Gosh, people are upset and at wit’s end in today’s America. Even the funny bits are kind of sad and unfunny. There’s a lot to be said for 1961. For starters, the country was a lot freer place back then. And in the bad old days when everyone smoked, the country was a lot more upbeat. Only 1 in 6 Americans think the US is on the right track today. (We haven’t met him, whoever he is.) How many Americans thought the USA was on the right track in the days when Fred and Barney were smoking a Winston while Wilma mowed the lawn? 70%? 80%? 90%? Sure, we were a little behind in the Space Race, but we’d catch up soon and show those Ruskies a thing or two.
We got to thinking about 1961 while reading about Roger Maris’s 61st homerun anniversary. Video here. Note how many men were wearing suits and ties. Better audio here. 1961 was a particularly enjoyable school year. As we headed out to recess from fifth grade to the apple orchard playground (no kidding), WPRO played the same song every day for about a month just after noon. It was a funny song called My Boomerang Won’t Come Back. We can’t find the United Artists version online, which runs 2:44 and is much better than the original British recording. Today we suppose it would be considered politically incorrect, which is very odd in a way, given the really vile material that makes onto the airwaves and iPods.
The single weirdest thing about today, however, is the doubling down by the administration and its media and academic allies on policies that are so obviously counter-productive. It’s surreal. The 30% won’t stop hectoring and lecturing the 70%, and the 30% hasn’t a clue. The media need to be tormented during the next 13 months they way they have been tormenting the vast majority of Americans. (Here’s a little thought game: what GOP candidate slate for P/VP would drive them the craziest?) This is a unique election in modern American history. It’s not enough to win; an entire worldview has to be taken on directly and defeated. It’s that simple and that tough. Otherwise 1961 might as well be centuries ago, not a mere 50 years.