Some Quotes Of Note: Politicians Damning New Technologies/Cultural Artifacts

from the have-fun-with-it,-people dept

In my post earlier about Rep. Robert Wexler's misguided remarks at the World Copyright Summit, an anonymous commenter added a wonderful comment highlighting similar politically misguided sayings throughout the years that was too good not to share. The anonymous commenter didn't say where it's from, but it appears that it was mostly from a Wired article from a few years ago. So, one could make an argument that the original comment was infringing, but aren't we all better off for having had the chance to read it?
Is it the only lesson of history that man is unteachable?

-- Sir Winston Churchill

The disturbing material in Grand Theft Auto and other games like it is stealing the innocence of our children and it's making the difficult job of being a parent even harder ... I believe that the ability of our children to access pornographic and outrageously violent material on video games rated for adults is spiraling out of control.

- US senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2005

The effect of rock and roll on young people, is to turn them into devil worshippers; to stimulate self-expression through sex; to provoke lawlessness; impair nervous stability and destroy the sanctity of marriage. It is an evil influence on the youth of our country.

- Minister Albert Carter, 1956

Many adults think that the crimes described in comic books are so far removed from the child's life that for children they are merely something imaginative or fantastic. But we have found this to be a great error. Comic books and life are connected. A bank robbery is easily translated into the rifling of a candy store. Delinquencies formerly restricted to adults are increasingly committed by young people and children ... All child drug addicts, and all children drawn into the narcotics traffic as messengers, with whom we have had contact, were inveterate comic-book readers This kind of thing is not good mental nourishment for children!

- Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent, 1954

The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge. Parents take care to feed their children with wholesome diet; and yet how unconcerned about the provision for the mind, whether they are furnished with salutary food, or with trash, chaff, or poison?

- Reverend Enos Hitchcock, Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family, 1790

Does the telephone make men more active or more lazy? Does [it] break up home life and the old practice of visiting friends?

- Survey conducted by the Knights of Columbus Adult Education Committee, San Francisco Bay Area, 1926

This new form of entertainment has gone far to blast maidenhood ... Depraved adults with candies and pennies beguile children with the inevitable result. The Society has prosecuted many for leading girls astray through these picture shows, but GOD alone knows how many are leading dissolute lives begun at the 'moving pictures.'

- The Annual Report of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 1909

The indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced ... at the English Court on Friday last ... It is quite sufficient to cast one's eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs, and close compressure of the bodies ... to see that it is far indeed removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is ... forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.

- The Times of London, 1816
I particularly like the last quote. That darn Waltz. Destroying society.

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  1. icon
    MikeC (profile), 13 Jun 2009 @ 11:41am

    Just an interesting thought - Review of Replys

    I said in the original post that I don't necessarily see a causal link from the said evils to the problems of society today. I agree we lead overall better lives than 100 years ago and the establishment per say will always decry change.

    In fact I think much of what we see existed always but we just hear about it more thanks to our expanded communication abilities and the fact that 20% of the population is a lot more people now that it was 100 years ago, so there is, quantitatively, more bad stuff going on. Politician's haven't changed at all, if you don't believe it read some 1880-1920's newspapers!

    I also think we have dumbed down what we expect kids to accomplish and upped the opportunity for risk. If you don't think so, read some text books from 1900 and read the ones they use today. I think this is a result of our society basically going from entropy to chaos .. ie wider swings in our norms due to a relaxation of control over our behavior. I don't know if the is good or bad, but looking at history, the more "civilized" we become the weaker overall we become, to be replaced by a younger more vigorous rival.

    I don't have an answer except that I think each generation tries to out-rebel the previous ones, they expand the limits of what's acceptable and it spirals to more and more (as us in the older generation see it) depravity, because we relax the controls - or it's too much work to enforce them.

    The truth is the majority of kids are just fine, but kids today just have the opportunity to take many more risks than they did 100 years ago.

    Or as my old scout master taught us, to learn - study, to obtain wisdom - observe. Which is something no one would say to a kid today because they would assume they couldn't understand it. Changed a lot in 30 years it has.

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