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A Different Culture

Different Culture
This Ain't Your
Daddy's Culture Anymore

Posted on January 6, 2012

The differences between today's culture and the one that I grew up in differ significantly. Some of the differences can be attributed to advances in science and other know-how that made changes in the way we do things. But setting those types of changes aside, another type of change has transformed us into a much coarser society than we were during my younger years, the 1950's and 60's.

Communication: Our language both written and verbal is rapidly morphing. The internet has given rise to phonetic shortcuts and abbreviations. This transformation has probably come about because of having to use the keyboard as a communicating device. Most of us can't touch type so we have been very creative in coming up with phonetic shortcuts and abbreviations to save time. The language will be forced to embrace these shortcuts just as it had to embrace the generalized usage of foul language.

I for one, lament losing the shock value of a well placed expletive. Profanity has become so common in our normal conversations that nobody even flinches when they hear guttural talk. Most movies are laced with the foul language of our times. It appears that no words are left with shock value. What used to be considered slang for human sexual activity, bodily excretions, and sex organs has been so normalized that their usage is nothing special anymore. It is indeed a loss for pithy expressions and the occasional emotional outburst. In total, I would venture to say that profanity's inclusion into everyday conversation is a testament to the decaying standards of behavior and respect for others.

Porn: We certainly had porn so long ago. But it was different then. Porn was not so readily available; nor was it a main stream business. Today, porn is available from nearly every entertainment venue. Porn is a huge financial success and that success only acts to increase its size and scope within the culture.

Granted that sex plays an important role in all of our lives, but it seems that in today's world, we are bombarded from all sides by a combination of open sexuality and sexual innuendo. My personal opinion is that as a society, our integrity is subordinated by elevating sex, in all of its manifestations, into the public square. Devoid of any guidelines for sexual behavior, life can soon turn into a quest for the next great sexual experience. If the trend continues, children will eventually become targets for those wanting to relive the epiphany realized during their introduction to sex. Our "sexually liberated" society, at some point, has to realize the destructiveness caused by a loss of character.

Marriage: What was once only a public declaration of a couple's intent to remain faithful and provide a secure environment for raising children has become a legal mess. Marriage became a legal union as a way to protect the rights and property of divorcing couples. In a legal setting, a fair and amicable solution to any property, children, or other items of value accumulated during the union could be determined by the state. Marriage was no longer the sole purview of the church, as the church had no ability to enforce the property issues or fairness of a breakup. In fact, the church wanted to avoid divorce altogether unless extreme violation of church rules or marriage vows could be proven. Under those conditions, the violator was a condemned person and was left with nothing.

But this type of divorce did not account for any contributions to the marriage that may have been made before any vow violations occurred. In other words it was an unjust settlement. But under a legal banner, the state is able to assess and administer those contributions, children and property accumulated during the union. A large enough legal hurdle to obtaining a divorce was thought to keep couples together, even though one or both of the partners may have wanted to end the relationship. There are arguments to be made for even having such legal administration of marriages. Those arguments, which I will not go into in this article, are readily available if a person wants to do the research. But as with all laws, there are exceptions. An example in the simplest terms would be theft. A person who steals is guilty of theft, but humanely, exceptions were built into the law that tried to fit the punishment to the crime. Stealing a crust of bread for survival is not equal to the theft of valuable property. Fairness has dictated that a one size punishment for theft be abandoned. Similarly, the seriousness of proven allegations in a divorce petition will influence the outcome of a divorce proceeding. The legal framework of marriage is for the protection of the participants in the dissolving union.

Gay Marriage: All of the above is to justify my position on the legal term of marriage between gays. My opinion supports granting gays the right to legal protection for the same reasons as granted for heterosexuals. They have the same need for legal protection for any property, children or money accumulated during their union. Fairness to the individuals involved demand that we grant those protections to gays who choose to share their life together. Only the terminology is in question - would we call that union a marriage? For the sake of fairness and privacy, if we don't call gay unions a marriage, any other term would be discriminatory as it would identify and brand homosexuals publically.

Homosexuality has existed as long as there have been humans and any terminology we contrive is not going to change that. Marriage, under the law, is legal protection for individuals that find themselves in relationships that fall apart.

The definition for marriage has become a focal point for debate in today's society. So in fairness, and with a retrospective look of what life was like for gays when I was growing up, it is time to have the conversation about legal protection for gay unions.

Holy Matrimony may be thought of as being different, but how in the world do you have one set of legal protections for heterosexual couples, another set for gays, and at the same time be non-discriminatory.

Conclusion: Culturally, this is not the same world as it was just a few years ago. In some areas we have made progress but in others we have actually regressed. Personally, I live in a time-warp. My beliefs and traditions are outmoded and I am happy to have lived in the era that sprang me. I really wouldn't want to grow up in today's world. In fact, it is a scary thought. My generation was probably one of the last to have truly been free. Political contrivances at manipulating our culture have been miserable failures. Living in a world where right and wrong isn't as dependable as it once was makes me uncomfortable. In today's world, right and wrong is a determination of whatever is popular - meaning that important rules governing right and wrong are only wisps of emotion. And, like an old pair of shoes, the rules that were in place when I grew up felt comfortable. I still apply them to my everyday life even though the actual rules have changed.

Rules have more to do with manners, respect, and how we interact with each other than legal bindings. I find that the scarcity of rules that govern our interaction with each other to be troubling. Rudeness, self indulgence, and a lack of patience have replaced courtesy and respect for others. Eventually, we will relearn the importance of good behavior. What we are going through now has already been played out in the past. It is truly baffling to me why we have to repeat past mistakes.


Robert welcomes your comment to this or any other of my commentaries.

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