Wokeness and The Beaver
Wokeness and The Beaver
I’m pretty sure it all started with Theodore Cleaver. Many of you might not be familiar with the name, but at one time he was the cat’s meow. In the early 1960’s Leave It To Beaver was a hit TV show that a lot of America, to their unknown detriment, watched almost religiously. Every week a new episode about a cute little kid named Theodore - his nickname was Beaver - got into trouble and was rescued by his parents, June and Ward Cleaver. Beaver would do really stupid stuff like order an accordian from a magazine ad and try to hide it from his parents when the bill came in the mail, or give his alcoholic uncle a bottle of bourbon from his Dad’s cabinet without asking his parents or feed a neighbor’s cat and try to hide it in his room. Nothing that really stretched the imagination too much, but usually things that most kids (like me and my brothers) might have thought of but never followed through on because we would be scared to death of our Dad’s reaction when he found out. Trust me - whatever we did and however we tried to hide it, he found out, so fear was an effective deterrent at our house. Most of the time, anyway.
My Dad was a policeman, and was skilled in discovering truth when we didn’t necessarily want him to discover it. He was an artist at asking seemingly innocuous questions that led, like a slow train on a track coming right at you, toward the inescapable truth and we could see where it was going but were pretty powerless to stop the process. At first, anyway. We did learn from our mistakes, and eventually became almost as skilled at evading and sidetracking interrogations as he was at giving them. Sometimes it meant blaming whatever it was on a brother, but when they saw it worked from their side too, life became like a gigantic spy thriller where following the original plot was practically impossible.
The odds of evading consequences for stupid stuff at our house were very, very small. Our Mom was part of a secret network of neighborhood moms that we were pretty sure could contact and communicate telepathically, and kept all the neighborhood dads informed about what we had done, who we had been with and when our transgressions had occurred in spite of everything we could do to cover our respective tracks. Sometimes this secret society of moms stretched across subdivisions and the space-time continuum and they could predict what we were planning even before it happened.
Beaver’s parents weren’t like that at all. Beaver and his brother Wally would talk about their parents yelling at them or their Dad belting them but their conversations didn’t have the ring of truth or the fear in their voices that was in ours when we discussed the same things. They never really did more than superficially hide stuff, and almost always confessed their transgressions when confronted by Ward and June. Even more unbelievably, Ward and June would sit down in their spotless living room at the end of the show and discuss how it was their mistakes that not just allowed the Beaver to experience whatever the weekly situation was, but had actually contributed to or even caused the situation so maybe grounding him in his room without TV for 3 nights was too harsh a punishment and they were pretty sure he had learned his lesson and would never do it again. I not only found that part to be unbelievable and from a made up TV world that was completely divorced from reality but, after lengthy serious consideration, have come to the inescapable conclusion that this was where “wokeness” began in our society.
Follow me on this: even though our personal experiences at home were nothing like those at the Cleaver household, Ward and June and their predilection to blame everything their kids did wrong on themselves left an indelible impression on my generation. As a result, we turned our belief system as young hippyfied adults into peace, love and universal understanding and forgiveness for whatever we did or thought of or experienced and passed it on to our kids. While my parents believed more in free range parenting where the world was our living room and our parents' relief valve, we as a generation tended to be more behaviorally permissive and simultaneously protective and failed to use any constraints beyond an occasional time out on our kids. Reality began to reverse itself. Failure in school, for example, became the teachers’ fault and not making the football team was the coaches’ fault and striking out in baseball was because of a bad umpire...you get the idea. Nothing was the kids’ fault and as a result nothing was their responsibility either. They have managed to take Ward and June’s philosophy of “it’s all our fault” to the third level beyond ours and now believe that everything in life has gone far beyond the collective fault of their generation and has progressed (regressed?) to be the fault of anything that occurred and/or anyone that lived in the past. This is why they hate statues and history and have decided that George Washington helped found a country fundamentally and fatally flawed from its inception, and therefore lacking any merit whatsoever unless it is torn down and replaced by something like Socialism even though it has never worked before but will this time because they are in charge. Or think they are.
I think a key idea they are missing about Socialism is that someone always has to be the ruled party and that their idea is they will be the ruler and not the ruled. I’m also pretty sure the odds on that are not in their favor, but math is something else that seems to have lost its relative importance.
As for me, if it’s all the same to you, I don’t want to relearn history because it was hard enough to learn what I did in the first place and any new version is just another revision of what has always been revisionist. I’m also not learning any new pronouns or or genders because it would be far too difficult at my age to learn where they go when diagramming sentences, and pulling down statues is not something I’m going to approve of or participate in because I think it’s pretty dumb to judge people that lived in the past by whatever rules we might think are applicable today. Statues of Ward and June and Wally and the Beaver are safe from me, but I might have to think a while on Eddie Haskell, though. Come to think of it though, trying to change the past is the main reason that all the time travel episodes on Star Trek never worked out. The past can’t really be changed because all those people are dead now and don’t care what we think.
I’m also not sure what “cancelling” is but don’t think I’m participating in that one either because, believe it or not, I’ve said some pretty stupid stuff on occasion in the past and don’t necessarily want me or my life to be judged solely on that basis. If you’ve lived long enough, you don’t either. I’m not asking me or anybody else to apologize for being white or black or red or green because I don’t know of any of you anywhere in the world that had a voice in the result.
Just so you know, I’m not watching Leave It To Beaver anymore. That doesn’t mean I’m cancelling ROKU, just that I won’t click on that particular show anymore. See what I did there? I don’t want to destroy the show or the channel, I just choose not to watch it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done.