Friday, February 20, 2015

Where Did Mayberry Go?

Last night we were watching The Andy Griffith Show at 5:30 whilst eating dinner, which is pretty much a daily habit.

For those who may not know, The Andy Griffith Show starred Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor, a sheriff in a small town in North Carolina. The town was based on Mount Airy, NC, Griffith's hometown. The town was populated with interesting, homey characters. Andy played a widower with a small son and his Aunt Bee lived with them to help raise the boy. He went through a few girlfriends before settling on one around the third season.

The show ran for eight seasons, from 1960 to 1968. The shows I am most familiar with are the early seasons in black and white (seasons 1-5), which our local TV stations has rerun at 5:30 p.m. for about 30 years. They seldom run the later episodes. I understand it is the highest rated show in that time slot in our area. Still.

The episodes have names but I don't know them. Last night's episode involved the choir. Barney, Andy's bumbling deputy, was singing in the choir and well, Barney can't sing. He thinks he can, but he can't.

Instead of pitching Barney out on his ear, the choir members first tried to convince Barney he was sick, so he wouldn't show up at a concert. Then they tried to change the work-up of the songs so that Barney would do a recitation in each piece, but he wanted no part of that because he wanted to sing.

Andy then came up with the idea of using a microphone, and having Barney whisper his singing solo, while in reality another voice was coming over the real microphone in the back. All of the choir members were in on the idea.

This was not a joke. This was an effort to keep someone that everyone genuinely liked from having hurt feelings. As we were watching, I turned to my husband.

"I would like to think people thought enough of me to try to keep me from being embarrassed and hurting my feelings like that," I said.

We both agreed that would be a fine thing. However, given the current state of hatred and lack of empathy that seems to be the normal attitude of most folks these days, neither of us felt that such a thing would even be possible. Somebody's always ready to point out when you hit the wrong note, even if a majority keep quiet.

Part of my dismay at this state of the world comes from watching people gang up on one another on the Internet, seeing anyone who slips up in the least come under such intense scrutiny that I am amazed that we don't have half of a nation out slashing its wrists in despair at any given time. We have become a bitter, brutal, backstabbing society, full of hate and spitefulness. Like gathers with like and we attack, striking like hungry alligators who fear there will never be another meal.

I know that love is still out there, that people still care for one another. I have good friends that I would swim through a flood to help, if I had to. But I think those days of perpetual niceness, that time when manners mattered and people didn't feel so free to speak opinions that would be better left unsaid, are over and long gone, if they ever existed at all.

One thing about old TV and its fictional worlds. They can surely make you wonder what has happened in the intervening years.


  1. i agree, the internet is full of bullies...people who wouldn't normally say something all of a sudden have the guts to be hateful because they are hiding behind a keyboard...i try to move on when i see something i don't agree with...i mean, why argue with other's beliefs? i heard that iggy azalea just deleted all of her social media accounts because the paparazzi leaked photos of her on vacation in a bathing suit and haters went on and on i guess about her cellulite....not that i'm a fan really, but this sort of thing happens constantly thanks to social's really scary the way we are heading...

  2. We dwidn't realize we were living in a "golden age"


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