I recently read someplace that you can supposedly tell what a new century will ultimately be about by the time you reach the fifteenth year of that century. In other words, the issues and overarching trends that will define the century are, according to this theory, already shaping up in that first decade and a half. If that’s true… if the past fifteen years are any sort of guide to the 21st century as a whole…
Is it any wonder I’ve practically made nostalgia into my own personal religion?
I’m going to go home and watch The Rockford Files now.
Superman wasn’t the only Eisenhower-era hero who had something to say about the American ideal. Here’s Batman saying essentially the same thing in somewhat blunter terms… as Batman does, of course:
Like I said yesterday, these old PSAs look quaint and preachy, even laughable, to our jaded modern eyes, like those 16mm educational films that people, ahem, of a certain age will remember drowsing through in school. You know, those much-spliced, color-faded, warbly-sounding propaganda pieces that showed little Billy becoming a better citizen by getting to his box-boy job on time every afternoon, or whatever. In all their simplistic earnestness, though, these comic-book messages deliver a powerful signal-to-noise ratio. Of course, they were created as a response to the rampant bigotry and xenophobia of their day — the 1950s really weren’t some perfect age of grace that we fell from with the coming of the sexual revolution, no matter what conservatives like to imagine. And how sad is it that they are still so brutally relevant today, nearly 70 years after the fact?
But I like to think that’s as much because of the timelessness of their values as the tenacity of the ills they address. Remember, kids: “Don’t believe those crackpot lies about people who worship differently, or whose skin is of a different color, or whose parents come from another country. Remember our American heritage of freedom and equality!“