A Tongue in Cheek Comparison of the 1950’s and 2014

Shoppers in Bourke Street 1957

Sadly, I’m old enough to remember the 1950s. I say sadly, because this puts me into the category of people that the TV news reporters now call ‘elderly’. I started school in 1954 – the year that Queen Elizabeth first visited Australia. I still have the medal that was given to all school children in Victoria to commemorate the occasion. 
Life in those days was simple. School teachers were respected and the bank manager was an important  member of society. The local policeman was feared. He solved most problems with wayward youth with a cuff behind the ear and a threat to tell their parents if the bad behaviour continued. I could safely ride my bike to school and play football in the park unsupervised. We played cricket in the street and we rode our billy carts down the hill without helmets or any other form of protection. 
Now, our society is very (perhaps overly) regulated and it seems that we cannot do much at all without some law or regulation governing every thing we do. You can’t give kids peanuts for fear of some form of reaction and political correctness rules the day. A primary school teacher can’t give you a hug and you almost need a permit to have a family gathering in the park. I fear that soon we will become like the African nation of Malawi where it is illegal to fart in public. 
A friend sent me an email recently that provides a comparison between school in the 1950s and today. I know that it is quite ‘tongue in cheek’. Nevertheless, it does suggest some interesting comparisons for those of us who are old enough to remember the good old days before our society became the very regulated ‘nanny state’ that it is today. 

Scenario 1:

Jack’s dad, Sam, is going duck hunting and drops Jack off at school on the way. His shotgun is lying on the back seat of his car and his ammunition, waders and inflatable boat are in the boot.

1950 – The Vice Principal comes over, looks at Sam’s shotgun, goes over to his own car and gets his own shotgun to show Sam.

2014- School goes into lock down, Police are called, Sam is hauled off to jail and never sees his car or shotgun again. Counsellors are called in to treat traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:

Patrick and Mark get into a school yard fight at lunch time..

1950 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Patrick and Mark shake hands and end up as best friends.

2014 – Police are called and the SWAT team arrives — they arrest both Patrick and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both are expelled from school even though Patrick started the fight.

Scenario 3:

Jeffrey will not sit still in class. He disrupts other students with constant talking.

1950 – Jeffrey is sent to the Principal’s office and given six of the best by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2014 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADSD. The family gets welfare from the government because Jeffrey now has a diagnosed disability.

Scenario 4:

Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a spanking with his belt.

1950 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normally, goes to college, and becomes a successful politician.

2014 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The Department of Social Services is told by Billy’s sister that she can remember being abused, and then their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the department’s psychologist and leaves the marriage.

Scenario 5:

Mark has a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1950 – Mark asks his teacher for a glass of water, takes the aspirin and feels better.

2014 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. He becomes a drop out and is now in a rehabilitation facility.

Scenario 6:

Demetrius fails high school English.

1950 – Demetrius’ parents pay for private coaching. Demetrius passes English and becomes a successful entrepreneur.

2014 – Demetrius’ case is taken up by the government. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that requiring English to graduate is racist. Equal Opportunity Commission declares that the state school system cannot act discriminately. English is then banned from the core curriculum so as not to offend minority groups. Demetrius graduates anyway but ends up digging graves in a cemetery for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7:

Johnny takes the gunpowder from the leftover Guy Fawkes night firecrackers, puts them in a jam tin, and blows up his neighbour’s letter box.

1950 – Dad pays for repairs, and deducts the cost from Johnny’s pocket money. Johnny gets a spanking. Life goes on normally.

2014 – The police and the bomb squad are called. Johnny is charged with a terrorism offence. ASIO investigates his parents. He and all his siblings are removed from their home. Their computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 8:

Michael falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. To comfort her student, she gives him a hug.

1950 – In a short time, Michael feels better and goes on playing.

2014 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job, never to be reemployed as a teacher again. She faces 3 years in Prison. Michael undergoes 5 years of psycho therapy.


Bruce is a keen traveller and photographer. This web site describes his travel and family interests

2 thoughts on “A Tongue in Cheek Comparison of the 1950’s and 2014

  1. I am posting this from Malawi.

    “I fear that soon we will become like the African nation of Malawi where it is illegal to fart in public.”

    Not true, regardless of what you have read on the internet. If you think it is true then quote the relevant Act and section.

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