From “Good Golly” To “F*** You”: How Did We Get Here?

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

Every now and then, my mind will pick out something at random from my everyday life and analyze it from every possible angle. Usually it drives me nuts, especially when it happens at one o’clock in the morning when all I want to be doing is gently drifting off to sleep. But every once and a while, the random thoughts and questions that plague my mind cease to be a hindrance and instead allow me to see the world around me with eyes that have not been clouded by what others want me to see.

I watch a lot of television. I won’t deny it. I’m the kind of person who will watch just about anything once, just to see if it’s worth my time to see it through to the end, and nine times out of ten I get hooked. Much of what I watch varies depending on my mood; if I’m feeling stressed, I’ll watch a sitcom. When I feel like my life is a little too mundane, I’ll dive head first into an action packed drama. Heck, even though I’m not big into chick flicks, I won’t hesitate to pop on some Gilmore Girls when I start feeling all nostalgic for the days I used to hang out with my sister like that.

Growing up, and all the way up until high school, I watched a lot of old television series, and when I say old, I mean OLD. I’ve seen most of the original Lost in Space and Outer Limits series, I’ve watched every single episode from the original Star Trek and every other spinoff it inspired later on, and I never set foot on the bus for school in the morning before watching at least one episode of either Mr. Ed, Green Acres, The Adams Family or All In The Family. I can’t say for sure where this love of mine for the classic’s came from, but I’m pretty sure my dad had something to do with it.

What I love most about old television is that it provides us with a glimpse into what the world was like during the years before we were born… well, at least before I was born. Granted, they’re not always the most accurate portrayal, as television tends to embellish certain details for the sake of keeping the audience entertained, but sometimes you can glean the most about a society from what they don’t show on television. Most broadcast companies were much more stringent back then, being very selective about what they would and would not allow to air, a fact which has changed a hell of a lot today, and not just in what watch, but in what we read to.

The first show I ever saw on HBO was the Pillars of the Earth mini series, based on one of my favourite Ken Follett novels. My friends had warned me that the kind of stuff that HBO airs leaves very little to the imagination, so I should brace myself. Based on my experience, I think that was a bit of an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against HBO. I’m anxiously awaiting the next season of Game of Thrones to come out on DVD, and my boyfriend finally convinced me to watch Rome, which in my opinion was a series that was too short lived, much like Firefly. Honestly, I love what HBO has to offer, but the question of why I love it so much is what has got me thinking; how did we get here?

Frankly speaking, if someone from the 1950’s were to be transported to the present time, and the first things they had access to were our books and television, I can’t help but debate whether they would be more amazed by how much our creativity has evolved, or terrified by it. Our creative culture is rife with sadism, masochism, gut wrenching torture, explicit sex, and violence in just about every fathomable way, shape and form. Our hands are no longer tied by censorship, at least nowhere near as much as it used to be, and clearly we’ve taken full advantage of it. Granted, it makes for very interesting and thought provoking stories, but the fact that those are the kinds of things that we get a thrill out of now makes me wonder; just HOW did we get here?

I’ve only been alive on this earth for 23 years, but even I can remember the days when we still got in trouble for swearing if we were under the age of 13. Now, people drop the f bomb pretty much every other word, as if it were the normal thing to do. Swearing has become a part of everyday speech, much like saying hello, or pleas and thank you. I wouldn’t call myself a conservative person, but even I cringed a little bit whenever Debra from the show Dexter went on one of her little ‘fuck’ tirades. It’s as if there is no longer a division between the categories of swear words and regular words. They’re all just words now… although I suppose swear words have always been regular words, just infused with our own subtext and connotations, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Regardless of whether it’s in books or on tv, our language and our attitude towards what was once considered obscene and unwatchable, has done a complete 180, and I just can’t help but wonder what it was that led to such a drastic change, and even more curiously, in what direction it will continue in as we continue to push the boundaries of our imagination.

As always, I welcome any and all comments and opinions, so feel free to leave them in the comments box below this post. Also, as a heads up to all of you wonderful BookNerds, I am halfway through my next novel, and will likely be posting a review for it within the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned, and as always, happy reading!




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