the military industrial complex.
1968 was one bad thing after another. Today, a crisis is Donald Trump sending out a tweet with a curse word in it.
Speaking of 1962… I heard a story on the way into work this morning that kids are coming to school not knowing how to hold a pencil correctly… the description they used was a caveman holding a stick in his fist. Why you ask? they don’t color, draw or scribble anymore as toddlers… but they can swipe a cell phone or tablet screen better than most adults. The future…
You guys will never see it, will you?
Well, go ahead and keep thinking you live in the best of all possible times. May it make you deliriously happy….
Oh, and I don’t have to “watch Turner Classic Movies and Ozzie and Harriet.” I was alive, and conscious of my surroundings, then.
I know that the country felt really, really different. When we had a challenge — Jim Crow, guns, poverty, you name it — we rose to the occasion.
Now, we’re paralyzed. We got more done, in terms of shaping a better country, in 1964 and 1965 than we’ve done in all the years since. This is fact….
That societal conditions at the time made it necessary to fight for those things doesn’t make it a better time. The racism of 2018 is a whole lot different from the racism of 1968. Now we have protests when a black actor isn’t nominated for an Academy Award.
They didn’t just “fight for” an issue back then; they got things done.
“Fight for” is modern-day language. It’s what politicians of both parties do instead of getting things done. They go to Washington (especially, but it happens on the state level, too) and yell and wave their arms about, and “fight,” and then beg you to send them more money because those wicked people over there — the ones they’re “fighting” — won’t cooperate.
It’s all about posturing, and keeping the perpetual conflict between two irreconcilable poles spinning…
coincidentally, from Twitter today: #OTD in 1965, Jimmie Lee Jackson dies after being shot by state police, following a peaceful voting rights march in Marion, AL. Jackson’s death inspired civil rights leaders to hold the Selma to Montgomery marches. Learn more @HISTORY: https://t.co/Fkdc0q84dD
I guess Jimmy didn’t get the memo about it not being a fight.
“Well, go ahead and keep thinking you live in the best of all possible times. May it make you deliriously happy….”
Sure beats waking up grumpy, sitting crabbily at “the club” reading the horrible headlines of today over breakfast, dragging your feet off to work, writing on a blog all day about how Trump is going to be the death of us all, sulking home to start the day over tomorrow. If you were a cartoon character you’d be the guy with the storm cloud over his head.
And that character would called, Mr. Reality…
Mr. Reality… the miserable old man that people easily tire of and eventually ignore who longs for life a generation before his own. Hobbies include yelling at clouds, chasing kids off his lawn, and shaking his fist at fellow drivers.
“Because we aren’t, right now, the kind of society that does things like that.
In the 60s, we were. In 1962, we were the society that would soon do those things.”
A review of a recent book on the Great Society programs says that division has been the norm for most of America’s political history – and that the periods that created the New Deal and Great Society were the exceptions to that and only happened because of a unique set of converging developments. As the reviewer puts it:
“…legislative victories of the Johnson years represent an anomaly in America’s political culture, which is typically dominated by corporations and politicians hostile to even modest redistributions of wealth and power to workers and the poor. For Julian Zelizer, it was only LBJ’s good fortune in having Goldwater as his opponent ‘that created unusually good conditions in Congress for passing domestic bills.’ For Jefferson Cowie, the ‘great exception’ of the New Deal and Great Society depended critically on solid backing from white working-class voters. The anti-poverty program coupled with the Immigration Act of 1965 unintentionally eroded that base. The ‘Reagan revolution,’ writes Cowie, was simply a ‘restoration’ of the individualism that had been the norm in governance before the Great Depression and the early decades of the Cold War.”
“Johnson and his aides were certainly adept at the legislative arts. But with their party commanding two-thirds margins in both houses of the 89th Congress, which met in 1965 and 1966, they could have been less adroit and still enacted a large chunk of their reform agenda.”
Gay marriage is now legal. So things DO get done today.
Yes… and that it is still not a national law is because of the lingering mindset of old people raised in the 50’s and 60’s. Same for marijuana legalization. It’s inevitable once the Reefer Madness fools die off.
The smoking culture didn’t change much until the 80s. As I’ve noted on other occasions traffic safety concern really took off in the 70s. The current Metoo movement reflects a very recent, and positive, cultural change. It is clear that society continues to evolve in a mostly positive direction. I think Brad in reminiscing a bit too much too see the good things about today’s culture. Little River Band anyone?
You mean when automakers figured out that a 6000 pound vehicle isn’t necessarily the safer vehicle in a head on collision with a 4500 pound vehicle? Or the invention of the collapsible steering column so they don’t have to find a torch to cut grandpa off the steering column before they take him to the morgue? Throw in anti-lock brakes, air bags, crumple zones, reinforced crash bars, etc…
And no one is more grateful for what happened with smoking in the ’80s than I.
But, as always, I’m concerned about our civil institutions, and about the breakdown in our political system’s ability to grapple with a difficult issue meaningfully.
Smoking was a social revolution. Workplace after workplace decided to go smokeless. And then, WAY late, local governments started making public accommodations smokeless.
You mention same-sex marriage. That’s an issue that was close to being ready to break to the pro side. It already had, in a lot of jurisdictions. It was progressing quickly. But how did it happen? By judicial fiat. Our republican institutions were bypassed, just as it was becoming acceptable for elected representatives to support the change.
Seriously, when’s the last time legislative bodies accomplished anything that big? When’s the last time anything as big as the Civil Rights Act or Medicare was enacted? The Affordable Care Act was a sad, feeble thing by comparison, and what else is there recently?
And why is that? Because we’re so polarized, and almost no one in politics is willing to work with “those other people” to accomplish anything. What little that does get accomplished happens on party-line votes — one group of people cramming it down the throats of another group of people — because for the moment, they have a majority plus one.
Our system of government is the greatest thing that the Founders of the country bequeathed us. And it has hardening of the arteries; it can hardly move…
” And it has hardening of the arteries; it can hardly move…”
Arteries clogged by endless “wars”, over-regulation, incompetence in execution by the government over and over again, and politicians corrupted by power and money. Unfortunately there is no Lipitor available to clear out that sclerosis. A massive dose of term limits and injecting a third party into the veins would help a lot.
Meanwhile, Dianne Feinstein is trying to run for another term at age 84. And will likely win. That’s what the current system allows.
“Meanwhile, Dianne Feinstein is trying to run for another term at age 84. And will likely win. That’s what the current system allows.”
There are age limits for jobs that require sharp mental skills like pilots… I don’t understand how running the country is any different as far as mental faculties. I don’t care who you are, at 84 you’re not as mentally sharp as you as when you were in your 40’s 50’s or 60’s. Nobody should be allowed to run for office after the age of 65. Ruth Bader Ginsberg are you listening? How about you Hugh Leatherman?
Ahem… as a 64-year-old, allow me to point out that lots of good people can’t afford to serve until they retire. Most people, for instance, can’t take off half the year from their jobs to serve in the Legislature.
I’m all for young attorneys like my representative, Micah Caskey. But I like the idea of people retired from other lines of work being part of the deliberative process as well…
Are you as mentally sharp as you were 20 years ago? How about 10? Will you be as mentally sharp 4-8-12 years from now as you are today?
Depends on what you mean. I could probably write faster, remember song lyrics more completely, function for longer hours 20 years ago. But I know a lot more now.
Twenty probably isn’t the best measure. I was already editorial page editor 20 years ago, and my abilities today are pretty comparable.
Go back another 20, to my cocky days as a young reporter. I was quick, clever and creative. Funny, too. I had abilities that would make me a more entertaining blogger today. (All wasted on little gags I’d write — on a typewriter, of course — and share with a friend or two, and that would be that…)
But I was a young idiot in so many ways. I shudder to think of the things I thought I KNEW back then, and how little I understood.
That’s why I’m so impressed when I meet a really young person, such as Micah, who has his head on straight, and a sense of perspective. It’s rare….
I said “remember song lyrics more completely” because of something I noticed, to my shock, a few years back: I realized I no longer knew ALL of the Beatles’ lyrics by heart.
It’s like some governing function in my brain had gone into spring cleaning mode one day when I wasn’t looking, saying, “He hasn’t used these in years; chuck ’em out to make some room.” Kind of like the time my Mom threw out my brother’s baseball cards, which he still complains about.
Anyway, that’s probably the one thing I’ve noticed most obviously in terms of diminished function over the years.
I’ve also forgotten calculus, but who cares?
24 Senators are older than 70. 8 are over 80. That’s ridiculous. What they bring to the table in experience, they also lack in RECENT experience. They (like most old people) get more and more set in their ways and don’t seek out new ideas or new perspectives. Patrick Leahy has been in office for more than 40 years! Grassley, Hatch, McConnell more than 30. If you want to point a finger at what’s wrong with American government, look no further than all the old codgers who should have retired more than a decade ago.
The rules have changed on how changes occur but that doesn’t negate the fact that positive change is transpiring. Brad, you’re splitting hairs. Also, I maintain the polarization is because of 1 of the political parties not both.
Democrats are being just as stubborn now.. They can’t give Trump anything before the midterm elections . They are totally playing a strategic game to see if they can gain control of Congress first. Dreamers are being used as a pawn and don’t even know it.
Trump is king. The queens are winning the gay rights battle. Dreamers are pawns. The middle class is rooked by the so-called Trump tax cuts. The Bishops in the Catholic Church continue to look the other way. Maybe Brad is right and it’s a dark knight in America.
Nicely done, Bud.
“By judicial fiat. Our republican institutions were bypassed….”
Uh-huhn. You mean like how our republican institutions were bypassed in 1954 by the “judicial fiat” known as Brown v. Board? I guess black kids shoulda been told they would just have to wait a few more years (maybe decades?) for whites to progress to the point where they were willing to let the laws catch up. It’s always so easy to tell other people THEY need to wait. There are some “jurisdictions” that might not’ve gotten there even now.
A standard reaction, particularly from the left. A person laments the social cohesion of the ’50s, or wants laws to be made by lawmakers — you must be an opponent of social justice! Argument over!
Let’s see… Brown v. Board was in 1954.
The Civil Rights Act was in 1964.
And South Carolina schools actually became integrated in what… 1970, I believe. So yeah, Brown wrought miracles.
Judicial fiat, remember, can cut any which way. I refer you to Dred Scot, and Plessy v. Ferguson…
I probably have far more faith in our courts, overall, than most people on the left or the right. I don’t look at the courts through a partisan lens. I concentrate on the fact that most decisions are unanimous or nearly so, and that gives me faith in the system.
But I also have a strong sense of the right way to implement change, and that’s through our legislative bodies. Lincoln knew that. I just watched Spielberg’s movie again over the weekend, and was reminded of how he was prepared to do virtually ANYTHING to achieve a legislative solution to slavery. Thank God…
The legislative branch should make the laws, and the judiciary interpret them. It’s not just Civics 101, it’s the best way for things to work if we’re to have a representative democracy with some modicum of support from the population — something that has eroded drastically in our lifetimes, hence Trump…
Are you still complaining about the election? Trump ran, won his party’s nomination and then won the general election for that office. What part of the system broke… according to your logic? You make Trump’s nomination as being a bad decision by Republicans, what’s your explanation for Hillary being the Democrat’s nominee? Both were the best choice per their party.
They were both lousy choices — the two least-popular people in national politics at the time of the election. That, right there, tells you how broken things were.
What else went wrong? Trump got elected. The system devised by Madison, Hamilton, et al., was NOT supposed to let something like that happen. Of course, they intended for the Electoral College to continue to work as they designed it, which definitely hasn’t happened.
The system also failed in 1828 when Jackson beat Adams. (It had worked four years earlier, when Jackson won the popular vote but the House gave it to Adams.)
But as unqualified as Jackson was compared to Adams, that failure doesn’t hold a candle to 2016, when a man unfit on so many other levels was elected…
Well, whatcha gonna do… I mean besides complain?
Trump won the electoral college vote, how did he cheat to do that? He played by the same rules that Hillary did and won.
Maybe you can get with Pelosi and Feinstein to change how electoral votes are tabulated. Maybe Democrats can have their score doubled in the end.
I didn’t say he cheated. Not that he wouldn’t have if he could have, but I’m not saying he did.
I’m saying what’s wrong is that he got elected, which is the kind of thing Hamilton promised wouldn’t happen…
“I’m saying what’s wrong is that he got elected, which is the kind of thing Hamilton promised wouldn’t happen…”
What exactly did this guy say over 200 years ago? That a rich guy the media hates will never become President??? I haven’t a clue as to what Hamilton said, stood for, or ever did besides get his face put on the $10 bill. And I haven’t seen the Broadway play which I’m sure presents his life in a factual, non-liberalized way.
Hamilton wrote, in Federalist 68, that “the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” He intended the Electoral College to prevent the election of someone whose only “qualification” is “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity.”
It would also discourage “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”
As to those foreign powers, “How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?”
Unfortunately, we no longer have the Electoral College that he and the other Framers designed…
“Unfortunately, we no longer have the Electoral College that he and the other Framers designed…”
Back when only land owners could cast a vote, and before women and blacks had the right to vote. Back when there were about 500,000 people total in this country which was run by only those with money and a strong family name. The simpler times. You should really get yourself one of those MAGA caps.
There is no one “right way” to implement change.
Passage of the 13th Amendment was no more based on consensus than any court decision. Applying your measure, it wasn’t anymore “right” than if a court had ruled slavery unconstitutional. Neither has “wrought miracles.”
Obviously you’re not really interested on social justice if you believe courts should have justice defer to institutional timetables and the will of benighted majorities.
The foremost reason for the sagging support for government institutions and, especially, government action is that one of the parties of government has over the past quarter century built its success on denigrating government institutions and governmental action. So suggesting that “judicial activism” is the source of the problem amounts to nothing more than mouthing that party’s propaganda.
“The foremost reason for the sagging support for government institutions and, especially, government action is that one of the parties of government has over the past quarter century built its success on denigrating government institutions and governmental action.”
Alternate theory: Sometimes the government is wasteful, inefficient, and there’s no accountability when things are screwed up. And, you know…that sort of hurts support.
Yeah, that accounts for, maybe, 5 percent of the problem. The rest is ideology, completely independent of reality.
And keep this in mind: If government could somehow be perfect, a certain portion of the population would decry it as “wasteful, inefficient, and there’s no accountability…” There are people who are just like that…
Nope, that party has been more adept at finding scapegoats than “waste, fraud and abuse.”
I’d put the number at closer to 30% in terms of waste and 60% inefficient. I spent ten years deep inside the U.S. Postal Service and the old joke about “How many people work there? About half” is quite true.
And why is that? Just as Bryan stated – lack of accountability. Plus having to appease every politician who wants to bring home the pork for his/her district. That’s inefficiency and waste built into the system by default.
As for one party being at fault, that’s a good joke. If Democrats could get focused for once on big issues they might win more elections and gain control. I don’t hear Democrats as a party calling for reducing the military or going for single payer. Why is that?
And you guys act as if every American hasn’t had personal experiences with the government that would lead to a view that it is inefficient.
And then look at the total you paid for last year for federal, state, property, and sales tax and tell me you got good value for your money. My wife and I contribute 40% or more in total. That’s too much.
Tell me when you fill out your tax forms in April whether the system is efficient. Oh, you can’t do it yourself and have to pay someone to do it for you? Enough said.
Some of us see the 99 percent of government services that are working just fine.
Doug sees the 1 percent that isn’t and says that’s all there is.
Doug should try living in a country where the government actually doesn’t work. I’ve lived in the Third World. It’s educational…
“Some of us see the 99 percent of government services that are working just fine.”
Obviously you haven’t been to the DMV recently.
Maybe you haven’t been there recently.
Actually, under Govs. Hodges and Sanford, the DMV was considerably revamped and made more efficient and easier to do business with.
After those changes, most people said it was functioning quite well. Last time I had to go, I got things done pretty quickly, without hassles.
Everybody I’ve heard that says that except Doug. I think I’ve heard him complain about it since then, but I haven’t heard it from anyone else. Not much pleases Doug…
Now watch, since I’ve said that — several people will bitch about it. Why? Because everybody, everywhere, complains about the DMV. Why? Because it’s the one part of government most people deal with, and most people don’t like having to go to the trouble. Having to do it at all is, to them, a hassle. They’d prefer to get their licenses renewed by magic…
Good one.. got a good laugh out of that one.
IRS, TSA, VA.. start with those three. Which are efficient?
SC DOR, DSS, DOT… stellar performers there, right?
Richland County: Pretty much anything except the library system is a joke.
You keep trying to convince me that 99% of the experiences I’ve had over 35+ years with government have been good ones. All I have to fall back on is reality.
Nope. I gave up trying to convince you long ago. And yes, I know that you’ll laugh at anything that doesn’t match your dark view.
You also want me to respect your experience as an editor when it comes to state government but don’t want to listen to my stories about working (for years) as a consultant at the federal and state level… and having a spouse who works at the county level.
Run for office or get a job with the government. Your blinders may come off then.
I’ve listened to your stories, and those of everyone else — almost certainly more perspectives than you’ve heard.
I have no blinders. I just have perspective. I’m looking at the whole thing, not just this or that thing that bugs me (or bugs someone).
My view isn’t dark. It’s carefully honed after years of hands on experience that you don’t have – not stories from people who live in your small circle.
I’ve run for office. Have you done that?
I’ve had my own business for five years in Richland County. Have you done that?
I’ve worked on-site at the US Postal Service, the Dept. of Justice, multiple state universities, and the South Carolina Secretary of State’s office. Have you done that?
I have a spouse who works in Richland County schools for 20 years and also on federal grants for four years. Can you match that?
Now tell me about the stories you’ve heard. That will surely change my mind.
I’ll tell you a story.
Back when I was a copy boy at The Commercial Appeal, part of my job was to make a late-night run to the main Post Office distribution center to pick up the newspaper’s mail (driving through what was then a pretty dicey part of Memphis, with the hookers on the street corners calling out, “Honey, want a DATE?”).
I went into the building through a loading dock, and went up to a counter, where I was always the only “customer.” The guy behind the counter — always the same guy — would get up, and start “walking” across the football-length floor where mail was being sorted, at a pace I would have thought impossible. His insolent, “screw you” saunter was slower than I would have thought a human being could move. Step. Wait. Step… It was an extended performance, all the way across the building. Then he’d disappear from view, and a few minutes later re-emerge, and come back just as slowly. I marveled at his dedication to showing me how little he cared about my errand. I wondered whether he had some personal, private reason for hating the newspaper, or whether it was just me. I considered the possibility that he had a neurological problem, but rejected that theory. I marveled at him. I would not have had the patience to move that slowly for that length of time — I’d have gotten impatient and wanted to finish and do something else. He was amazing.
Anyway, I’d end up being there for 15 minutes on something that shouldn’t have taken more than two. Then I’d hurry back to the paper with the sack of mail, quickly distribute all the newsroom mail into the appropriate pigeonholes, leave the mail for business-side departments for them to deal with the next day, and get on with the many other things I had to do that night.
And you know what conclusion I drew from that? This: That guy was a real a__hole.
I did not use it as the basis of a political philosophy….
My point being… everybody has stories…
I don’t say “judicial activism” is THE source of the problem. It’s A source, as is the cause you cite…
It’s A source mainly for those, like you, who resent that courts allowed women the right to seek abortions.