This week we will be bombarded with JFK assassination retrospectives. Of course, as this event might just be THE seminal event in the overthrow of the Republic, it deserves such coverage. It would be nice, though, if any of the coverage was based on reality. Instead, you'll get the usual gloss.
Aaaaanyway, for your reading enjoyment, this article by Jim Goad surveys the -ahem- somewhat different bills of fare appearing on your telescreens from then to now. Note, there is one somewhat coarse expression in the article.
Friday marks the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination.
Putting that aside, the most important question for the average American would be: How does the modern primetime network TV lineup differ from that of 50 years ago?
The main impression one gets from skimming the 1963 TV lineup is that the United States was still an empire in the exuberant process of expanding rather than apologizing. This was right before the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the subsequent humiliation in Vietnam, and shows such as Combat! and The Lieutenant portrayed servicemen more interested in winning wars than in appeasing the transgendered. And there were no lesbians in McHale’s Navy.
Judging solely from television lineups, the biggest cultural shift since 50 years ago has been the obliteration of the nuclear American family. In 1963, the only anomalous TV families seemed to be those helmed by straight-as-an-arrow single dads (My Three Sons, Andy Griffith), and I always assumed the mom had died in a tragic accident. I don’t know if either program ever explained what happened to the mommy, and it seemed silently understood that it would have been impolite to ask.
There are certainly no heroic cowboys anymore, only bumbling white dads who are purposely made the butt of every joke.
At least symbolically, JFK’s assassination marked the beginning of what would commonly come to be understood as “the sixties.” What followed is known in many quarters as “progress,” although to me it seems like an ongoing process of deconstruction and outright destruction. I doubt that today’s culture-busters have any idea what they intend to build, but they’re finely attuned to what they’re trying to destroy. And that’s probably the main reason I don’t have a TV anymore.