Do you fail to recall the words to our national anthem time and again? You're not alone - a quick glance at Google's records indicate that in the silence of their rooms, thousands of your fellow Americans suffer from the same malady (and smirk at others who make their memory loss public). To say that the Americans of today are not as patriotic as they used to be is an understatement to be sure - but some of you will no doubt be relieved to know that the Americans of yore, vintage 1941, didn't know the lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner any better than we do - as you can tell by the attached verses which were penned over seventy years ago about his fellow Americans and their inability to keep the words of Francis Scott Key in their heads.
"WHO, WHAT, AND WHY is the average American [man]? What does he eat? What does he wear? What does he worry about? These questions and more like them have taken us on a long journey through the realm of statistics. Out of the discoveries of the Department of Commerce, the Census Bureau and Dr. Gallup's polls, we've succeeded in piecing together an uncommon portrait of the common man."
In an effort to show how American thought can vary between decades, a retired pollster from the Gallup organization collected the data gleaned from various opinion polls that were launched between 1929 on up through the dawn of the Atomic Age in order to show what a different people we had become. The topics that were addressed were
• Racial tolerance
• Women in the work place
• Labor unions
• Women smoking
• Bathing Suits
Here is one of the few histories that explain the Star-Spangled Banner that seldom mentions its author. This short column will tell you about Sam Smith, the Militia general who kept the flag at Fort McHenry waving throughout that "perilous fight".
The Sexual Revolution began slowly building with the release of the Kinsey Report in 1948 (read about that here) and from that point on the whole ball of thread began to unravel. More and more mainstream magazines, that previously would never have done so, began publishing articles about sexual concerns: adultery, frigidity and homosexuality. Hollywood went right along for the ride; TV was slow to follow, but following nonetheless. By the time 1967 came around the social war on the old taboos was in full flower. This article concerns the new standards that came into place all across America in 1968. When this article went to press, the two most infamous assassinations of 1968 had not yet taken place - after that, the flood gates would open - but change was in the air.
More about the lowering of moral standards in American popular culture can be read here...
In his effort serve his editors at Focus Magazine and alert their curious readers just how Europeans saw the American culture, German photographer Bernd Lohse (1911 - 1995) traveled throughout the country taking snap-shots of everything that charmed and repulsed him - take a look for yourself.