Monday, March 14, 2011

the old days

Being an Amazon Prime member has its advantages. I love the "free" two-day shipping (I realize the that "free" shipping costs $79 a year but for me it is well worth it - I can order something that costs $0.99 and it still comes in two days). And to sweeten the pot, recently they made a large portion of their streaming movie and television catalog available for "free" as another membership benefit.

That latest benefit prompted me to get a Roku box so I could stream those shows to the television, instead of just watching them on a computer.

The Roku box is able to stream popular sites like Amazon, Netflix and HuluPlus. It also streams several lesser-known sites. I looked through the list and selected the "Pub-D-Hub" service, which features old movies, cartoons, tv shows and even commercials and what they call "cautionary films."

That last category, "cautionary films," is pretty interesting. It's a collection of films produced mainly for students that instructs them on the ways of the world - proper moral and ethical behavior, and how to avoid getting into trouble and also avoiding harmful types of people. In other words, subjects that you won't see on NPR.

I watched a few of those today and while they do seem corny by today's standards, there is a lot of truth and wisdom in them. Watching them, I was thinking that this really ought to be common sense but hey, take a look at what our society is like these days - common sense is at a premium. It isn't all that common. Schools are so concerned with test scores and grades and achievements that there is little or no emphasis placed on the morals and ethics. Many administrators ought to take some lessons in those fields since they seem to completely abandon any sort of ethical behavior in the quest to make their institutions look good.

One of my favorite teachers was my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Wilson. Often she would sit in front of the class and just talk to us about morals and behaving properly. I always thought this was a welcome change from academics since it meant not having to "study," but it was also interesting hearing what she had to say. She took it very seriously. She didn't preach to us and didn't speak in a condemning or condescending manner; she spoke to us as fellow human beings in society, and in a loving, caring way. That's part of why she was so popular - we all knew she cared about us.

If you ask me, lessons like that were every bit if not more important than going through academic exercises of which maybe 75% would be long forgotten after leaving school.

Back then, there was much more talk about what was "right," and how people should behave, and it wasn't adulterated by all this ridiculous political correctness that has pervaded society for some time now. Contrary to popular belief, there are absolutes in this world.

Yes, the stuff from the "old days" may seem corny but it is corny in the sense of the little angel on your right shoulder being corny. These days, political correctness and "sophistication" are just an excuse to listen to the other little fellow with the horns that is on your left shoulder.

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