Good morning readers. Thanks for coming bvy for a read this morning.
I don’t have anything much to report, other than cat news, weather news, and various skeletons beating on the doors of the closets of my past life. All of which are causes for unsettling consternation on my own part, but better left hanging out to dry until the moisture’s dripped out of them enough to allow me to make emotional sense of them.
So I’m going to introduce you to someone you mightn’t have encountered, might feel, as I do, you’d like to have him for a neighbor. My personal experience with neighbors is that they’re mostly uninterested in anything I might have to say, except as it serves as a lead-in for something they wish to say. Fred doesn’t appear to be much different in that respect. You won’t get to say anything much back to him, which is typical of neighbors.
However, Fred differs, in that what he says is always interesting, thought provoking, almost never venal. He doesn’t need anything I might say to lead in directions I find mind expanding and challenging. Never inane and never boring:
Fred On Everything —
Scurrilous Commentary by Fred Reed
Making SenseA Guide to Our Times July 8, 2013
For reasons of voume and poor vision I cannot answer much of my email. I know that it is offensive to write and not get a response, but I can’t help it. My apologies.
In 1950 America was conservative, prosperous and, superficially anyway, happy. The war had been won. America had no competition of any kind anywhere. Calm prevailed. The races lived separately with little conflict. Men went to work and women stayed home to raise the kids. The schools saw their job as teaching reading, grammar, spelling, and arithmetic.
Divorce was almost unheard of, bastardy—as it could then be called—close to zero. Drugs, pornography, free love and perversion—as homosexuality was then said to be—were at most distant rumors. Perhaps they could be found in Paris and New York, where such exotics as William Burroughs and Henry Miller abode. These things were mere frissons around the edges.
But change came. Women wearied of substantially empty lives in the suburbs, making peanut butter sandwiches and perhaps secretly drinking themselves silly. They wanted to be lawyers and biologists. It made sense. No moral or legal principle prevented it. Men didn’t want to be Little League slaves, so why should women? The country could use their intelligence. Anyway, it was their business.
So women went wholesale into the workforce. Which meant wholesale out of the home. Thus the latchkeys came into being, unsupervised and wondering whether their parents cared.
Next it was thought desirable to make divorce easier. It was better for all concerned, the thinking ran, to end the union of miserably unhappy couples than to leave them to stew. It made sense. Who wanted to be forever unhappy? Before long, the rate of divorce hit fifty percent.
Pornography became acceptable. It made sense. There was the First Amendment. Besides, what right did a bunch of shriveled prudes in Boston or anywhere else have to tell me that I could not read Tropic of Cancer or The Naked Lunch or The Canterbury Tales? It was a matter of personal conscience. Soon you could see photos on the web of bleeding genitals pierced with fish hooks.
Next it was said that segregation amounted to South African apartheid, which it did, and that it inflicted grave disadvantages on blacks, which it did, and gave America a bad reputation in the world, which it did. So the Supreme Court ended segregation. It made sense. There followed racial hostility and endless problems as the races proved immiscible.
Sexual cohabitation came. Urbanization made it less conspicuous. The Pill made it safe. What was wrong with it? Surely a matter of personal conscience, it was better than leaping into an ill-advised marriage. It made sense. With college and graduate school delaying marriage, living together provided a needed sexual outlet.
Next the divorce courts took cognizance of the propensity of men, who were perverted, brutal, and unconcerned about their children, to wreak havoc if granted custody following the divorce. They had to be controlled. It made sense. Who wanted to sentence kids to that? The description of fathers was credible since it was attested by Lesbian feminists with no interest in either children or men. This ensured objectivity. Soon countless children were growing up without fathers in the care of mothers who couldn’t control them.
Bastardy came, being quickly softened to “illegitimacy.” The perky phrase “single mom” came into style in for whites and “love child” for blacks. It was said, reasonably enough, that nobody had the right to tell women when they could and could not reproduce. It made sense. Anyway, it was a matter of personal conscience. Soon the bastardy rate hit thirty percent among whites and close to eighty among blacks.
Homosexuality then changed from being a perversion to being an orientation, and gays, as they came to be called, came out of the closet. It made sense. Anal sex like any other kind was a question of personal conscience. What business did the government have in the bedroom? Gays were harmless and productive. If Lesbians tended to be disagreeable, they would be as much so in as out of the closet.
What with porn, the celebration of homosexuality, the pill, and relaxation of censorship, society became sexualized to a degree unimaginable in 1950. Scenes of copulation became common in film. But what was wrong with this? Sex, God knows, is natural. Everyone is interested in it. Who wants to live in a prissy atmosphere of Victorian repression? Soon middle-school girls were giving blow jobs to their boyfriends.
Homosexual marriage came. It made sense. Surely people of the same sex can love each other, and what business does society have in telling people who they can marry? It is a matter of personal conscience.
One might ask with an eye to the future, why not polygamy? It makes sense. The same arguments apply as well to it as to homosexual marriage, a point which has not been raised because there are more gays than Mormons. Polygamy is not a perversion, and has a long history in Christianity. Consider the wives of Solomon. Legalizing it makes sense.
Anyway, the schools became feminized, taught by mental dregs since all the smart women were now lawyers and biochemists. Having little interest in learning—the dull never do—they focused on inculcating Appropriate Thought and on turning little boys into little girls. In its way it made sense. Who wanted young Bobby to learn violence from dodge ball and grow up as a rapist and wife-beater?
Drugs? Almost unheard of in 1950, they came to be accepted by all regions of society. Soft drugs, such as grass and Prozac, flowed freely in respectable society. Acid was great fun. Why shouldn’t people use these reality-enhancers if they chose? It made sense. They did less harm than alcohol and tobacco, which were legal. Soon middle-school kids were selling crystal meth.
As it turned out, there were minor downsides to these sensible policies, but nothing serious. Our children are unattended drug-ridden mall rats, often divorce wreckage, our daughters sexually used at thirteen and growing up hating men, our sons drugged by their teachers and shaped into unhappy transgendered puzzloids. Men avoid marriage because of vindictive feminist courts, the young avoid marriage because of assured divorce. The schools and universities have been enstupidated to hide the failures of particular groups and genders, merit has been superseded by group identity, and here come the Chinese.
But it makes sense.
Well, Fred’s view of the world of the 1950s is about as warped as you can devise. In the 50s everything got shoved under the table and in the cupboard. Blacks in Texas got lynched if they attempted to level the playing field. Women were objects, not individuals. Religious bigotry was a way of life. Drugs weren’t talked about but boy they were there with a lot of alcohol to accompany the highs and lows. Higher education was a pursuit of those with economic means with lots of barriers to entry. It was the age of McCarthy and witch hunts. And the threat of thermonuclear war hung thick in the air while an arms race increased the fear factor. Yep! Things were so much better in the 50s.
Lenrosen4: I think you might be misreading what Fred’s saying. If you visited his archives and read a few of his other posts you’d probably get a more accurate perspective on where he’s coming from. Gracias, J
Fred makes some valid points but, as I’m sure you’ve surmised, I can’t agree with all of them. Perhaps the one thing that is sorely lacking in the US is personal responsibility. People will not admit to their mistakes and intentional misdeeds. We’d be much better off if we’d just ‘fess up.
elroyjones: What I said to lenrosen4, below, might apply here. I certainly didn’t intend to suggest I agree on everything he says, nor that I think accepting responsibility is a thing to be avoided. Gracias, J
I read more Fred. Fred is funny. I have never thought you were irresponsible.
I’d love to have both of you as neighbors. Maybe a few wooded acres between for an occasional break.
Hi Ann. Might be we will, if not, I’ll take a raincheck for next lifetime. J
Thanks a lot for this recommendation. I bought one of his books immediately after reading your post. Maybe you ought to start selling collected versions of your own writing… But so far, I do appreciate just reading your blog.