The Public Eye

printed 06/22/2018

Many things we used to think were wrong or not good for us are now accepted and even encouraged by society.

Take the bikini, for instance. When it was invented in 1946 by a Frenchman (who else?), this two-piece was seen as so scandalous that he had to hire a stripper to model it, causing most of the male population of France to go “oui-oui-oui-oui” all the way home, while Americans expressed shock and dismay.

Flash forward to last week: As I walked along the sidewalk, a woman wearing what appeared to be a bar coaster passed by me. I can’t say for certain, but I swear she smiled at me from behind as she walked away.

Then there’s gambling — time was the mob controlled what was then an immoral pursuit. That was until the politicians said, “Saaaaay, there’s good money in gambling, and that makes gambling good.”

And alcohol: Once outlawed, politicians saw what was happening and said, “Saaaaay, there’s …” and now it’s been shown that a drink or so a week can prolong your life.

And marijuana: The 1936 propaganda film, “Reefer Madness,” showed us that marijuana turned good girls into hotsy-totsies, led guys to kill each other and drove you craaaaaazy. Now, we don’t even call it marijuana; it’s cannabis, (Latin for “Ummmm”) and it heals your pain.

I never thought about any of these things, as I believe people should be able to do whatever, as long as they keep their whatever to themselves and others of the same mind.

But I didn’t realize how far we have traveled as a culture until recently, when my wife, who is wise beyond my years I have been told, volunteered this observation about the public’s growing desire to escape into computer-generated realities.

“You know what they used to call people who created and occupied their own realities?” she asked without waiting for a reply. “Insane.”

Good point, and now I’m wondering if being virtually insane is different from being do-it-yourself nuts?

All I have concluded so far is that I had an invisible friend in my tot-hood who had answers for everything (mostly wrong) and that I might seek his counsel.

It’s perfectly normal to see people all the time walking, running and driving while talking to someone who isn’t there. Now, so can I. As long as I’m not drinking, smoking something or smiling backwards.

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