Our cultural disconnect

Will Campbell (1924-2013) described himself and his dad as “deep water Baptists.” He once asked his dad if he believed in infant baptism. He said, “Believe in it? Son, I’ve actually seen it.” (I’ve cleaned up the quote a bit.)

This small planet houses vastly different religions, politics and cultures. I’ve seen things I never expected to see in church, at political rallies and in our diverse sub-cultures. When my friend Stephen tried to explain to me physicists’ theories about parallel universes, I thought of the diverse views of reality that exist side-by-side. I thought of the “culture shock” of two New York City aristocrats who discovered a different universe when they moved to the country in the TV sitcom “Green Acres” (1965-1971).

My early TV exposure was a limited introduction to cultural diversity, through a generally W.A.S.P. lens. I saw New York City through “I Love Lucy” (1951-1957),”The Amos ‘n Andy Show” (1951-1955), “The Honeymooners” (1955-56) and “Car 54, Where Are You?” (1961-1963). I saw Los Angeles through “Dragnet” (1951-1959), “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” (1952-1966), and “The Beverly Hillbillies” (1962-1971). I saw rural America through “The Real McCoys” (1957-1963), “The Andy Griffith Show” (1960-1968), and others. I saw small town America through “Father Knows Best” (1954-1960), “Leave it to Beaver” (1957-1963), “The Donna Reed Show” (1958-1966), and “My Three Sons” (1960-1972). My early diversity exposure occurred within a relatively narrow cultural bandwidth.

In 2020, we’ve witnessed our national diversity through a national election, coronavirus scenes from hospitals and nursing homes across the U.S., and protests by Black Lives Matter and opposition groups. Some of our many differences have been bridged. Many of our different realities exist side-by-side, waiting to be properly introduced, waiting to connect.

A thin slice of the American Pie, 1960-1964, “Route 66: The TV Series,” from Road Travel America

2 thoughts on “Our cultural disconnect”

    1. We’re much different now. We weren’t as homogenized then as those shows portrayed, The 70’s programs reflected more racial diversity. Today’s programming reflects more lifestyle diversity.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s