It started innocently enough. A friend and I decided to
The current special exhibit at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) is SCREAM! featuring Goosebumps, the Science of Fear. Most of the exhibit focused on traditional fears - snakes, spiders and creepy stuff. There's a lot of analysis about how your body responds to fear - hair standing on end, flight response, etc.
The most intriguing part for me was a section entitled Fear and Society. Here's how they describe it:
Microwaves, witch-hunts, Elvis Presley, and the year 2000 have all incited moral panics—what sociologists call the collective anxieties about what direction society is going. Fear and Society shows how collective fears are represented and transmitted through media and popular culture.
There was a letter from a concerned parent about the "obscene" lyrics of a rock song on a record his daughter brought home. The letter, pictured at the top of this post, is addressed to Attorney General Robert Kennedy. The song was Louie, Louie. I'd known there was controversy over the largely unintelligible lyrics, but did you know there was an FBI investigation?! After two years (yes, TWO YEARS) they found no evidence of obscenity. That was in the mid 1960s.
In 2005, a school superintendent in Benton Harbor, Michigan refused to let a school marching band play the song in a parade. She later relented. But, still.
My eye was drawn to the part of the display that addressed McCarthyism and "Red Scares." I've long wanted to teach a class on Red Scares and Blacklisting on the Silver Screen. Catchy, huh? So far, the college hasn't accepted that proposal. But I have hope. Once I'm done teaching the blogging course in the spring, I'm going to pursue that big time. When we got home, after supper, Professor X, Daring Daughter and I watched a classic film that relates to this theme. But that's a post of its own, coming soon.