12 Years, A Different World

Over the years, I have written well over 500 Musings. Every once in a while, as happened this week, one from years ago circles back to my attention. In 2010, while discussing film critic Roger Ebert’s proposal to revamp the movie rating system to accommodate what he thought of as the wider public acceptance of vulgarity, I wrote:

“Perhaps our reaction to these facts [ones that Ebert mentioned] should be exactly the opposite. After all, I don’t see proposals floated to admit that we’ve lost the war on obesity and should stop trying to do anything about it. I haven’t seen the argument made that we should simply acknowledge that Americans do not have an educational system that compares with many other countries around the world and rather than try to improve, we should just change requirements for graduation. We certainly didn’t shrug our shoulders about cigarette consumption a few decades ago and let it be.”

Back to today. Twelve years have gone by and we have done all the things I said we didn’t do. America’s educational system is still a failure and our response is to cancel the SAT and any other objective measures of success. Graduation is a sham. We declare that the most important factors in our future pilots and doctors is their politically-correct victim status and whether they are firmly on the side of unscientific, woke theology, not whether they can excel at their crafts.

While demanding more taxpayer funding for medical needs, we have decided that fat-shaming is a worse problem than obesity. Let’s find more expensive drugs to cope with the side-effects of obesity rather than suggest that in many cases personal behavior can and should be changed.

Having spent millions on discouraging smoking, and losing tax-revenue in the process, we now promote smoking marijuana.

My article from December 2010, is dramatically outdated. In fact, the entire idea of a rating system for films is quaint and almost laughable. Ten-year-olds have phones that give them access to material that a forty-year-old could have only gotten a very few years ago by skulking around a dark alley.

Recently, my husband and I attended a pre-wedding celebration for a young man we have known since his birth. Many of his friends were there and a number of them spoke articulately and movingly. One of them mentioned as an aside, that he had granted his mother-in-law full technological access to the list of all websites that he visits. I realize this is a shocking idea to the modern mind. This gentleman (and I use the word deliberately and admiringly) is recognizing how the world has changed and how many temptations are thrown at him every day. He is putting in place a preventive measure by ensuring that someone who holds him accountable to the highest standard knows what he is doing. Could he get around this if he was committed to that path? Of course. But, it will take more effort and a deliberate desire to do so. He will not be sliding down a slippery slope inch by inch.

It is 2023. The norms we used to rely on have disappeared. It behooves all of us to exert much thought and determination to make sure that we stay and become the people we want to be.

What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Susan’s Musings post.
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