What has happened to society?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by geoff_icp, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. Miss Brill

    Miss Brill One Too Many

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    on the edge of propriety

    My grandmother died 2 weeks before my 21st birthday & my cousin and his 2 best friends were 2 years older than I was. We asked the friends to be pall bearers because my grandmother was crazy about them, anyhoo, I remember my mum saying that James, one of the friends, has sold the car CD player he'd stolen so he could buy a white shirt & some Dockers pants to wear. That was just the sweetest thing I'd ever heard, and there is no way in hell I'd have thought, Dockers and a white shirt? Why not a suit?
     
  2. LaMedicine

    LaMedicine One Too Many

    No offense, but in all honesty, I can't consider this sweet, no matter what the intention....
     
  3. Idledame

    Idledame Practically Family

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    So many points to make to catch up!
    When I started school in 1955 girls wore dresses and were not allowed to play at recess because the boys might see our underwear. We had to sit and talk. Glad my daughter could wear pants to school. So I have mixed feelings on the acceptance of casual clothes. I also have pictures of my mom hiking, and on picnics in a dress! Not very practical.
    My husband, who grew up in Detroit, remembers men beating up their wives and kids, whole families getting into fist fights with each other in the middle of the street. Bad behavior was either just regretfully accepted or hidden from sight. That was one of the things the 60's was about, trying to get rid of the hypocrisy. But of course we just substituted our own. But we did get alot of things out in the open.
    As far as Sunday being the Sabbath, Christians always seem to forget that not everyone is like them. Sunday is NOT the sabbath for Jews (not sure, but probably not the sabbath for alot of other religions either).
    I love reading books from the 1700s and 1800s and it is not unusual for an adult in those books to compain about how ill mannered and shocking the children are. So either there has been a continual decline since we came out of the trees or it's just something that happens to people as they get older.
    As far as kids not caring, my daughter can easily spend 3 hours to get that sloppy, casual look! The hair and shoes, etc, still have to be just so even if the results don't look it.
    TV allows words to be used that that used to be forbidden. It is supposed to make TV more like what real people talk like. But then you have all these kids growing up thinking that these are perfectly acceptable words that one can use anywhere and often they don't know any "nicer" words. And that seems sad but then when you think about the fact that so many of our "bad words" are considered bad because of the French making the rules after the Norman Conquest when the French words were considered acceptable and the Ango-Saxon words weren't. And you think how arbitrary it all is. And you can say the same for the clothes, it's very arbitrary why some things are acceptable and some aren't. Why does it drive all of us crazy? That's the question. Why can't we just ignore it? I really wonder that.
    -Someone once said that the purpose of manners is to make people feel at ease. So we need to just show by example I guess.
    Whew!
     
  4. pigeon toe

    pigeon toe One Too Many

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    Excellent points, Idledame! :)
     
  5. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    Well said. It puts me in mind of two things. As clothing is random, the urrent style for youth is to make a statement against the status quo that is stil lpercieved as formal. The irony is that it is not, and what we do here is actually more counter cultural in many ways than what some goth or punk rock kid does.

    Mind you, I never cared for the "neoswing" types in San Franciso I knew that tried to make a political statement out of it as in "we are a tatement against the hippie mentality. We drive gas guzzling cars and eat steak" (paraphrase of Michael Moss, editor of Swingtime magazine.) At the time I was a vegeterian and drove a volkswagon diesel.

    Point being, kids are supposed to rebel and be shocking, just as the teenagers in their zoot suits, bobbie socks, or oxford bags were. But never forget that clothing is always random anyway, and has no real context. I don't considr someone dressing in sweat pants rude to me. What do I care how they look?

    Also, language is random. As people come to use rougher language, it becomes regular language. There was atime when Bloody scandalized a British person. Who would care now? It os all about the power we grant to words or sartorial codes. Or another way of putting it, if it really bothers you, pull the stick out of your ear. People are people and there are as many rude and polite people and kind and mean people as there have ever been. I for one applaud the society that does not force it's members to act a certain way.

    I thnk the main thing is we have become rich enough to actually start caring out the self, even if it means being selfish. For good or bad, we have the luxury of being rude to each other.
     
  6. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    Actua..y, the first step needsto be defining elevation of crassness. I propose that that is such a vague and broad term, especially if applied to a society, that it is useless. Bit I do agree that it is entirely appropriate to point ot certain momensts and short or long periods of time in which dramatic change occured to the cluture. That to me, seems obvious. the country was a vey different place after the late sixties.

    [Sorry, section removed because it discussed politics. Please PM me if you wish to discuss. -HJ]
     
  7. LaMedicine

    LaMedicine One Too Many

    Fashion/clothes

    I recently read an interesting statement in the preface of a book on Kimono history.
    There are 3 basic rules to fashion and they are
    1) clothing changes slowly
    2) inner clothes become outer clothes
    and
    3) casual becomes the formal.
    These three basic rules can be seen to a certain degree in clothes the world over, but it is most clear in traditional Japanese clothes.

    To explain/demonstrate this about kimonos would be OT and get too long anyway, so I'll refrain, but I think 2) and 3) are pretty much apparent these days everywhere. T shirts and camisoles were underwear when I was growing up, but it is now pretty much accepted as outerwear, whether one likes such fashion or not. Whether they truly are sloppy or not, is not due to the items themselves, but how the look is put together, I think.
    All in all, the trend is within the rules of evolving fashion.
     
  8. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    As nearly perfect an expression of that concept as I've ever seen!
     
  9. Dr Doran

    Dr Doran My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Perhaps lexical items (i.e. words) and the cloth one puts on one's back are, in some grand sense, arbitrary indeed, but they are not arbitrary relative to the history that has immediately (and not so immediately) preceded them. If you take the "it's only arbitrary" argument too far, then everything becomes arbitrary and there is no foundation on which to judge, or even describe, anything.
     
  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I guess when I talk about "Crassness" what I mean is this sense that any sense of propriety/impropriety in public conduct should be tossed aside as being "hypocritical," coupled with this notion that everything one does should be as in-your-face aggressive as possible -- the idea that the more vulgar you are the more "authentic" you are. I don't buy that at all, and don't see how it's ever been any kind of an improvement in society.

    Of course, part of that might be my own background. In a lot of ways, we didn't *have* the sixties where I grew up -- we went straight from a culture stuck at about 1952 to 1975 all in one shot, or at least that's how it seemed to me growing up. Suddenly I was being told everything I'd been taught as a child was wrong, and that the only real virtue was letting it all hang out. I didn't agree with that then, and seeing the direction society has gone in the thirty years since, I agree with it even less now. The way to fight hypocrisy is to encourage people to smarten up their private conduct, not to encourage them to act as bad in public as they do in private.
     
  11. Dr Doran

    Dr Doran My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    This is an excellent point and we are inching toward a definition here. And yes, I think a great deal of the issue is this idea that propriety = hypocrisy. And that idea did, in fact, become very popular in the 1968 "revolution."
     
  12. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

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    Good point. It is interesting to read comments about how propriety is somehow square and if I cannot use my bad languge anywhere, anytime that is somehow wrong.
    Are we not able to at least recognize certain inappropriate slang or curse words are not applicable to any situation or venue? The ability to recognize good from bad is sadly lacking today. Call it "common sense".
    I wonder if the cool people use crude language around everyone and think that is acceptable?

    The application and judicious use of curse words separates the men from the boys. :)
     
  13. Dr Doran

    Dr Doran My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    You meant this attitude? "YOU JUST GOTTA LET IT ALL OUT, LET IT ALL GO. NOBODY CAN TELL ME WHAT TO DO. I'M FREE. I DO WHATEVER I PLEASE." Then perhaps a rock lyric that rhymes "school," "cool," "rules" and "fool" such as
    I went to school
    But there were too many rules
    I ain't a fool
    Cause I'm too cool.

    All set to a simplistic beat. The idiot metronome of "rebellion."
     
  14. nobodyspecial

    nobodyspecial Practically Family

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    Some, perhaps most, of using poor language simply seems to arise from parents no longer teaching and enforcing good manners with thier children. Last summer my seven year old daughter and I were running an errand. As we got out of the car a young woman walked past us speaking on her cell phone and cursing so bad a sailor would blush. Before I had a chance to think of something to say to my daughter she said to me, "Don't worry daddy, I know I'm not supposed to talk like that." I let her know how proud I was of her.
     
  15. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

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    That is exactly the attitude.
    Does anyone else notice the older one gets the sillier they look spouting those crusty old lines? lol
     
  16. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Precisely it. And add to that the fact that this "rebellion" is actually being processed, packaged, and sold to youth culture like Spam in a can -- be a rebel, buy this outfit! They think they're sticking it to The Man, while all the time The Man has just found another way to stick it to them. Ca-ching.
     
  17. surely

    surely A-List Customer

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    This discussion reminds me of a Ron Cobb cartoon (which I have not been able to find) from the 60's. Maybe 8 panels, the first is a well dressed youth trying to get the attention of a speaker, perhaps a politician. The speaker ignores the youth, and in each succeeding panel the youth becomes increasingly disheveled until finally there is an explosion. The speaker finally looks at the youth and asks, exasperatedly: Why didn't you say something sooner?

    The 60's, in part, was a time of consciousness exploration, and until the full force of gov't and law enforcement came down, it was an exciting time when taboos were being looked at and in some cases discarded. After the law changed in the late 60's a new subculture began to grow and my impression is that it has quietly established itself.

    Yes, there have been some unintended negative consequences. But I would argue that much more good has been contributed to society. If "blame" is to be ascribed, look at the forces which sought to quelch rather than welcome change.

    One last point. I love to play dress up too and have been quietly amassing an imho exquisite set of vintage hats, coats and shoes which when complete I will be eagerly showing off!

    The questions I have are: Am I too far off topic and Is this too Political?
     
  18. Dr Doran

    Dr Doran My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Lyndon LaRouche, of all people -- a very odd fellow but a genius, and certainly not the monster many paint him as -- noted once that the "counterculture" is only the flipside, not the opposite, of "popular culture."

    He opposed both of these terms to "Culture" which I would now label "the culture formerly known as High Culture." Mozart, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Plato.
     
  19. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

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    Not to go too off topic but it is exactly what I learned in high school with regards to my Punk cohorts.
    Lots of rebelling but not sure against what! lol My companions at CBGB's were are shallow and small minded as those they railed against.

    That line from The Wild One when Brando is asked what he is rebelling against and he replies, "whaddya got"? It is priceless in its description of most rebels.
     
  20. Dr Doran

    Dr Doran My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Tough call. Because of what I have seen, very much like what Joan Didion describes in her short story "Slouching Toward Bethlehem," I am inclined in the opposite direction.

    But as always, Surely, you do present your opinion intelligently and I, for one, appreciate that.
     

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