In times of trials and tribulation we seek temporary distractions
during prohibition it was the speak easy and social gatherings for drinking and dancing. The roaring twenties bubble burst and reality set in.
The anti depressant was the movies in the form of love stories, musicals and comedy where Hollywood names became household words. The same held true during WWII. Here it deviated a bit. The movies entertained and informed. In addition to distraction, television was in the infancy of a dream. The movies provided news reels, and yes primarily propaganda but visuals to satisfy the public’s imagination. It was about people being connected to a common cause.
The world as many viewed changed again in the boom years after the war into the nineteen fifties. We went from a society rooted in rural values to an urban setting. Our distractions were reflected in everything from music to movies to the concept of leisure time. This is where sport became more than hero worship of the few to a mass production of super stars and new household names. New terminologies entered the word stream things like “Breaking the color barrier”.
Yes it was the beginning of recognizing achievement based on talent instead of color or religion. It was happening in sport with names like Jackie Robinson of baseball fame. By 1960 Chubby Checker made black entertainers mainstream with the song the twist on all format radio. Until then black artists were sporadic on white audience radio. Yes prior to Checker there were a number of individuals like Louis Armstrong but they were few. After the twist the floodgates opened paving the way to wider audiences and more integrated diversity..
The movies featured mega star musicals, comedy features, war depictions like The Guns of Navarone. The social agenda was changing too with movies like Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and the age of rebellion with the short lived star James Dean.
Even politics became a distraction. It was once said a Catholic a Jew a woman or a black person would never be President of the United States. We lived through the distraction and suspense of seeing two of the four barriers broken.
We have witnessed black actors taking lead roles, we have seen Asian actors now coming forward in leading roles. Radio and Television has witnessed change in that women and minorities are featured in prominent positions coming into our living rooms daily.
This brings us to where we are now. The stress of economic uncertainty, an election no one wanted, COVID where Mother Nature is dictating the rules. So what is our distraction? Our pride in the performance of our Olympic Athletes and the return of football baseball and soon hockey. But there is one superstar that has flashed across our TV screens. A Canadian, a nineteen year old young lady with confidence, determination, and a grit we can all be proud of. Her name is Leylah Fernandez. She has gone from an obscure name to a superstar in two weeks to a place in tomorrows final at the US Open Tennis Tournament in New York.
In my conclusion I challenge all those feeling the stress of uncertain times to look around and find your happy place in the distractions that provide a measure of relief no matter how much doom and gloom surrounds you. That enjoyment of a distraction lets us all escape to a world of personal enjoyment that allows us the distinction of seeing the world is not a one dimensional abstract of negativity.
It reminds us that in one way or another the present day angst comes under the heading of
“This Too Shall Pass”