The new prudery


I remember watching TV in the Seventies with my parents and can vividly remember toe-curling embarrassment from some of the content.  Yes, some of it was just plain rubbish, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  I am, of course, referring to the tide of innuendo and sauciness that passed for sitcom back then.  If you’re of a certain age and haven’t entirely blotted shows like Man About the House, Love thy Neighbour and George and Mildred out of your mind, then this will ring bells.  At the time, I thought it was a fairly harmless bit of fun and being a teenager I thought my parents’ tutting condescension was very prudish.  In fact, although to mention the word now makes me cringe I thought they were rather “square”!  As time went on, I never gave it further thought.

Until recently.

A little while back I saw a bit of one of those 70s sitcoms on a Sky channel called Backwater or some such, but this time I was watching with my now grown-up children!  We’d been flicking channels and I said something like, “let’s watch this, I remember this and it’s quite funny really”.  I can’t begin to describe how awful it was on so many levels.  Frankly, the children were appalled about the clumsy double-entendres, blatant sexism and racism.  And so was I.  They couldn’t believe that you could get away with saying that kind of thing in the 70s.  I found myself apologising for having suggested we tune in.  In fact, I think I found myself apologising for my generation!

That’s perhaps not too surprising.  After all, the 70s was now quite a long time ago.  In fact, just after the Stone Age according to my children.

But things have moved on a fair bit even in more recent years and the speed of change is a bit of a shocker.  I heard it said on the radio the other morning that the comedy “Men Behaving Badly” from the 90s would simply not be commissioned today as it celebrates loutish behaviour and the broad acceptance of such behaviour; at least on the surface, by their long suffering girlfriends.  I checked it out the other night, and I have to agree it’s not an easy show to watch with modern sensibilities.

And so we come to Page 3 of the Sun, which appears to be about to come to an end.  I should hasten to add that I’m not a natural Sun reader,: in fact I can’t recall when I last bought a copy, indeed if I ever bought a copy.  Now I think about it, the shocking thing about the Page 3 story was the revelation that it’s survived all of these years

Harmless fun or something more unpleasantly corrosive?

Being a Libran, and a thoroughly reasonable bloke, I can see both sides of the argument.  I’m certainly not personally offended by Page 3.  Without trying to sound too prudish; and generally I consider myself quite liberal, it seems to me like something that should have died out with Are You Being Served, Benny Hill and Man About the House.

If Page 3 ever had its day, that day has surely passed.  It just doesn’t feel in step with modern values.

Still like a bit of Fawlty Towers, though!

In Current Affairs


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