Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thanatoast, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #1
    So, I watched this movie for the first time in a long while last night and saw secondhand how much the world has changed.

    Specifically, I'm thinking of when Jennifer Jason Leigh has an abortion. In 1982 she came up with the money, went to the free clinic and was out that afternoon ready to put the episode behind her. In 2007 I can imagine a different scenario, where a parental notification law forces her to tell her parents who of course demand to know who the boy was. The boy is arrested for statutory rape and thrown in jail for 5-10 years, has to put his name on a sex offender list, is unable to secure a job or dwelling and ends up on the fringes of society, bitter and unproductive. The girl has a row with her parents, is forced to carry to term and spends the rest of her life paying for her mistake. Maybe even dropping out of school, or being forced into one of those "military academies". Another ruined life.

    Now this is obviously an extreme example, but we've set up the rules to allow this sort of interference. We've decided it's more important to punish the sinner than forgive them, more important to "protect" the children than to allow them to grow into functional adults.

    And that wasn't the only example of a cultural disconnect between then and now. The first time Spicoli tumbled out of his van in a cloud of smoke he would've been arrested, tossed in jail, been denied money for college and had a mark on his resume that would've prevented him from obtaining almost any decent-paying job. His VW microbus would've been stolen (sorry, impounded and autctioned by the police) and possibly his parents could've lost their home if any drug paraphenalia was found within.

    The graduation dance was full of people who hadn't been frisked, metal-detected or breathalyzed. There were no police officers at the dance. Kids were making out in cars in the school parking lot.

    The science teacher somehow obtained a monkey to show his class? They went and toured a hospital for a day, stepping into what I'm sure today would be considered at best private and at worst dangerous environments including the morgue where the teacher pulled organs out of a cadaver to show them. Maybe I went to the wrong schools, but I don't think they'd allow that anymore, at least not without a fifteen page consent and liability-waiver form. I was just talking to my boss who's sending her daughter to camp and she had to sign a form that basically listed all the ways her daughter could die and detailed how the camp wasn't to be held liable.

    And this isn't even to mention how a movie would never, ever, EVER be made today that portrayed two nude actors as two fifteen year olds having sex without the director, studio, producers and parents of the actors being sued for production and distribution of child porn.

    Now I'm only 28, and I know that everything wasn't peaches and cream in 1982, but what happened between now and then that America changed so much? I can't even *imagine* some of the stuff in that movie happening today. Yes, yes, I know it's just a movie but I also thought it was supposed to have been very relevent for the time.

    I'm sorry for the long semi-rant. I understand the concept of the pendulum-swing but it gets to me sometimes. Anyway, are there any thoughts, concerns, verbal abuses to be had on this topic?
     
  2. G5Unit macrumors 68020

    G5Unit

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  3. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #3
    I'd say you're right on, although this movie is a bit of an extreme example. I remember being able to do a lot more things back then as opposed to now. You could make mistakes and learn from them without having your life ruined.
     
  4. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #4
    Holy crap... I could have been tried under any number of todays anti-terrorism laws for **** I did in high school.

    On a side note, for anyone who saw / read October Sky (Rocket Boys was the original book title IIRC), my dad caught a lecture by Hickum a few years ago. One of his points was that back in the 50's when he was a kid, you could get chemistry sets that you could actually DO stuff with as opposed to just turning water different colors. He claimed that without access to that kind of stuff, his interest in rocketry could easily have been stifled at an early age.

    Times have changed...
     
  5. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #5
    Yep, I'll agree with you on that one.
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #6
    Um, I'd hardly rely on "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" as being a spot-on, factual documentation of life in 1982.
     
  7. Thanatoast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #7
    So take the movie as a separate issue. A girl in 1982 getting an abortion and a girl in 2007 attempting to get an abortion.

    Sex amongst highschool-age kids. In 1982 it was (and this is my assumption) a given. In 2007 we have that kid in Georgia who spent 5 years in prison for getting a blowjob from his girlfriend.

    Last prom season I read (Yahoo, Google, somewhere...) about teenagers being forced to take breathalyzer tests before being allowed into their prom.

    Just because I took the original stories from a movie doesn't discount the fact that the contrasts are strong and certainly not out of the bounds of reality, and maybe even touch on fundamental changes in attitude since then.

    My worry is that the conservative reaction has been so strong that we may not be able to recover. The Supreme Court recently affirmed a federal law restricting abortion with no provisions for the health or welfare or the choice of the mother at all. This only five years after striking down an almost identical state law.

    If the cyclical and generational swing is about to start moving left again, how far will we be able to go with the new restrictions placed on us by the right-wing in the last 25 years? How do we dismantle the War on Drugs with our current crop of gutless politicians? How about the War on Terror?

    Politicians know their game very well and they know that the easiest way to win an election is to demonize the other guy. This creates an atmosphere where it is almost impossible to argue for common sense reform much less radical change when it comes to sex, drugs, litigation, or anything really.
     
  8. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Took me a while to find it, but the OP recalled to mind this set of changes...please take with a dose of humor...

    1963 vs 2006 -

    Scenario: Jack pulls into school parking lot with rifle in gun rack.
    1963 - Vice Principal comes over, takes a look at Jack's rifle, goes to
    his car and gets his to show Jack.
    2006 - School goes into lockdown, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail
    and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

    Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
    1963 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail, nobody arrested, nobody expelled.
    2006 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark.
    Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

    Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.
    1963 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by Principal.
    Sits still in class.
    2006 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. School
    gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

    Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his father's car and his Dad gives
    him a whipping.
    1963 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college,
    and becomes a successful businessman.
    2006 - Billy's Dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster
    care and joins a gang. Billy's sister is told by state psychologist
    that she remembers being abused herself and their Dad goes to prison.
    Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.

    Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some headache medicine to
    school.
    1963 - Mark shares headache medicine with Principal out on the smoking
    dock.
    2006 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations.
    Car searched for drugs and weapons.

    Scenario: Mary turns up pregnant.
    1963 - 5 High School Boys leave town. Mary does her senior year at a
    special school for expectant mothers.
    2006 - Middle School Counselor calls Planned Parenthood, who notifies
    the ACLU. Mary is driven to the next state over and gets an abortion
    without her parent's consent or knowledge. Mary given condoms and told to be more careful next time.

    Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.
    1963: Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.
    2006: Pedro's cause is taken up by state democratic party. Newspaper
    articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a
    requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit
    against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned
    from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing
    lawns for a living because he can't speak English.

    Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July,
    puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.
    1963 - Ants die.
    2006 - BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with
    domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

    Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee.
    He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary, hugs him to comfort him.
    1963 - In a short time Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
    2006 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job.
    She faces 3 years in State Prison
     
  9. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #9
    How about going back 25 more years and looking at what was going on then.

    The post WWII years were extremely conservative. Society had been shaken up pretty badly by the Depression and the War. There was a massive attempt to tighten down on the liberties from the 20s, 30s and the war years. You'll remember that "In God We Trust" stemmed from the McCarthy Era, not from the founding fathers.

    This is mostly cyclical but I think it's an even a stronger cycle than in the past and it's mostly due to the Baby Boomers. They (we:D) have felt privileged and feel they are in control of America's morality.

    Give it another ten years and the boomers will be in their 70s and not nearly the force they think they are.
     
  10. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #10
    It's funny how this silly little comparison also refuses to acknowledge how ****** life was for many in 1963. Some blacks couldn't vote, go to school or ride a bus.

    Women were still mostly viewed as possessions and had no control over how many kids they could have.

    Kids were treated with contempt by the adults around them.

    Catholics were barely human.



    I think the common aspect of all these comparisons is the paranoia that seems to have become entrenched in American society.
     
  11. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #11
    You forgot to add, 2006- Johnny Sues school system for falling and hurting knee, gets multi million dollar settlement.
     
  12. Thanatoast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #12
    Which is why children aren't allowed to run on the playground in some schools in CT. There was an article in the NYT just the other day.
     
  13. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #13
    If I recall, we weren't allowed to run on the playground in elementary school (I went K-8 from 1993-2002 in CT), but at least we had a really cool playground that had the potential for pain, injury and lots of fun. Like, really tall slides without guardrails, rusty metal jungle gyms and rickety swings that could go extremely high. They've since ripped it all out of the ground and replaced it with a bright happy colored playground where everything is safe and padded to prevent injury.
     
  14. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #14
    Yes there was a huge 15 foot slide when I was in elementary school. The jungle gym was rusty and we liked it.:p Now a days you can't even play a game of tag or dodge ball for fear of hurting someone's feelings.:rolleyes:
     
  15. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #15
    Just for the sake of argument, Thora Birch was a minor when she did her topless scene in "American Beauty", "Clerks 2" took bestiality about as far as it can go w/o showing penetration, and the "rules" for what you can do on TV are more lax now than they were then (even post "nipple gate").

    I also have to agree w/Ugg to beware of looking through rose colored glasses when comparing contemporary times to the "good ol' days."


    Lethal
     
  16. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #16
    Kids (1995)
     
  17. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    How about his scenario:

    Stacy Hamilton is forced to tell her parents about her planned abortion and they have an honest heart to heart in which she decides to keep the child. The child is born and grows up to be a productive member of society. Stacy doesn't live with guilt or a sense of regret for her abortion.

    Spicoli and Stoner Bud (Eric Stoltz) were arrested for their drug use and distribution and numerous other students saw what drugs did to their lives so they didn't start up the habit themselves. These students who had their eyes opened to drug use, went on to be contributing members of our society. Though Spicoli's great college and career ambitions were ruined, he was still able to live the life of surf bum while smoking as often as he could.

    Many schools do not have metal detectors, breathalyzers, and people to frisk students at a school dance. Of course, in areas where they have had a lot of problems with drugs, weapons, etc these methods might actually help protect the students. If they started frisking the students in my hometown, I think that would cause a lot more uproar than what they might actually find on the students.
     
  18. Thanatoast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #18
    I was thinking of the recent uproar over the rape scene involving the blonde girl from war of the worlds. But you and LethalWolfe are right, there have been exceptions I missed.

    imac/cheese, I'll grant you that the scenarios you describe are possible and certainly the outcomes that the lawmakers and concerned parents are hoping for. Based soley on my own opinion and observations, though, i'd say that in our attempt to exert total control over our children we've created more problems than we've solved. I point to our astoundingly large prison population and the tendency of all these policies to be based on the teachings of Leviticus.
     
  19. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a

    OnceUGoMac

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    #19
    We never had to be frisked, go through a metal detector, or take a breathalyzer test to attend a dance. No police were in attendance as well.

    See bold.

    Thora Birch was not only an actress that portrayed a 16 year old that was nude in American Beauty, she was a 17 year old at the time.
     
  20. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #20
    Errr, the scuff up over that was because she was 12yrs old at the time of shooting. I don't know about you, but I do think care needs to be taken in deciding what child actors are exposed to so I have no qualms about some people questioning the need for a 12yr old girl to play a little girl that gets raped on camera. Successful child actors aren't exactly known for leading healthy, well adjusted lives later on so I'm in favor of things that make sure the child's best interests always take precedent over the film's, or the parents', best interests.


    Lethal
     
  21. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #21
    Not all of us.

    Your High School experience and mine must be vastly different then.

    And as for dswoodley's post, though I agree with some of that, it's less accurate of the realities IMO than Thanatoast's. Though both are extremes, and we could argue all day over their merits, most of what Thanatoast posted is in fact happening, whereas most of it didn't in the 80's, and even 90's. Whereas I'm thinking some people who have been shot or beaten up at school, or beaten at home, might disagree with dswoodley that things were fine. Add that to the above comment about minorities and women. Not to mention the extremes that I don't see happening, like Homeland Security going after a kid who fries ants. Even PETA probably wouldn't bother. Though you do have to worry about a kid who likes to torture other living creatures, even if they are just insects.

    Not that I would agree with either political side if they did take things to the extreme dswoodley posted, some of which is sadly now happening.
     
  22. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Just to clarify, it's not that I think everything was fine in 1963. I was just reminded of those scenarios by the OP. As Ugg pointed out, life could be seriously uncool for some people. In addition, the world was constatntly reminded that it lived under the threat of a nuclear holocaust, much of the entire American poplation was buying into a silly us-vs-them paradigm and cancer was a death sentence. Progress has been made, but not without some drawbacks. The absurdities of those scenarios doesn't completely mask the fact that in 2007 America has in its efforts to solve problems only created new ones.
     

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