When Happiness Was a Warm Toy Gun
In a way, commercials can tell you more about how we've changed than history books. The other day I came across the above 1960s TV commercial on YouTube; it's for a toy set called the "Gung Ho Commando Outfit" by Marx. And it's a perfect snapshot of the America that, sadly, no longer exists.
Despite this fact, watching it is hilarious. It is unabashedly politically incorrect, featuring a group of young boys running around playing war games, all decked out in the most authentic military gear a 10-year-old could imagine. It's enough to make any suburban soccer mom's head explode.
Every toy gun in the commercial looks (gasp!) realistic; there are no sissified colors, no orange plastic piece at the end of the barrel. Yet you never heard of a child being shot after pointing one of these toy weapons at a policeman. You see, even when I was a boy in the 1970s, we were taught enough respect for elders to understand that a certain necessary wall existed between adults and children. You would never take the liberty of "playing" with an adult stranger in the street, whether he sported a badge or not. It never even entered our minds. As for policemen, they could assume that a child wouldn't target them with a real gun. And it was a safe assumption.
The commercial's creators also didn't feel compelled to include a girl in the spot. The girls were in the doll commercials. And people instinctively understood that sex "stereotyping" is actually a good thing: It is simply a negative term applied to the process of cultivating of each sex's characteristic virtues.
Today, of course, parents worry that allowing their son to play with guns will turn him into a murderer. In traditional America, parents knew that this was about as logical as the concern that allowing him to play with trucks will turn him into a truck driver. I played with realistic-looking toy guns as a child, and all my friends did, too. And I don't remember any mother ever batting an eye at it. It was simply what boys did.
We had toy soldiers as well - and warplanes, tanks, battleships and submarines. Yet, if, as some leftist cynics say, commercials like the one I cite and our activities were training us to become tomorrow's soldiers, it didn't work. To the best of my recollection, neither I nor any of my friends ever aspired to join the military. This is similar to how I built model rockets but never yearned to be a rocket engineer and blasted them off but never thought of being an astronaut. It was play, and I was satisfied to be the four-star general of my lilliputian living-room army.
Amazingly, none of us ever shot up our school, either. It also never entered our minds. So could it be that guns cause violence as much as cars cause crashes?
The difference, of course, lay in the moral foundation that prevailed at the time. People were more likely to believe in morality, as the left's favorite rationalization, moral relativism, hadn't yet taken hold to the degree it has today. The last 40 years of the defining of deviancy downwards, however, has had its effect. So the conclusion is obvious:
Guns don't kill people; liberals do.
Speaking of which, YouTube's audience is quite young and liberal, but it's interesting to read their comments under the commercial. A great number of them wrote things such as, "Wow, I was born too late" and "How come they didn't have cool toys like this when I was a kid?" The answer to this is obvious to the discerning, but how many of these young people will make the correct associations between cause and effect? How many will realize that our cultural upheaval is the handiwork of the very statist civilization-destroyers for whom most of them vote?
And this is why it's great that they stumbled across that commercial. They certainly won't learn in their schools that traditional America was both a freer and more secure place; all they'll get from their leftist madrassahs is that it was a misbegotten land populated by racist, sexist, homophobic, slave-owning, Indian-killing, civil-rights-quashing, polluting, knuckle-dragging bigots. And maybe the Marx that once made millions of children happy can help counteract the Marx that today makes them twisted. Then, hopefully, a few of these Obama Youth will realize that it is the liberals who kill freedoms, kill cultures, kill goodness, kill futures and - as evidenced by girly-color guns - are killjoys.