Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Changing Standards

Over my life standards of behavior have changed, a lot.

In my youth both cancer and homosexuality were not fit topics for discussion, cancer being just a bit more acceptable because more prevalent.  One addressed one's elders with Mr. and Mrs..' There were standards of propriety, at least for the white middle and upper classes.  Teenagers were viewed with alarm, as they/we got into Elvis and rock and roll and discovered the privacy of cars.  Everyone, at least every boy, wanted a car.  For any couple in a car the man was driving. College students still faced a hierarchy of classes and at least informal rules on dress.  Campus life still involved panty raids.  Serious students were concerned about nuclear war, though as the 60's started  some got into civil rights movement. And the remnants of "loco parentis"

The boomers started establishing new norms.  The Berkeley Free Speech movement seems in retrospect a turning point.  Notably the movement was still the Silent generation; the very first boomers were just starting college. The Cuban missile crisis was another, and the third was Mississippi Summer. In my memory the 60's meant the undermining and dissolution of old standards of conduct, of hierarchy, of dress, of how people could express their views and obtain some power.

Fast forward to the present.  It seems most of the changes have stuck, have been deemed valid and useful in our society.  What does seem different to me is what the conservatives call "political correctness". I could trace the idea back to the student left, perhaps imitating their parents, who had fierce debates over what ideological stances were proper.  But that was a minority view; more common was live and let live, chill, mellow.  Now however,, many, perhaps most, people believe there is something that's proper, and people should embrace it.

No comments: