SUBURBICON: Playing Fast and Loose with America’s Cultural History
By Dr. Tom Snyder
Since I was a budding teenage journalist and political junkie in the 1960s, I’ve been a student of sociopolitical issues and history. Also, I actually lived in an all-white middle-class American suburb in Ohio in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
As such, I remember watching Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson deliver speeches on TV, watching classic movies on TV, going to the latest Disney, Elvis Presley or Jerry Lewis movie, watching the Beatles make their debut on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW (embarrassingly, I lip-synched to “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” in our suburban living room with the big picture window to impress the cute little blonde girl playing across the street; sadly, she never noticed, and I moved on), watching the space race unfold on television, watching white and black teenagers dance to rock music and R&B hits on AMERICAN BANDSTAND, watching the great Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns on TV as he ran across the playing field miraculously carrying a couple defensive players on his back, and going to the ballpark (Crosley Field in Cincinnati) to see Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Jim Bunning, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Maury Wills, Bob Gibson, and Pete Rose play.
As Mike Myers used to say on SNL, excuse me a moment while I get a little verklempt. . . Talk amongst yourselves.
At any rate, in the new movie SUBURBICON starring Matt Damon and directed by George Clooney, which is set in 1959 suburbia, almost all of the white people living in an American suburb become filled with violent rage when a black family moves into their neighborhood.
George Clooney’s SUBURBICON is obviously a satire, and in satire, the artist is allowed to exaggerate things for effect. That’s part of the comedy, and delight, of a satire.
However, SUBURBICON’s outrageous depiction of middle class suburbia and its white denizens in the 1950s and early 60s is nothing like the suburbia I experienced as a boy. Although racism, just like any other cancerous human evil, can lurk inside the most benevolent human being, the kind of virulent racism Clooney depicts in his movie was nowhere to be seen in the suburb where I lived in Dayton, Ohio in the 1950s and 60s. In fact, most of the suburban white folk I knew back then sympathized with the civil rights movement trying to gain voting rights, housing rights and other rights for blacks in the country. I know my family did, despite our faults.
That doesn’t mean, of course, there weren’t pockets of such virulent racism in America in the South AND the North, especially in places where the Ku Klux Klan was still a powerful force of one kind or another.
Even so, Clooney takes things a step further in the movie. He not only depicts almost 100 percent of the 1950s white characters in his movie as virulent racists, he also portrays the black family in the movie as total saints. This is left-wing political correctness, i.e., leftist lies, run amok.
Clooney has also inserted a couple other leftist lies about American suburbs in the late 1950s into his SUBURBICON.
First, SUBURBICON includes some anachronistic “f” words in its dialogue, about 15. The “f” word was never used in the suburbs where I grew up. In fact, the only time I heard it used, until the late 1960s, was during a ballgame with my father and one of his friends, a tough guy who used a lot of swear words. However, when the guy used the “f” word one time we were watching a ballgame in Crosley Field, my dad firmly asked the guy to never use that word again in front of “my son.” And, he never did (we also saw less of that guy after that).
Secondly, the movie depicts Matt Damon’s family man as a father with immoral secrets. Also, it uses this character to make the American nuclear family in 1950s suburbia look like a hollow sham in numerous scenes.
Now, I can state as a personal fact that there were some if not many families in the suburbs where I grew up that had serious problems. And, some of those problems involved cases of adultery. However, that was true of all levels of society in the United States back then, and throughout human history. Furthermore, the further that a family drifted away from the biblical teachings of Jesus Christ, the worse the problems become.
Even so, leftists like to lay a special condemnation on American suburban, middle-class family life of the 1950s. They often derogatively label that lifestyle “Ozzie and Harriet,” to mock the famous sitcom back then that starred the Nelson family, and included Ricky Nelson, the popular white rock and roll icon of the late 1950s. It’s their Neo-Marxist attempt to destroy the Christian heritage of America that produced such excellent entertainment (the Nelson family was very funny on screen, with a dry sense of wit), but that also won two world wars, created General Motors, IBM and (eventually) Apple Computers, and caused the greatest worldwide decrease in poverty and disease, and the greatest increase in liberty and prosperity, that mankind has ever known.
Of course, part of that Christian heritage is the Protestant work ethic, which enabled many Americans of all colors and creeds to attain a middle-class suburban lifestyle (and still does), so, please ignore the leftist liars and the lies they tell, including the lies that George Clooney is telling about 1950s America in SUBURBICON.