Weekend Question Thread

Because we’re going to be talking a LOT more about this sitch:

What was controversial when you were in high school?

Besides the usual sex, drugs and rock n roll, my high school paper got into trouble for pointing out that the new TVs installed in every classroom showing “Channel One” were mostly airing commercials, and that students legally required to be in school were thus being forcibly advertised to, more than they were being informed. I was proud of that story.


6 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. In the early `60s, the school newspaper dared not venture beyond sports reporting, who was seen with whom at the prom, etc. I don’t know that serious reporting was officially proscribed or not, but it just didn’t happen. I think maybe the extent of editorial concern went no further than some expression of alarm over informal disapproval by school officials of a few moptop haircuts after the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan.
    The local paper, however, had a field day with the schools and juveniles in general (although a fairly small town, it was a tough and violent place, ranking in the top ten nationally for juvenile delinquency per capita for three years running beginning in 1960, IIRC). I think the local paper had a set template for basketball stories which included, at the end of each report, the number of people reported by police as injured in fights “by rough-edged rings.”

  2. I went to a Catholic high school, so everything was controversial (any mention of sex, hetero or homo, consensual or non, if it happened outside of the bonds of marriage was COMPLETELY TABOO). Of particular hilarity, though, was the dress code instituted my senior year. Apparently having a hood on your shirt was actually controversial. They fed us some bullshit about gang activity in other parts of the diocese as justification.

  3. Hmmm…by the way, I remember Channel One, though only in news reports since I was already in college.
    In my small town boys-only Catholic school, there wasn’t a whole lot besides gossip — who was getting stoned (a few folks in the B or low achiever class), who was getting whom pregnant (jocks and cheerleaders/homecoming court — they were students at the all girls Catholic school)…I think there was a question as to whether the father of a teacher’s baby was likewise a student, but don’t know what became of that. After I left, I had no interest.
    The boys Catholic school eventually became co-ed, which might have generated some controversy. I heard they did so without consulting the nuns, who had to close the girls school.

  4. When I was in high school it seems that not much got people in a lather. At least not at my school. He’ll, our drama teacher go a DWI and had to spend some weekends in jail and no one batted an eye. He was also openly gay (drove a pink Cadillac, no less) and there was zero fuss about it. My French teacher would take our advanced French class out for coffee during class –there were only four of us–and no one had a conniption fit. Of course, I don’t think that any of us told anyone that was going on, so ignorance was our friend on that one. It just seemed that people were less-easily provoked.
    As for our high school newspaper, it was really minimal. We kept reporting to basic, basic stuff.

  5. 1968-1971
    Because the senior class elites more or less demanded it, we had a “Moratorium Day” in spring 1969, a day on which students and teachers ostensibly attended seminars and teach-ins, but really mostly goofed off. We published an “underground” alternative student weekly for a couple years, which was mostly dreck. A single pregnant flannel-shirt-and-bib-overalls stoner ran for Homecoming Queen.
    But the real controversies in my town were over the City Council’s craven and corrupt failure to plan and zone. The downtown decayed; hideous big-box retail malls splayed out along the highways for miles out of town. The national discount retailers came in, and the three-generation family businesses failed to compete and were driven out. Gorgeous old downtown buildings — hotels, theaters, an elaborate stone and brick courthouse from the 1880s — were demolished in favor of sub-mediocre inexpensive modern buildings, or parking lots.

  6. Whether guys could wear bluejeans and whether girls could wear skirts above the knee. Of course, girls HAD to wear skirts or dresses. They usually got to wear Bermuda shorts the last day of school.
    And when I got to my freshman year at Northern Illinois University in the fall of ’64, girls were required to wear skirts or dresses to all classes. Had a female math teacher who, on mornings when it was below zero and girls had the temerity to wear slacks, gave girls a choice: go back to their dorms and change or get a zero for the day.
    In case you’re wondering about all the subsequent hubbub in the 1960s.

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