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October 10, 2006


Excellent article by Matthew-Green. Gives me, a baby boomer, a good objective perspective on my life experiences (HS in the 60s, college in the 70s). The Gospel and biblical values have been the best protection against such self-centeredness.

Given the state of affairs in our world today, the comment about the world not feeling very secure when all the authorities have been trashed is telling.

Robert Bork once wrote about the boomer generation that we produced more children then we could properly enculturate.

What exactly is the point of articles like Frederica's Noonan-like exercise? In the 19th century women often died in childbirth and men were worn out in their 40s. Many of those people who stayed married were often miserable. I have yet to meet anyone who grew up in those good old days who wern't scarred in some way. I will take our problems to their's any day.

Today anyone who married and procreated when they were biologically ready will, unless they have a trust fund, likely be poor and uneducated for the rest of their lives, their children will likely wind up in jail or dead.

Also one may want to check out the per capita consumption of alcohol in the good old days. Fortunately horses have more sense than to run into another horse.

How much of the film effects she celebrates were the result of black and white photography and vaseline?

A couple of other generational reflections:




The point is that the current generation of adults are not adult in manner or deed, as defined by previous generations, specificly the 30's and 40's generation. Hope that helps.

Yes, people did die youger due to harder work and primitive environment.
After all that hard work it's a shame that a life's worth has diminished to selfish indulgence.

Are you arguing for todays problems or not? In the first paragraph you say you will take todays problems over thiers but then in the second paragraph you seem to be arguing against todays problems.

The per capita consumption of alcohol comparison would be interesting. Can you find that information with references? I'll bet it hasn't changed
much. Someone is always trying to get away from something.

Alan - you are one upbeat guy. I always feel refreshed after reading your posts.

Mark, she wasn't writing about the 30's or 40's generation. The folks responsible for those movies (actors, writers, studio executives,etc.) were all born in the late19th and early 20th centuries.

Back then you had a rigid studio system so what went on the screen was the product of a handful of people filtered through the morals of one man, "In 1934, Joseph I. Breen (1888-1965) was appointed head of the new Production Code Administration (PCA). Under Breen's leadership of the PCA, which lasted until his retirement in 1954, enforcement of the Production Code became rigid and notorious."

"Provisions of the Code

The Production Code enumerated three "General Principles":

1. No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.
2. Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.
3. Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.

Specific restrictions were spelled out as "Particular Applications" of these principles:

* Nudity and suggestive dances were prohibited.
* The ridicule of religion was forbidden, and ministers of religion were not to be represented as comic characters or villains.
* The depiction of illegal drug use was forbidden, as well as the use of liquor, "when not required by the plot or for proper characterization".
* Methods of crime (e.g. safe-cracking, arson, smuggling) were not to be explicitly presented.
* References to "sex perversion" (such as homosexuality) and venereal disease were forbidden, as were depictions of childbirth.
* The language section banned various words and phrases that were considered to be offensive.
* Murder scenes had to be filmed in a way that would discourage imitations in real life, and brutal killings could not be shown in detail. "Revenge in modern times" was not to be justified.
* The sanctity of marriage and the home had to be upheld. "Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing." Adultery and illicit sex, although recognized as sometimes necessary to the plot, could not be explicit or justified and were not supposed to be presented as an attractive option.
* Portrayals of miscegenation were forbidden.
* "Scenes of Passion" were not to be introduced when not essential to the plot. "Excessive and lustful kissing" was to be avoided, along with any other treatment that might "stimulate the lower and baser element."
* The flag of the United States was to be treated respectfully, as were the people and history of other nations.
* "Vulgarity," defined as "low, disgusting, unpleasant, though not necessarily evil, subjects" must be treated within the "subject to the dictates of good taste". Capital punishment, "third-degree methods", cruelty to children and animals, prostitution and surgical operations were to be handled with similar sensitivity."


I tend to be leary of sweeping generational comparisons. On the other hand re: the post to Belgravia Dispatch, we have a large number of voters who choose to elect children over adults , so maybe...I do believe Bork has a valid point in respect to the number of children a neo-local industrial or post industrial society can properly raise.

My second paragraph makes the point that past problems were not preferable to ours, while the third paragraph is a reference to Matthews-Green's seeming preference for children marrying and having children.

"An eye-widening surprise opens the book: Americans actually drank more liquor between the years 1790 and 1820 than ever before or since. We actually drink half as much alcohol today as our post Revolutionary ancestors. A chart in the first chapter shows consumption peaking at over 5 gallons per capita in the early 1800s as contrasted with approximately 2 gallons in 1970. A sharp drop occurred in the 1840s and the rate hovered around 2 gallons going forward. Looking at data published by the National Institutes of Health after the book's 1979 publication shows that the rate peaked at only 2.7 gallons in the early 1980s and leveled off at 2.2 gallons in 2002. So the early nineteenth century rate of 5 gallons per capita still remains shocking even with current data. This leads to the inevitable question of why Americans used to drink so much."


"n 1934, Joseph I. Breen (1888-1965) was appointed head of the new Production Code Administration (PCA). Under Breen's leadership of the PCA, which lasted until his retirement in 1954, enforcement of the Production Code became rigid and notorious."
I believe this was also known as the "Hayes Code"? Boy, you should check out some of the movies released before that code was introduced in '34. Criminals sometimes don't get their "just desserts", and quite a bit of questionable innuendo, and some blatant nudity. Check out Maureen O'Sullivan swimming naked in the one of the early Tarzan movies. I've also seen a Harlow movie from the early 30s where she's wearing a see-through blouse and you can clearly see areolas!

I would have to question stastical/poll type of data for accuracy that was collected in the early 19th century, in regards to alcohol usage, or most other activities, for that matter. A quick look at US Census records alone from that period(and later) show so many errors and guestimates! Many times the census taker, when finding no one at home, would simply ask the neighbors for info re the family he was seeking, and assume the info to be accurate. My wife does geneological research and has found even the Census records to almost always be questionable and in need of confirmation from other sources.

Does STR have a stance on COntraceptives and the Christian respones to it?


I'm sorry I wasn't clear on the generation. I was referring to the ages 25-45 in the 1930's and 1940's. So we agree roughly on the same generation.

I think we have a cause and effect issue on the content of movies of that era. I would think that the PCA was established to reign in the moral
extremes of various "artists" so as to appeal to the average joe, not in spite of him.

Yes, there were many spikes during that post Revolutionary period caused by the influx of fortune seekers of all kinds.

Thanks for the info.

Mike, records on alcohol are fairly accurate as alcohol that made it into commerce was taxed from the earliest times in the republic's history. Recall the Whiskey Rebellion in 1791. Taverns were also licensed in those days.

Given human nature, the records on alcohol production would tend to understate the amount produced as spirits produced for household and local consumption could easily evade the tax.

Circumstantial evidence as to the social problems of drink would be the importance of the temperance movement in American cultural and political life.

Can't speak for the 19th Century but ever hear of "The Greatest Generation"?

The Great Depression, anti-biotics were yet unknown, and WWII. Yet they had/has a courage and an optimism that was/is amazing.

Life is full of choices and that hasn't changed from generation to generation. What does one do with those choices presented?

As I think about this thread the stranger it seems. Generally speaking, the last white generation to know how bad it can get was the one who raised the "greatest generation" and the worst changes in our society have come as they passed from the scene (if you were 25 in 1929 you are now 102).

It is is the self indulgent, perpetually teenaged contraceptive/abortion culture cohorts who are numerically responsible for the country's political and religious shift to the right.

For an interesting view on the culture of life as opposed to the promotion of abortion, ESTR, and the new push for eugenics see the Oct. 2006 issue of First Things "That They May Have Life; A Statement of Evangelicals & Catholics Together"

I forgot to mention that the article is available on the First Things website:

"It is is the self indulgent, perpetually teenaged contraceptive/abortion culture cohorts who are numerically responsible for the country's political and religious shift to the right."

Due to..., because of...?

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