Time has a way of erasing origins, of causing us to forget where our most absurd beliefs come from. Fortunately, as many celebrity skin sites remind us, The Internet Never Forgets. And neither, we’re told, do elephants. Of course, we all know that some of the Conservative Right’s most hateful ideas go way back, most of the to the Red Scare paranoia of the 1950s. We know that…but how often do we really stop to look at the source?
By today’s standards, these old 50s educational films are kind of cute and quaint. It’s fun to look back and see how different things were then, and how we as a society have changed. Well, how most of us have changed. Most of us have figured out that no, Jimmy, you can’t escape an atomic bomb by hiding under your desk. No, the Mary Jane doesn’t turn you into an insane drug Viking, and no, homosexuals don’t go around raping little boys as a matter of course. In that sense, these old “educational” films are usually good for a laugh.
And it’s OK to laugh at them, because today we know they’re ridiculous. But to an entire generation of conservatives, “public service announcements” like these informed their whole way of thought, and they passed that on to others like an infectious disease of the mind.
And that’s pretty ironic, since this very film on The Homosexual refers to gayness as
“…a sickness that is not visible like smallpox, but no less dangerous and contagious.”
Awww…SMALLPOX! That is so cute!
But here are another key features and lines that aren’t quite as cute, and you can hear echoes of them today in every argument against gay rights. First, the fearmongering theme throughout, and the connection of homosexuality to pedophilia. Yup, this is Genesis for that one. Notice that at no point in this film does a gay man every approach another gay man; nope, they’re all about raping little boys. And here are a couple of lines…see if they don’t remind you of Rafael Cruz, Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps:
“Ralph was a homosexual, a person who demands intimate relations with members of their own sex.”
“Riding in the shadow of death.”
And there’s kind of an interesting side insight here too, in regard to that classic conservative victim blaming. Pay close attention to what happens to “Jimmy” after he reports his rape to the “juvenile authorities.” He’s “placed on probation and released into the custody of his parents.”
Shame-and-blame at its finest, folks.
Maybe Jimmy shouldn’t have been such a slut.
But, all that being said, enjoy this little trip back in time. Just remember — this is the reality our conservative friends live in, and the “Golden Age of Morality” they keep talking about returning is to. Maybe they’d like to bring smallpox back, too; the anti-vaxxers certainly seem to be trying.