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Internet Meme Demolition Derby: The ’70s vs Today Part 2

70 vs 2015 2And we’re back! I hope everyone had a nice week off from contemplating the horrible mess that we have made of our childrens lives since that halcyon age called the 1970’s. Back when you could still get measles… unlike today. This week we will return to our reference document provided by ticklr user Starbuck, a sampling of scenarios accompanied by the vastly different reactions of the various subjects involved depending on their era. As the headline from last week says..

The Difference Between High School in 1970 and 2015. This Guy Nails it.

Scenario 4: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his dad gives screams at him.


1970- Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.


2015- Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Once again we are presented with the miraculous corrective and preventative powers of the male scream. Evidently the problem with kids these days is that we don’t yell at them enough. In 2015 young Billy is sent on into a downward spiral after the STATE intervenes in his God given right to scream at his kid.

On the other (scientifically based) hand, modern child psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh, according to this Slate article, have found that…

“harsh verbal discipline”—cursing, insults, and shouting—can be as harmful to kids as hitting or spanking.


1) yelling and bratty behavior reinforced each other, 2) yelling increased the likelihood that a child would become depressed, and 3) even kids in homes that were otherwise “warm and loving” were not immune to a raised voice’s damaging effects.

Of course we now know that child psychologists are really after…

Scenario 5: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.


1970-Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.


2015- The police are called and Mark is expelled for drug violations…His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Ok… smoking dock?  Man, people in the 1970’s were fucking stupid. Don’t smoke Mark, it’s not worth it. Let me get this out of the way however because it is a recurring theme in these scenarios. We in the 21st century absolutely have a problem with zero tolerance policies in schools and over policing of our schoolchildren. While I think that the meme author has driven this concern off the road and into the ditch, it is not a baseless fear.

Scenario 6: Pedro fails high school English.


1970- Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.


2015- Pedro’s cause is taken up by the state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist . ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is then banned from the core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway, but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he can’t speak English.

Hey! It’s Pedro, a non-white face to break up the vanilla canvas. Of course Pedro is only trotted out so our meme can get HELLA RACIST!!! This scenario has it all; State intrusion, the godless machinations of the ACLU, nativism and straight up racism towards Latinos and Hispanics. I don’t really have a ton to say about this, the nonsense should be self evident right? I would just like to point out that if Pedro cannot speak ENGLISH then how did he get into high school in the first place? You know that high school English isn’t a language course… right?

Scenario 7: Johnny Takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.


1970- Ants die.


2015- ATF,  Homeland Security, and the FBI are called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents and all siblings are removed from the home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is put on a terrorist watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

I must admit that “Ants die” was the funniest line delivered by our meme author. Compared to the paranoid meanderings of the rest of this screed, “Ants die” is refreshingly candid. In reality of course, Johnny is lucky that the ants were the only casualty of his escapade. Back in the real world, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s handy Fireworks Injury Infographic, 240 people on average go to the emergency room every day during the month around the 4th of July Holiday. And that’s just people using fireworks within shouting distance of their intended safety parameters, let alone Johnny’s attempt at Macgyver-ing his own Improvised Explosive Device. 

We can once again dismiss most of the 2015 scenario as the fever dreams of someone whose Glenn Beck decoder ring is stuck in Obama is coming for your guns and/or children mode. Instead we should consider that cruelty towards animals by children can be an indicator of later psychological problems. From the Humane Society’s Q&A on Animal Cruelty and Human Violence...

Is there a connection between animal abuse and criminal violence?

A number of studies have drawn links between the abuse of animals and violence against people.  A 2001-2004 study by the Chicago Police Department “revealed a startling propensity for offenders charged with crimes against animals to commit other violent offenses toward human victims.”  Of those arrested for animal crimes, 65% had been arrested for battery against another person.[i]

Sure, today it’s just ants. A lot of ants. Also we should consider whether this is the same Johnny who lost that fistfight with Mark last week. Is this just the first step in his quest for revenge?

And finally…

Scenario 8: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.


1970- In a short time Johnny feels better and goes on playing.


2015- Mary is accused of being a sexual predator, she loses her job. She faces three years in State prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Hey, it’s a woman, Mary the Teacher! Everybody say hi to Mary. Quick before the STATE sends her off to Gitmo for getting girl cooties all over Johnny. Or something. I’m really at a loss at this point, the predictable paranoia, the ridiculous scaremongering surrounding any hint of psychotherapy, it’s all too much. I assume that if you, gentle reader, have gotten this far then you understand how far into the weeds this meme has taken us.

Believe it or not, I can somewhat empathize with some of the underlying concerns of this meme. A quick look at Free Range Kids will reveal numerous stories of overreach by Child Protective Services, overreaction by police and ridiculous reactions to liability concerns. But utter nonsense like this meme does nothing to address these issues. I’m terribly worried that there are people out there that read stuff like this and take it completely seriously. They live in a bizarre fictional world in which shady government agencies and feminizing psychotherapists wait to prey on their otherwise perfect young boys. This dreck is chock full of racist and nativist dog whistles and patently unbelievable situations. I would almost believe that it was a Poe, but if it is an intentional parody the author has done a piss poor job of making that clear. As PZ Myers pointed out at Pharyngula in 2012

Oh, and for anyone who tries to mimic creationists, Republicans, or Christians as a clever mockery of their beliefs, if it isn’t clear what you’re doing, don’t try to dignify it as a “Poe” — all it is is bad fucking satire. Satire is a good and historically authentic method of speaking against power and foolishness, but if your schtick can’t be distinguished from the real thing, it’s contributing to the crapfest of idiocy we’re already drowning in, rather than opposing it.

So just stop it.

It’s like “ironic racism”. If I see you sharing stuff like this on social media, the first thing I assume isn’t going to be “Oh how ironic and clever”, it’s going to be “Oh what an ASSHOLE!.”

Featured Image Credit Flicker User Markku Åkerfelt

Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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  1. Mark smokes and uses guns and lives in a household which has guns, all high risk behaviors, and everyone is ok with this…
    Yeah, 1970 sounds fantastic!

  2. So do I have this right? Johnny’s putting gunpowder from firecrackers into a model paint bottle? Like a *glass* bottle?

    Johnny’s not too clever, I guess is what we’re being told.

    Not to mention, “his dad gives screams at him”? Someone didn’t pass English, all right. I’m thinking his name was Johnny, though, not Pedro.

  3. Well, I will admit taht my memories of the 1970’s are limited, but those people who liked to do all kinds of shitty things like blowing up stuff in the 1980’s generally didn’t end well, even though the parents yelled at them a lot.
    Also, when you talk to people who grew up during those wonderful times of unsupervised children with dangerous devices, all of them have a story to tell where somebody git seriously hurt. Occasionally it’s the story where somebody dies. Or it’s the story of the kid who got beaten at home and who either commited suicide or who ended up in prison. But those parents were not their parents. Those parents were the parents who beat too much, as opposed to their parents (or themselves), who just beat the right amount. Also the kids who got seriously hurt were the kids who were too stupid, too slow, too fat, too whatever. It was never that they did fucking stupid things and that an adult should have kept them from doing so.
    My cousin nearly managed to hack off his finger with a very sharp knife. He WAS fucking stupid because he didn’t handle it correctly (we were playing Robinsin Crusoe and he wielded a Swiss Army knife like a machete). He also shouldn’t have had that knife in the first place and neither should I, because we were way too small to handle them responsibly while unsupervised.
    I will admit that we stole them from our parents. Holy fuck, we could have killed each other with our stupidity…

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