This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

2015 and the backlash to rebellion


In my lifetime I have seen rebellion as seen as very cool, and also seen as evil. And rebellion has always been a backlash to conformity. Let's time-travel back to the 1960s.

The 1960s were a time of rebellion in America. Led mostly by young people, the protests were against the status quo, which included the war in Vietnam. Comparing the rebellious 1960s to the much more stable and law-abiding 1950s gives a vivid view of the attitudes at the time. This was a time of protesting the oppression of big government, and big business. And it did change the world. America's involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975. New laws were passed to protect the rights of the individual.

The rebellious spirit was seen on TV and in movies. Popular heroes at the time were antagonist to the police, and car chases became almost a symbol of rebelling against the system. Take a look at "Smokey and the Bandit". The hero was the bandit, and Smokey (which was slang for a highway patrolman - who wore hats that looked like the one the cartoon character Smokey the Bear wore) were the bad guys.

The backlash started in the '90s. Cars running away from the police were no longer seen as rebellious, they were seen as dangerous, and they became the bad guys. The police became the good guys. In Mike Meyer's movie "Austin Powers", filmed in 1997, the theme is perfectly expressed: what was good back in the day had become evil.

Now that it's 2015, it's interesting to me to see how the roles of rebellion seem to have reversed. Young people are taking a new stance, and standing up for things that would have seemed like conformity in the 1960s. Young people are speaking out against racism, they are speaking out against hate. And maybe that's the most rebellious attitude of all.