At my age you can start to reference things by saying "At my age" thanks to a long enough timeframe to see significant changes that have taken place in a given nation. You can see this at work when you look at millennials who seem baffled at the notion that what they have experienced in their life doesn't sum up human history, like there is the last ten years and before that was the Civil War. My wife and I were laughing at this story the other night:
Grease is 'racist, rapey, homophobic and slut-shaming' and should never be shown on TV again, say woke snowflakes
Grease was released in 1978 and is supposed to be set in 1958. According to these absolute idiots in the U.K., the movie is a problem because:
- There are too many White people in the school
In the 1950s the U.S. was almost 90% White and blacks were still concentrated in the south and a few large northern cities. I went to a decent sized high school in Ohio in the late 1980s and we had one whole black kid in the entire school, two grades older than me. It would be very common in many parts of the country to have no black kids in a school system in 1978, much less in 1958.
- There are no homosexual characters and at one point boys and girls at a dance are told there can be no same sex couples dancing.
Again, this is supposed to be in 1958. In high school in the 1980s there wasn't a single openly homosexual student in my school, much less some boy dressing like a girl. That would have been a great way to get your ass kicked every day. Double so in the 1950s. Most of American history wasn't a place where you were required to pretend degenerates were not freaks and perverts.
- The movie is apparently also "sexist"/misogynistic
See points one and two above. Until relatively recently, girls in high school tried to look their best. They wore nice, clean clothing, they fussed about their hair and worried about their weight. It wasn't unusual in my high school in the 80s for girls to wear a pressed blouse, skirt and nylons and heels to school. Girls wanted to attract boys and vice versa. The awkward dance between boys and girls was a major part of teen life and this movie like so many others reflects that reality. Also as part of this was the supposed "slut shaming" in Grease and again, sounding like a broken record, being a slutty girl wasn't a compliment for most of American history. Girls who took the shortcut to male affection by putting out were rightly shamed in high school. What happens in Grease is more or less exactly what would have happened in real life.
Remember when movies reflected the era they were set in rather than trying to shoehorn today's bullshit into the film? You might also recall that movies were infinitely more enjoyable when you weren't being hectored non-stop. The funny thing is that Grease could really be considered, for it's time, to be a very liberal movie that mocked the stuffy conservative morals of the day.
Anyway, that is just one example. The people commenting were infuriated that the BBC would even show such a movie. The horror!
Here is where things have changed in my lifetime.
Being a liberal used to mean things like concern for workers being exploited by big business, staying out of wars, free speech and expression and of course loosened sexual morals. They were always yammering on and on about stuff, arguing with conservatives and each other. They believed in what they were saying and they wanted to tell you why you were wrong if you didn't believe the same thing. The hippies and the music counterculture of the 60s and 70s was all about "fighting the man" and struggling against the prevailing culture. Even as recently as the early 90s when I was in college, liberals were still game for an argument.
Then something began to change.
More and more Americans went to college and their professors were increasingly monolithic in their far left ideology. At the same time teachers in public schools were being taught less about teaching and their subject matter and a lot more about "justice" and various groovy theories about teaching that have led to a precipitous decline in educational standards. The entertainment world shifted hard to the left. These are all well known and lamented but less well considered was a different change: corporate America joined forces with their one time enemy on the Left. Today what you hear from the largest corporations and what you hear from far Left activists is virtually identical.
In short, liberals have become what they once hated and don't even seem to realize it. They are not the counter-culture, no matter how much they talk about "resistance". How can you resist the very system that you are deeply invested in supporting and that in turn supports you?
What is more important, liberals today have nothing interesting to say. They are mostly middle or upper class Whites, deeply embedded in corporate consumerism, talking endlessly about racial justice. They use terms like "Latinx" that no actual mestizo uses or recognizes. They throw rocks through the windows of the same Starbucks they patronize in the name of black Lives Matter but go out of their way to not live anywhere near black people. They talk about communism but would die in a matter of days without the machinery of capitalism to provide them with their every want and desire.
They used to think censorship was the worst thing in the world but now are the biggest advocates of censoring political speech, to the point where offering an opinion they dislike sends them into paroxysms of agony and is considered to be literal violence. The people you once could never get to shut up now are incapable of engaging in even the most mild debate over the most innocuous topics.
Far from the supposedly free spirits of the Vietnam era, today's liberals are the most illiberal, violently angry and censorious people around. Their brand of secular leftist legalism puts the most conservative Christians sects to shame.
I still use liberal to describe people on the Left even though they are the most illiberal and intolerant people in America because it is lazy and the accepted term, just as I use conservative to describe people on the Right even though they never conserve anything. Still, it is worth noting that the two terms used to categorize all of our political discourse are essentially meaningless today. Our political world has shifted far from where it once was and we are entering a very different, very dangerous new world that really demands some new definitions.