The Good Ol' Daze

I'm not one of those guys who goes on and on about how much better the world was when I was a kid, or a teenager, or a young adult in my 20s. For the good and simple reason that it wasn't. We didn't have videotapes or DVDs, gays still stayed in the closet or got treated like shit by mainstream society, there were no cell phones, and, of course, there was no Internet. Hard though it may be for anyone born after 1990 to imagine THAT.

But in some odd ways, the world of my youth was a better place, too, or, at least, more tolerant. As examples, I give you a couple of pop culture artifacts that absolutely could not be duplicated in the modern marketplace:

Seriously. No shit. In the early to mid 70s, Marvel Comics published a title called SON OF SATAN. There was nothing particularly distinguished about it; some not particularly good Steve Gerber scripts and some reasonably humdrum Jim Mooney art, and some stories full of pretty typical 70s hippie/horror cliches. But it was right there, on the spinner racks at the five and dime, right next to SPIDER-MAN and BATMAN and all that Harvey and Archie shit.

Sometimes I just imagine the reaction if some comic shop owner tried to put out a couple of copies of something called SON OF SATAN on the same shelf as BETTY & VERONICA or CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST. I stop after a couple of seconds, though, because otherwise, my head would just explode.


ANIMAL HOUSE was outrageous for the mid 70s; that was the point, that's why it was so funny. But in the mid 70s, at least, you could joke about that kind of stuff. Nowadays, you suggest making a movie full of racist, homophobic, sexist jokes that ends with the destruction of the homecoming parade, the movie's nominal hero banging a 13 year old in an outdoor stadium, and John Belushi being elected Senator, and everybody else at the meeting will have simultaneous aneurysms.

Now, I do understand that many if not most people alive at this time would regard all this as progress. We can't expose our children to Satanism, our young adults to racist, sexist, homophobic vulgarity and violence and especially, we can't make any of it look comical! This stuff is deadly serious! And never, never to be discussed!

I don't miss much about my youth, other than a flat stomach, a cast iron digestive tract, and a general absence of aches and pains. But sometimes, I wish the world was still as open minded as it used to be about controversial subjects.

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