We Need new divisive social issues to keep us divided. Now that the Supreme Court has settled gay marriage, transgendering is transparent, marihuana is mainstream and even issues like abortion, prayer in school, gun control, climate change — the old GGGG… god, guns, gays & grizzlies, are so last-decade.
To feed the cultural war machine I suggest we reprise some select explosive issues from yesteryear. Here are my suggestions for some issues guaranteed to set us on edge and make us go at each other’s throats with mouth-slaughtering vehemence:
Earth shoes vs. Birkenstocks
The minus-heel…earth shoes had thick soles in the front and thin heels. (Think reverse mullet) Wearing them was supposed to be like walking on the beach. I got married in a pair over my mother’s protestations. “I’ll be married & buried in my earth shoes,” I declared. The Earthshoe was marketed as a “wellness” shoe, wearing them physically challenged you. Birkenstocks were all about comfort. True hippies wore neither. Barefoot was de rigueur. Both brands are still sold. Birks are better known but Earths still walk the land. Have a fit.
Quiche… Do real men eat it? Who knew what “quiche” really meant back in the 70’s, but whatever it was prompted much discussion with men and women arguing for and against. Hint: Hot dish for women.
God is Dead… Or not? The now famous and then infamous 1966 Time Magazine cover posited Friedrich Nietzsche’s “God is Dead” postulate exploring the role of God in an increasingly secular society. Social media then was limited to church pulpits and bar rooms. Nasty times.
Television: A Wasteland? Although now we’re supposedly in the “golden age” of TV in 1961 a big divisive debate was ignited by FCC Commissioner Newton Minnow who in a speech to TV executives referred to TV as a “vast wasteland” in need of reform, namely more public service programming. People chose sides. Duck.
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) First introduced in the 1920s, this proposed constitutional amendment was a polarizing issue in the 1970’s and early 80’s among feminists, liberals and conservatives. Conservative anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly successfully campaigned against it warning that passage would mean the end of alimony, create unisex bathrooms and cause women to be drafted and throw away their bras. Good Times for Demagogues.
Vietnam…. in it to win it? This unwinnable excursion into another country’s civil war was the launchpad for the cultural wars still raging today. No lessons learned here.
Is Twiggy too thin? Skinny British model Twiggy, creator of the androgynous modeling look was the hot topic of debate in the mid-Sixties. Too thin? Too flat-chested, hair too short, boy-like. Ah, Twiggy… We need you now to twerk and kiss Miley Cyrus.
Communism – the Red Threat. Those godless pinkos wanted to bury us in the 1950-60 Cold War days. Now it’s those god-loving theocratic terrorists ISIS we are trying to make WASWAS. McCarthyism made you suspect your neighbor of plotting to turn your backyard patio into a people’s garden. Be Afraid.
Disco, hippies, yuppies….all these and others sparked feuds, controversy and contentiousness. Let’s take a break from the GGGGs and have some real fun.