21st Century, Many People in Their 40 Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2241 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 19  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Film

¶ … 21st century, many people in their 40's, 50's, and 60's, the so-called "Baby Boomers," look back, in some ways fondly, in other ways not so fondly, on the early "70's": the time of their childhood, adolescence, or younger adulthood. The year 1973 in particular was a distinctive year, in which many memorably good events took place, but also some bad ones, including the Arab Oil embargo, which severely restricted gasoline for cars available to the American public, created huge gas station lines, and sent gas prices skyrocketing, and the run-up to the Watergate impeachment hearings and Richard Nixon's impeachment in 1974. In his 1859 novel of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens writes, at the beginning:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going the other way. (1)

In many ways, the year 1973 was like that as well. In this essay, I will describe what 1973 was like based on a combination of analysis of events that took place in that year, and an interview I conducted with my uncle about his own recollections of that year.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on 21st Century, Many People in Their 40's, Assignment

First, twenty-two years ago, in 1973, the world was an entirely different place, in some ways much better than today but in other ways, much worse. First, according to my uncle, insert his name here it was a time of enormous uncertainty (Personal Interview). For example, in 1973, the Watergate scandal was beginning to bring about an obvious necessity for the U.S. House of Representatives to hold impeachment hearings on U.S. Richard Nixon's role in the Watergate cover-up, which would lead to his being impeached, and then being forced to resign the Presidency the following year (on August 8, 1974) rather than face conviction within the U.S. Senate ("On this Day"). "Everyone had Watergate on their minds. We talked about it in just about all our classes at school, especially in history. We wrote essays about it in English class, and we had debates about it in civics class" (Uncle's name (first name first), Personal Interview). But 1973 was also the year MGB GT and Triumph Stag were built" ("The Open Road: Classic Car Hire"), and a year of social consciousness for some. For example, according to "1973," "Marlon Brando rejected his Academy Award in protest at Hollywood's degradation of American Indians." In retrospect, the year 1973 seems to have epitomized, like the French Revolutionary times about which Dickens writes some 100-plus years earlier, both the best and the worst of times, but mostly, due to the Watergate scandal and the Arab Oil Embargo, the worst of times. Certainly, the aftermath of that particular year, e.g., Richard Nixon's resignation from the Presidency due to the Watergate Scandal; the Arab Oil Embargo, and the loss of confidence of Americans in their leadership, and their nation, represented the onset of a national sense of disillusionment from which Americans have never fully recovered. In addition to Watergate; by 1973, one could already see a sharp increase in single-parent households, as a result of the no fault divorce laws of the 1960's, and the abnegation, by many, of personal responsibility to family and nation in favor of "finding oneself" and "self-actualization" (both popular terms of the early 1970's). These brought a considerable degree of social and moral havoc, confusion, and uncertainty to that year. The 1973 energy crisis, in particular, was a day-to-day ordeal for the United States, for people from coast to coast. According to "1973 Energy Crisis":

Arab-Israeli conflict triggered an energy crisis in the making. Before the embargo, the industrialized West, especially the United States, had taken cheap and plentiful petroleum for granted. Between 1945 and the late minerals than had been used in all previous recorded history. Oil consumption in the United States had more than doubled between 1950 and 1974. With

only approximately 6% of the world's population, the U.S. In particular

was consuming 33% of the world's energy.

Much of the frustration expressed on the part of oil-exporting nations in the developing world stemmed from the vastly unequal relationship separating rich and poor countries. The resentment, strongest where key resources and local economies have been exploited by Western multinational corporations

("1973 Energy Crisis")

But 1973 was also, in many ways, a period of enormous good will and trust, an atmosphere as different from today as open-mindedness is from cynicism; or faith is from doubt, i.e., "the best of times," and the "spring of hope."

For example, some of the more personally invasive features of 21st century everyday life, like surveillance cameras in malls, grocery stores, and parking lots, were just beginning to be introduced in 1973. The American dollar was weak because of the Arab Oil Embargo, and also because of all of the domestic uncertainty caused by Watergate. Specifically, most people were feeling uncertain of what would happen to the Nixon presidency, and, if Nixon were impeached, who might be appointed in his place.

In terms of everyday life, self-service gas stations were coming into greater vogue, but gas stations still had a full-time person who would pump your gas and wipe your windshield for a few pennies more per gallon. That was the year, however, that most people started pumping their own gas, since gas reached the (then) astronomical price of over a dollar a gallon in most parts of America for the first time ever that year. Electricity has also just begun to be regulated that year, so the cost of electricity shot up. Economically, inflation was a serious problem that year, too. Everyone felt poor, and one's money didn't go far.

In terms of important national and international events that year, on January 15, 1973, "President Nixon announced the suspension of all U.S. offensive action in North Vietnam, citing progress in peace negotiations" ("What Happened in 1973?"). On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court issued its landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling legalizing abortion ("World Events for 1973"). On that same day in 1973, former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson died, at the age of 64 ("What Happened in 1973?"). The following day, on January 23, 1973, "President Nixon announced an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War" and on January 27, 1973, "the Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris." On February 8 of that year, "Senate leaders named seven members of a select committee to investigate the Watergate scandal, including the chairman, Sam J. Ervin Jr., D-N.C" and on February 12 "the first release of American prisoners of war from the Vietnam conflict took place"("What Happened in 1973?"). On February 22 that year, "the United States and Communist China agreed to establish liaison offices" ("World Events for 1973"). On March 30, 1973, "Nixon announced the resignations of top aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, along with Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst and White House counsel John Dean"("What Happened in 1973?")

Among the important occurrences in sports in 1973, in baseball that year, on January 11, 1973, "owners of American League baseball teams voted to adopt the designated-hitter rule on a trial basis"("1973 in Sports"). In football that year, O.J. Simpson became "the first player in NFL history to rush more than 2,000 yards in a single season" and in "Superbowl VII the Miami Dolphins won 14-7 over the Washington Redskins" ("1973 in Sports"). In golf that year, in May, The Masters was won by Tommy Aaron, the U.S. Open by Johnny Miller; the British Open by Tom Weiskopf, and the PGA Championship by Jack Nicklaus ("1973 in Sports"). In tennis, Ilie Nastase won the French Open, and Jan Kodes and Billie Jean King won Wimbledon ("1973 in Sports"). Then on September 29, 1973, after much publicity, "in their so-called "battle of the sexes," tennis star Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome" ("What Happened in 1973?").

According to my uncle (Personal Interview), 1973 was an interesting year in film, entertainment, and the arts. When I asked him (he is a film buff) "Which movies came out that year that you saw and liked, or disliked?" he said "The film everyone was talking about, I remember it well, was The Last Tango in Paris. It starred Marlon Brando and was X-rated, which made it really wicked. Today no one would bat an eye at it, but those were different times. There wasn't a video rental industry then like there is today, so everyone was lining up around the block to see it, and underage kids, lots of teenagers, were hanging out at the box… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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