Last night, I went to the Mindbridge Film Group, and we watched a great movie, Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, staring Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre. For a film of its age, it’s weathered well, and I quite enjoyed it.
I was, however, a little surprised at the scene where Kirk Douglas gets a seal drunk. Now, I’m sure Disney did not actually get a seal intoxicated, but it still struck me as being a little off for an older Disney movie.
The scene reminded me of how much we’ve changed as a culture in the last 50 years. In addition to a drunk seal, everyone in the movie smoked like a chimney. Of course, this movie was filming during the same time I Love Lucy, a show where they drove home the idea that offering a cigarette was the only sophisticated way to greet a visitor. Six years after this movie came out, the Andy Griffith Show premiered, in which a regular recurring character was Otto, the lovable town drunk.
It amazes me that while some things once common have become so taboo, we’re currently going through a second sexual revolution, even here in Iowa, where coming out as gay or admitting you have the same kind of sexual interests and drives as the average person isn’t quite such a big deal anymore.
I remember back in 1994, Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders answered a question by saying that masturbation was part of healthy human sexuality and an appropriate alternative to riskier sexual behaviors. President Clinton ended up firing her over this statement, only to later be held to to public scrutiny for not heeding her advice. Ironically, most of today’s young people agree with both Elder’s opinion that masturbation is healthy, and Clinton’s opinion that BJs don’t count.