Saturday, June 17, 2006

I bought into the myth

I'm a child of the 50's in America. I bought into that myth, I accepted it, it became the defining characteristic of America to me. And I feel betrayed.

The myth was one of reinvention. It was what film noir was all about. Society would allow you to reinvent yourself. You'd probably fail, but you'd fail because of flaws in yourself, not flaws in society.

Film noir exibited that. The great westerns of the 50's had clashes between man and society as central themes -- Shane, High Noon, The Searchers. And them, along with the previous decades film noir classics such as The Postman Rings Twice, had heros or anti-heros who really didn't quite fit with society. But, they still had a chance. They usually failed when they took that chance, but the failure was there failure to mesh with society, not societys failure.

Today we don't look at things that way. Today society doesn't even give you a chance to fit. If you don't fit you go to jail, or you're shunned in some other way.

We put a higher percentage of our citizens in prison than any other country in the world, probably in the history of the world. We don't even give people a first chance anymore, much less a second chance.


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