Sunday, June 18, 2006

Now That's Hilarious!

In many of my posts about the current video-game controversy, I’ve commented on how history repeats itself, and how every generation believes that the following generation’s dominant form of entertainment is evil, will lead to a breakdown in morals and spells the end of civilization as we know it.

Well, while doing a little surfing on yesterday, I came across this little gem. I thought I’d share it with you. It’s essentially quotes denouncing all the other things that were going to ruin civilization.

It’s funny as hell.


"The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge. Parents take care to feed their children with wholesome diet; and yet how unconcerned about the provision for the mind, whether they are furnished with salutary food, or with trash, chaff, or poison?"

  • Reverend Enos Hitchcock, Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family, 1790

The Waltz

"The indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced ... at the English Court on Friday last ... It is quite sufficient to cast one's eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs, and close compressure of the bodies ... to see that it is far indeed removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is ... forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion."

  • The Times of London, 1816


"This new form of entertainment has gone far to blast maidenhood ... Depraved adults with candies and pennies beguile children with the inevitable result. The Society has prosecuted many for leading girls astray through these picture shows, but GOD alone knows how many are leading dissolute lives begun at the 'moving pictures.'"

  • The Annual Report of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 1909

The Telephone

"Does the telephone make men more active or more lazy? Does [it] break up home life and the old practice of visiting friends?"

  • Survey conducted by the Knights of Columbus Adult Education Committee, San Francisco Bay Area, 1926

Comic Books

"Many adults think that the crimes described in comic books are so far removed from the child's life that for children they are merely something imaginative or fantastic. But we have found this to be a great error. Comic books and life are connected. A bank robbery is easily translated into the rifling of a candy store. Delinquencies formerly restricted to adults are increasingly committed by young people and children ... All child drug addicts, and all children drawn into the narcotics traffic as messengers, with whom we have had contact, were inveterate comic-book readers This kind of thing is not good mental nourishment for children!"

  • Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent, 1954

Rock and Roll

"The effect of rock and roll on young people, is to turn them into devil worshippers; to stimulate self-expression through sex; to provoke lawlessness; impair nervous stability and destroy the sanctity of marriage. It is an evil influence on the youth of our country."

  • Minister Albert Carter, 1956


"The disturbing material in Grand Theft Auto and other games like it is stealing the innocence of our children and it's making the difficult job of being a parent even harder ... I believe that the ability of our children to access pornographic and outrageously violent material on video games rated for adults is spiraling out of control."

  • US senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2005

So there you have it. Reading a Novel, visiting the theatre will ‘poison your mind’. Waltzing is a ‘fatal contagion’ for young women. Movies ‘blast maidenhood’. Comics will turn your child into a bank robber…and Rock and Roll actually turns you into a Devil Worshipper. Oh, and my personal favorite, telephones lead to the break up of home life and the practice of ‘visiting friends’. That’s right, the most important communications breakthrough of all time actually drives a wedge between people.

When you consider that today if your son or daughter came home from school, read a book, told you he/she wanted to go to the theatre that weekend and was interested in taking a dance class…before heading upstairs to listen to a bit of Jazz, Elvis Presley or The Beatles…you’d pride yourself on what a mature and cultured child you’d raised.

However, the saddest thing about this is that in another couple hundred years, someone else will be writing pretty much this exact same post about how in 2006 we where so against video games and how laughable that is…and using that context to point out how stupid the current controversy about anti-gravity hover-bikes is.

Sometimes I feel like we’re just repeating the same fifty years, over and over.

1 comment:

MC Etcher said...

I would make a point, but you already made 'em all.


"I agree!"