In what seems to be the never-ending task of getting the house ready for the upcoming graduation party (this coming weekend), I came across an old stack of Life magazines. I used to scour these for advertisements of things I like to collect: Zippo lighters, typewriters, Volkswagens, etc. And of course, the car ads are great.
Increasingly, however, I find they are also becoming an interesting window into the past and how things were (or were perceived) THEN versus NOW. Sort of a primary-source document.
Case in point: Here is an editorial from page 4 of the September 24, 1965 edition:
“This year long hair…could very well get you kicked out of school… Hair isn’t the only thing. A beard, a mustache, tight pants (“strangle britches”), sneakers, pointy shoes, exposed shirttails, or a leather jacket could do it too. Most local regulations instruct girls to avoid trousers, boots, skirts that fail to cover the kneecap and make-up used in other than ‘modest proportions’”.
“At Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, the dean for discipline met students returning for the fall term at the door. He was armed with scissors, and used them.”
“…we can understand the feelings of Federal Judge Richard Duncan of Kansas City, who ordered a young miscreant to get a haircut because, he said, ‘I refuse to sentence anyone I can’t see’. Teachers have a perfect right not to teach anyone they can’t see either.
My how times have changed! Posted on Twitter this morning:
I think I just threw-up a little.
Of course, with headlines like this it’s no wonder:
And school policies like this:
A lot more can be said on the state of education in this country, of course. But the erosion of standards and expectations is well illustrated, I think, with the above examples.
Let me be clear. I’m not against people being themselves and trying different things in the process of finding one’s self. I, too, had a long-hair phase (when I got out of the Army), and a short-hair phase (when I was in the Army), and still have a fair number of tie-dyed t-shirts hanging in the back of the closet.
However, those tangible tools of self-expression all stemmed from a time when I was on my own, out of my parents house, and had graduated from public school. Prior to that, of course there were expectations. What I considered repressive and narrow-minded at the time I now see for what it was: an attempt by my parents and other authority figures (schools, sports teams, etc) to help me grow into a man by feeling good and proud of myself and my appearance without the distraction of hair hanging in my eyes or enabling a “cosplay” personality of juvenile delinquent. In short, they were doing what they were suppose to be doing: teaching Values.
But it is not enough just to complain and move on. We must draw the line somewhere and stand behind it. As a counter-point to the recent nonsense in the education of our children, I offer for consideration the policy of the American Nazi Party:
A New Educational System:
We demand the establishment of a new educational system which will place strong emphasis on the physical and moral development of our young people, as well as on the training of their mental abilities, and which will instill in every young Aryan an all-important set of racial values.
We believe that Aryan youth represents the future of our Race, and that in its fitness and ability lie our hopes for the future. Therefore, we believe that it is the duty of the state to see to the development of our young people in a thorough and well-rounded manner, recognizing that in the long run a healthy mind can only dwell within a healthy body, and that along with the training of the intellect there must go rigorous physical and character training. We believe, finally, that an education can only be considered complete when it succeeds in burning into the heart and mind of the young Aryan the supreme importance of the racial idea.