Licking my wounds, and dreaming of other, simpler, times *UPDATED*

This weekend was not a good weekend for reasons that included, but were not limited to, my initial take on Act of Valor.  I was right about the problem, but intemperate in my accusations.  I’m old enough to know better.  As you can imagine, I got some pushback, some of which was very hurtful.  I deserved some of the pushback but not all, and certainly not the more abusive ones.  My last word on the subject is to link to Roger Simon, who was not only kind enough to link to me, but also made the right point about the movie’s importance, which overrides its amateur qualities:

I would be remiss in not noting that some estimable writers on the right have criticized the film for a seemingly gratuitous bit of anti-Semitism. One of the two main villains turns out, in a moment of dialogue, to be Jewish, although he is in cahoots with the jihadist. This revelation did make me sit up straight for a second, but that part of the movie was by far the most banal and confused, so I kind of shrugged it off, hoping the film would get back to the SEALs quickly. (It did.) Nevertheless, it’s not one of the movie’s high points and another indication the filmmakers could use a little script help.

Had that been the only negative experience I had this weekend, my wounds would have taken just a lick or two to repair but, as I said, it wasn’t a nice weekend and I’m just glad it’s over.

I did end the weekend thinking about the challenges of living in the 21st Century.  I’ve never been entirely at ease in my own time.  I certainly love the trappings of the modern era:  the contact lenses, computers, washes, dryers, etc., and would be sad if they suddenly vanished from my life.  Of course, you only miss what you know and, had I lived in an earlier time, I wouldn’t have missed what didn’t exist.  I also benefit from many of our modern era’s attitudes towards women.  I got to get a graduate degree and have a career.  Although I’m pretty much over my career now, I have (sometimes) a good mind, and I’m lucky that I was able to exercise it.

But as I said, I’ve never really been comfortable in my own time.  I like, and have always liked, the pop culture of the past.  I prefer the movies, songs, clothes and, most importantly, the attitudes of the 1940s and 1950s.

Yes, I know that those were eras when blacks suffered serious discrimination, when women had limited options, and when gays were buried deep in closets.  But without ignoring those problems, those decades also offered a lot of positive things, my favorite of which are an absence of moral relativism and, the flip side, a clarity about traditional patriotism and values.

Americans knew that America wasn’t perfect, but they loved her still, and they did so without embarrassment.  Humans were humans and bad stuff happened, not at the macro level, as was the case during WWII, but at the micro, neighborhood level:  people had having affairs, unwed women got pregnant, men beat their wives, etc.  Nevertheless, people then had a moral clarity that helped them recognize that, while things happen, not all bad things should be excused away.  In those days, I think, people more clearly understood that one can hate the sin, but love, or at least, have some compassion for, the sinner.  Nowadays, nothing is sinful, anything goes, there are no boundaries, and too many people are hurt and adrift.

You’ll never believe what got me going on this nostalgia shtick.  It was an article on Whitney Houston’s early modeling career, when she was an incredibly fresh-faced 18 year old.  Not only was she pretty as a picture, but look at those swimsuits and outfits:  they’re wholesome.  She looks like a young girl, not a wannabe hooker.  No heavy make-up, no hyper-revealed flesh.  She’s not veiled and burqa-clad.  She’s at that happy medium where a blooming young woman gets to show of her beauty without demeaning herself.

I had fun in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but I still prefer doowop and Dior to my time.  Life was just easier when ones values choices were a little more limited.  This is not to say that I want to limit choices in America today.  The only way to do that is to have government censorship and control, and I deeply oppose that.  Recognizing that I can’t go back, though, not only to my own youth, but to other people’s youth, doesn’t mean that I can’t dream.

UPDATE:  Using much better writing and logic, in the first part of his post, James Taranto makes a point similar to mine.


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  • Caped Crusader

    Look Away, Look Away, Old Times There are Not Forgotten.
    I may be the oldest OF in this group and lived these times fully. One of my most indelible memories is the day the first oral contraceptive was released for general consumption which was around July 1, 1960. I had been married the previous month and had never, even in my wildest flight of fancy, dreamed there were as many horny, and previously restrained women as there proved to be, chomping at the bit to “have at it”. My best friend and fellow intern who still had numerous contacts and a sister at his Alma Mater in another state was CONSTANTLY paged to call in prescriptions for coeds. It went on night and day, and it being an era of some morals still existing, he prefaced each Rx with Mrs. *******. That, of course not being the case in nearly all instances.

  • Caped Crusader

    “But as I said, I’ve never really been comfortable in my own time.  I like, and have always liked, the pop culture of the past.  I prefer the movies, songs, clothes and, most importantly, the attitudes of the 1940s and 1950s.”
    Couldn’t agree more; the music, movies and general joie de vivre have never since been equaled, and just think I got to see many of the things you mention be born into existence. Well remember the first ball point pen, and thousands of other things enter our world. WHAT A TRIP and I am still enjoying it!. How did we ever exist without computers?  I will hate to step off the carousel when my time comes! Just think, you never got to see your Dad with his socks rolled down, and all the boys with their sleeves rolled up.

  • DL Sly

    The VES and I were having a conversation on something very similar to your Whitney Houston line of thought just this morning.  (She was home sick.)  We were watching Oklahoma on the DVR, and she commented on how pretty she thought Shirley Jones was.  I used the opportunity to explain to her the differences between feminine ideals then and now, and how, in today’s time, she would have never gotten the part because she would be considered fat….possibly even obese in the eyes of some casting directors.  To say she was incredulous would be an understatement, but she was in full agreement.  Thank goodness she has a better than typical 13 yr old head on her shoulders.

  • beefrank

    Bookworm:  I am sorry to hear you had a rough weekend. It is hard to live by the lawyer’s creed, ‘never put down anything in writing’, when one has or likes to blog.  At least you did not lose a job like the ESPN writer who used the innocent phrase ‘chink in the armor’ in his article about the skills of an American basketball player of Chinese ancestry.  I dislike the hyphenated nomenclature even though my parents were born in San Francisco Chinatown.   To me ‘chink in the armor’ is a valid and descriptive term to illustrate a weakness of a finished product or strategy.  I doubt anyone in their 30s is aware the word ‘chink’ was a derogatory Indian slang for a Chinese person or anything of China and made its way to America in the 19th century. Frankly, all this hypersensitivity of words with the ‘banning’, redefinitions and recasting history according to current ideals and values is distorting, inaccurate and nonsensical.  I should feel bad when discriminating?  We all discriminate when it comes to our choice of food, cars, entertainment, friends and potential spouses.  Am I wrong to feel comfortable to walk down Bridgeway at 10pm rather than Canal street?  Discrimination?  I should hope so.  It is why God gave us a brain and the sense of self-preservation.  America’s founding fathers were great men even though some owned slaves and may have fathered children out of wedlock.  Their slaves were probably the best treated slaves when you consider the primary agents of the African slave trade were Africans, not the USA whose newly formed navy eliminated the slave ships.  Overall, the founding fathers authored the blueprint to establish the freest nation in the world.  
    You are doing a good work here.  You ‘called it has you saw it’ but ‘on instance replay, upon further review, the call was corrected’. Put it behind you and move on to the next play.

  • Bookworm

    Thank you, beefrank.


    Nostalgia – the good, the bad and the ugly. Looking back we get to pick and choose memories. The present gives us all of it. No picking, no choosing, no wonder looking back feels so good.

  • Mike Devx

    beefrank said:At least you did not lose a job like the ESPN writer who used the innocent phrase ‘chink in the armor’ in his article about the skills of an American basketball player of Chinese ancestry. 

    Yeah, I’ve been following that story.  It was either an ignorant comment (which I doubt), or a thoughtlessly  stupid attempt at being witty.  But worthy of firing?  Hell, no.  It’s not even worthy of a note in a personnel file.  At worst, his boss could have stopped by his desk or cube a few mornings later, drinking his coffee, and said, “Hey, Bob.”  (or whatever his name was.  “Chink in the armor?  That was awfully stupid, you know?”  After a little back and forth of wry commisseration, he then could have said, “Well, none of us gets it right all the time.  This is one of your mulligans.  No biggie, seriously.”  And walked away.  Done.


    I didn’t see anything wrong in what you felt and wrote. If it walks like a duck …

    IMO, your reaction and gut feelings are just as valid as the “email” that denied them, which would not be an issue if the throw-a-way line not been inserted gratuitously. I recall that one of the little Books (chapters?) felt uncomfortable, too.

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.    

  • netsez

    I posted part of this on another thread, I want to repost some of it here

    I had never heard of this blog, I read Ace of Spades HQ, an only heard about this place since it was posted as a place calling Act of Valor antisemetic.  After googling the name, and seeing it quoted elsewhere as a reason to boycott the film I got angry.  When I saw the reasoning behind it I got angrier still. I just looked over the site for a few miniutes and I see the owner of this blog claims to be a conservative.  If that is true I will calm down a bit, as a fellow conservative I say we need more conservative blogs on the net.

    BTW I feel trapped in thye wrong time as well, I often longed to be alive in the 40s, 50s, or even the 20s!

    I feel the way she does for the same reasons she does.  Society has always been too permissive for me, too permissive of casual sex, permissive of drugs, lack of manners, lack of education, just a lack of class.

  • Earl

    Welcome to the Bookworm Room, netsez!
    Stick around for a while and keep reading.  Or even go get her book on your Kindle:
    You’ll find her genuinely conservative, and a writer of fine prose.
    As for the commenting here, everyone is welcome to state their case and back it up….but there’s never a guarantee comments won’t be disagreed with and refuted.  It’s “safe”, though — more educational than polemical.  I’ve not seen anyone among the regulars doing any name-calling here.  People who do so are informed of their inappropriate behavior immediately and asked to desist.
    Look forward to seeing you again!

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