Monday, June 2, 2008

Population Bomb

As a result of my interest in music video kick--which really hit their stride in the 90's--I became interested in Generation X. Usually defined as those born between the years of 1960 and 1980, I missed the race on that one. However, it seems to me that a lot of the issues associated with that generation are still afflicting--what is it now?--Generation Y (see Reality Bites).

But that is neither here nor there when it comes to this post. I was reading about the background of Gen X and was totally bowled over by the 1970's American take on babies and population control. Seems a little harsh but hey, maybe we should have adhered to the proposed 70's population rules after all.

Notes to keep in mind:

Baby Boomers-Born between 1943 and 1960. 1943 the year that WW2 seen as most likely to be successful and 1960 the year that JFK elected. All about optimism. 1960 also the year in which the first commercially available birth control pill available (Envoid 10). Tom Wolf calls this generation the Third Great Awakening; with revolution at the universities, finding themselves within the exploding market of self-help, and the sexual revolution.

Generation X-Born between 1960 and 1980 when Reagan was elected. They feel the fallout from the Awakening with the demise of political leadership, the high divorce rate, and the weak educational system.

Biologist Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb in 1968 which envisioned several scenarios of a world with unchecked population growth. Yeah, we're thinking famine, war, Idiocracy. He laid out plans of prevention that included: luxury taxes baby supplies, responsibility prizes for each couple every 5 years they remain childless, and a special lottery with tickets available only to the childless. He even created a support group called Zero Population Growth, Inc. that had 700,000 members by the '80's--and yes, it's still around. Immediately becoming a best-seller, The Population Bomb, spawned many other books on the subject, as well as scientific experiments and news cover stories.

"Squeezing Into The Seventies" was headline for Life magazine's cover story which read,

"...each American baby represents fifty times as great a threat to the planet as
each Indian baby."

And historian John Sommerville captures the 70's zeitgeist,

Babes are the enemy. Not your baby or mine, of course. Individually
they are all cute. But together they are a menace"

There was a slew of movies that came out during this time that show children in a rather unpleasant light.

*Paper Moon-1973
*Taxi Driver-1976
*Pretty Baby-1978
*Bugsy Malone-1976
*Rosemary's Baby-1968
*The Exorcist-1973
*Demon Seed-1977
*The Omen-1976
*The Bad News Bears-1976
*It's Alive!-1974
*The Boys From Brazil-1978

Movies made for children practically disappeared during this time. G-rated movies fell 70%. Where was Disney throughout all this?

This was what Gen X was born into. This was their legacy...dum, dum, dum.

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