Remember the good old days?
It was when entertainers such as Jerry Mathers on "Leave it to Beaver" were worried about standards and how they behaved in public. Today we have Justin Bieber who is hell-bent on proving that the rules of civilization do not apply to him because he has money and fame.
It was back when athletes such as Joe DiMaggio, R.C. Owens, and Johnny Unitas let their actions speak for them. They knew they were good but they had too much class to brag about it. Now every game has a least one Richard Sherman-type of trash talk incident from a prima donna player.
They were the days when people walking down the street actually made eye contact and said "hello" to people they passed - strangers and friends alike. Today most people have their noses buried in smartphones texting or have both ears plugged into tunes.
Clerks always said thank-you after you made a purchase. Rarely did anyone act like they were doing you a favor by waiting on you.
It was a time that if you did something outrageous, illegal or stupid you'd be happy if you were fortunate enough not to have been seen doing it. Today we take videos and post them so the whole world can check it out.
If guys exposed their underwear or crack in public they'd be embarrassed. Now dudes think they're being cool. Just ask Bieber.
It took an effort for a company to send you junk mail. Now they inundate millions of email inboxes in seconds with the stroke of a key.
One didn't prove their manhood by getting in someone's face, extending the middle finger, lacing language with the f-word every 10 seconds, or shooting guns from moving cars. Only losers did that.
Oil companies made considerably less money and hired lots of people who delivered an antiquated commodity known as service. They used to pump your gas, check your oil, clean your windshields, and take payment from you at the driver's side window. Today the oil companies are awash in money and you're lucky if they bother to change the water for cleaning windshields once a week.
We used to wait for family gatherings or the holidays to bore people to death with endless pictures we took of family, vacations and such. Maybe it had something to do with the fact dropping film off for processing and picking it back up served as a cooling off period. Now we email and post live streaming videos of everything we do as we do it as if it really interests anyone.
People connected with others by actually communicating with them in person, on the phone, or in carefully thought out letters. People worried about the impact of their words. Now we hide behind technology and communicate with the world with little self-censorship or restraint. Kids were given time to be kids. Now if they aren't on the fast track for college, participating in 1,001 activities and sports we figure that they're somehow being robbed. Yes, robbed of the ability to let their imaginations develop on their own or do something as risqué as actually spending time daydreaming.
If you go back 50 years someone, somewhere penned or typed similar laments about the good old days.
By no means does change mean that young people today are less dependable, less community minded or less smart.
The problem is all of the shortcomings are being amplified and are overshadowing the good stuff.
Fifty years ago if Richard Sherman did trash talking, the networks would have cut to something else thanks to the power of delaying "live broadcasts" by 10 or so seconds.
Bieber didn't invent the spoiled, out-of-control brat genre of young celebrities. It's been around for ages. It's just that vanity wasn't amplified by selfies, social media postings, and Tweets.
The advent of 1,001 cable TV channels hasn't multiplied the entertainment or intellectual offerings much.
Long before there was sensational gossip blogging we had offerings such as the National Enquirer. Rarely did anyone admit to buying it but it for the longest time it was the No. 1 selling weekly in the country. Who needs it today when we can get all the dirt that is either made up or exaggerated by going to an endless number of websites.
The truth is we as a people have just as many faults and ugliness in the form of bullying and abuse as we did 50 years ago.
The closer the world comes together by instant communication the less things are put into a perspective that only time can provide.
If the Beaver at age 19 had flown to Miami, got an unauthorized police escort, rented a Lamborghini to go drag racing, as well as mixed alcohol with pot and prescription drugs, and then was arrested we would have heard about it. But the way we were hit with it wouldn't have been on the level of a tsunami. The Associated Press, as an example, had 42 takes for its main story on Bieber the day after he was arrested. That was about 40 more takes than on such trivial things as the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act, the federal budget, and the debate about free speech and abortion.
And instead of jumping on top of a SUV and waving to fans after being released from jail, you can bet the Beaver would have been much more low profile.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Courier or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.