it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

  • Mood:

Ms. Bear, your telephone needs sanitizing.

One of the the interesting things about delving into the cultural detritus of a given era (say, Renaissance English drama or 1960's spy shows) is how obvious the patterns of obsession of a given age are when viewed from a distance. Your Elizabethan mind was concerned so heavily with family resposibility, filial duty, King's duty to subject and subject's to King, inheritance, lawsuits, adultery, and the destructive qualities of obsession--whether with greed or lust or vengeance or power--that there's only a little room around the edges for other things to slip in. Whereas, you sit down and watch enough episodes of The Avengers and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and I Spy and Mission: Impossible, and the same kinds of patterns emerge. We reveal ourselves, culturally, though our art... but it's easier to see from a distance.

Here is what '60's spy shows reveal about the zeitgeist:

We were worried about mind control and Nazis and Latin American dictatorships and Communism and women with minds of their own. (There are, interestingly, quite heroic female characters in the first seasons of both Mission: Impossible and MfU. Cinnamon, once upon a time, was a girl who would walk up to a man holding a gun on her in total brazen confidence. She wasn't a physical ass-kicker like Emma Peel or a gun-slinging mama like Cathy Gale, but she kind of rocked. There's an ugly caricature of femininity that creeps in a bit later, though.) We were pretending that there was no race problem as hard as we could pretend.

*g* It's kind of fun, though, to be able to look at the patterns and go, "Oh, the obligatory Argentinian Nazi episode," or "the obligatory mind control episode."

Also, something with ghosts or psychics or vampire bats was nice, if you could get it.

Possibly, all three.

All of this pretty much boils down to why it's impossible to analyze a literary movement from the inside.

(Also, there were only twenty actors in the 1960s. So you can kind of have fun with that, as well. I almost think that there ought to be a '60's TV George Takei drinking game. (Drink once if you spot George Takei. Drink three times if he's playing somebody with a Chinese name.))

Tags: cultural necropsy, media

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