Ever since 9/11, this country has been more than eager to relinquish it's personal freedoms in the name of "national security". The Orwellian "Patriot Act", NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens, talk of religious tests on immigrants are all continuing examples our collective national cowardice in not defending the founding principles of the Bill of Rights. No news there.
The other day, I watched an old comedy on Netflix, National Lampoon's Animal House. The movie, a kind of cultural touchstone for a generation, is a wacky comedy about fraternity life at a college in the early 1960's. Starring John Belushi and a whole host of young soon to be famous actors, Animal House captivated it's approving audiences with its over the top depiction of campus hijinks. The movie culminates with the members of Delta House exacting their revenge on those that have wronged the good time frat house.
I was shocked at what the ravages of time have done to Animal House. The revenge scene takes place at a parade in the local town. Delta House members disrupt the parade with all manor of mayhem, the above clip is a small example. The Delta boys arrive at the parade, disguised in raincoats, hats and dark glasses. What I recalled as hilarious cartoon violence (nobody gets hurt, let alone killed), is now a campy and unfunny recreation of recent terrorist attacks.
Who can forget the Boston Marathon bomber, or the mad trucker in France, mowing down people in a murderous rampage? I found myself creepily uneasy as I watched the Animal House parade descend into its chaotic finale. Smoke bombs released, reviewing stands rammed by cars, panicked people running in all directions. What was a howler in 1978 is now a shattering reminder of the fear of terrorism we all live with now. Welcome to 2016.
So, chalk it up to another aspect of our lives we all took for granted, lost to a violent world and our cowardly response to it. We gave away freedom, and along with that went a lot of the enjoyment of life, the very soul of the American Dream.