I feel your pain and agree about the subject matter being taught. It's no wonder history doesn't seem real to kids. They're not being taught what actually happened.
Sounds as you were in high school during the early sixties. As mentioned some months back, this period is being covered week by week, month by month in the AMC series titled "Mad Men". History is one reason I enjoy this series. Most episodes have a historical event in the background. Last Sunday night, it was the Ali-Liston fight of May 25, 1965. It's also about how people thought and behaved at the time. For instance, men were expected to wear hats, yet trend-setters of that time like Elvis and JFK did not.
Regarding the fight, men in the office discuss their plans to watch the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston match. An older secretary scoffs, "If I want to see two Negros fight, I'll throw a dollar bill out the window." In an earlier episode, we heard a WWII vet express strong distain for doing business with the Japanese who represent Honda. Adults when we were young were outspoken like that, but it's almost never seen on camera.
In this episode, the title fight represents changing times, Liston being the old champ and Ali beating him. Don Draper, the main character, identifies with Liston because Liston just puts his head down and does his job, and doesn't brag like Ali. For similar reasons he dismisses an endorsement by Joe Namath, who's just been drafted by the NY Jets. Don expresses the popular perception during May 1965 that Namath was a media darling, not a real quarterback like Johnny Unitas. Of course men like Ali and Namath are about to become the norm in sports world, another trend born during the 1960s.
Most TV and film productions offer nothing to turn over in your mind or discuss with others. You know good guys from bad guys from the get-go. You can read the newspaper and not miss anything. Don't look for decent acting, writing, sets or period research -- they are usually AWOL
If you were taught Shakespeare, how to deconstruct plays like Macbeth and Hamlet and appreciate thoughtful, intelligent dialogue, you recognize quality. I'll admit to being spoiled. Some folks want things sweet and simple -- give me a story with different levels, character relationships and meaningful themes.
For example, one episode allowed us to see how Don Draper's values were shaped during childhood. During the 1930s a hobo (a "gentleman of the road") visits his family's farm. He learns how the hobo 'reinvents' himself to be whatever his host expects, something Don does quite well in the advertising business. We all have to do that to some extent. He also discovers his father to be dishonest, and the importance of a man's name and reputation. The episode ends as Don walks into his office, the door closes and the camera focuses on his name on the door. A man's name and his reputation are inseperable.
Forgive me for running on so long. I'll mention a couple of other items and let it go. In Sunday's episode Don Draper had to deal with the death of a loved one. When my sister-in-law died last May, I reacted much as he did. Most people would just pick up the phone and call -- I needed a lot of time to pray and compose myself before dailing the number, just as he did.
Another main theme concerns Don's relationship with a female subordinate. There's no hint of anything sexual or romantic. On her first day at work Don tells her, "First of all, I'm your boss, not your boyfriend." It's also nice to watch a dramatic series without murders, handguns &c. People drink as they did at that time, but writers don't use drinking for comic effect. We see the ill effects of alcohol abuse instead.
Pam, if I may ask a personal opinion, do you still have any albums from that period?