When I saw this post about a 1950s public school educational video “Boys Beware,” I was afraid of what might be in it. As a Christian, I oppose homosexual practice and regard the desire for the same sex as a temptation to sin. But that doesn’t mean I always agree with the 1950s ethos. So I started the video with an expectation that I might disagree or be embarrassed. I was led to the post by this tweet:
“A 1950s #PSA On The Danger Of Homosexuals http://goo.gl/fb/bdcWI #news #homophobia #homosexuality #propaganda”
The post introduces the video saying:
“What do we learn from the school-and-police-department-produced children’s PSA “Boys Beware”? Chiefly, gayness is contagious “like small pox”, homosexuals are lurking everywhere, are murderous, and wear sunglasses during the daytime”
So when I started the video, I was expecting to see and hear ten minutes of anti-homosexual propaganda.
I am pretty shocked at the content of the video compared to what I was expecting. It is true that the video used the term “homosexual” in the place where a modern news story would write, “child predator.” It used the term three or four times. So I can see why some would call the video “homophobic” in its slant.
But the video was not “about” homosexuality! It was about warning young boys not to get into cars with strange men. It was telling them to be careful if they are stalked by a man who spotted them at a public restroom. It was pointing out that your parents should know if you have an adult friend they’ve never met with whom you are spending time.
(I was right that I disagree with the 1950s ethos. The narrator never calls the child predators evil. He presents them as “sick” and victims of a “disease” of the brain. Sin doesn’t even exist in this film.)
The movie was made in Inglewood, California. It is easy to deduce that, at that time, there was a growing problem with child molestation and child rape in the area–which the movie was made to address. The point of the film was not to “propagandize” about homosexuality. There was probably no reason for anyone at any level of government to believe they needed to do that to young boys in public school in the 1950s. The point was simply to make boys alert to possible predators.
We see headlines about this kind of stuff all the time. Jerry Sandusky was not a made up propaganda film. So why would liberal see this kind of film and act as if it served no purpose except to spread “homophobia”? The way this video was introduced, it looks like some liberals actually agree that this is a movie about homosexuality and that we shouldn’t really care about child seduction and molestation.
If we did a voice-over so that the word “homosexual” was replaced by “child predator” would that fix the film? Or would liberals claim that it is still a message of “homophobia”?