July 18, 2013

Dragnet: "Don't try to build a new country. Make this one work."

MOBLEY: "You just don't understand."

FRIDAY: Maybe we do, son. Don't think you have a corner on all the virtue vision in the country or that everyone else is fat and selfish and yours is the first generation to come along that's felt dissatisfied--they all have, you know, about different things; and most of them didn't have the opportunity and freedoms that you have.

"Let's talk poverty. In most parts of the world, that's not a problem, it's a way of life. And rights? They're liable to give you a blank stare because they may not know what you're talking about.

"The fact is, more people are living better right here than anyone else ever before in history. So don't expect us to roll over and play dead when you say you're dissatisfied. It's not perfect, but it's a great deal better than when we grew up: a hundred men standing in the street hoping for one job; selling apples on the street corner-- that's one of the things we were dissatisfied about; and you don't see that much anymore..."

GANNON: "You're taller, stronger, healthier, and you live longer than the last generation; and we don't think that's altogether bad. You've probably never seen a 'Quarantine' sign on a neighbor's door. Diphtheria, scarlet fever, whooping cough--probably none of your classmates are crippled with polio. You don't see many mastoid scars anymore.

"We've done quite a bit of fighting all around the world. Whether you think it was moral or not a lot of people are free to make their own mistakes today because of it. And that may just include you."

FRIDAY: "I don't know; maybe part of it's the fact that you're in a hurry. You've grown up on instant orange juice. Flip a dial--instant entertainment. Dial seven digits--instant communication. Turn a key--push a pedal-instant transportation. Flash a card--instant money. Shove in a problem--push a few buttons--instant answers.

"But some problems you can't get quick answers for, no matter how much you want them.

"We took a little boy into Central Receiving Hospital yesterday; he's four years old. He weighs eight-and-a-half pounds. His parents just hadn't bothered to feed him. Now give me a fast answer to that one--one that'll stop that from ever happening again.

"And if you can't settle that one, how about the 55,000 Americans who'll die on the highway this year? That's nearly six or seven times the number that'll get killed in Vietnam. Why aren't you up in arms about that? Or is dying in a car somehow moral?

"Show me how to wipe out prejudice. I'll settle for the prejudices you have inside yourselves. Show me how to get rid of the unlimited capacity for human beings to make themselves believe they're somehow right--and justified--in stealing from somebody, or hurting somebody...and you'll just about put this place here out of business!"

GANNON: "Don't think we're telling you to lose your ideals or your sense of outrage. They're the only way things ever get done. And there's a lot more that still needs doing. And we hope you'll tackle it.

"You don't have to do anything dramatic like coming up with a better country. You can find enough to keep you busy right here.

"In the meantime, don't break things up in the name of progress or crack a placard stick over someone's head to make him see the light. Be careful of his rights. Because your property and your person and your rights aren't any better than his. And the next time you may be the one to get it.

"We remember a man who killed six million people--and called it social improvement."

FRIDAY: "Don't try to build a new country. Make this one work. It has for over four hundred years; and by the world's standards, that's hardly more than yesterday."

Posted by gerardvanderleun at July 18, 2013 2:05 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Those hippies are poseurs. Much like today.

Posted by: Jewel at July 18, 2013 5:06 AM

Hey, Joe, how is Los Angeles lookin' to ya these days? Think you can make it work? Hahahahahahaha!

Posted by: Lorne at July 18, 2013 10:05 AM

The last series of Dragnet got real preachy but there was some amazing stuff said in them, great speeches given by Joe and his fellow cops. It was less a cop procedural than a chance for the team to air their grievances and give voice to an entire generation baffled by the outrage kids were yelling while in the greatest comfort and privilege in human history.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at July 18, 2013 12:17 PM

Just the facts ma'am…

Posted by: rlc2 at July 18, 2013 10:19 PM

Just the facts ma'am…

Posted by: rlc2 at July 18, 2013 10:19 PM

I'm an Australian, and this Rings true all over the developed world.

I'm guessing that Lorne is one of those tea partiers we keep hearing about. Americas new hippies.

Posted by: Richard Whereat at July 23, 2013 1:47 PM

And we have a winner: "I will fundamentally change America."

And so he has. For the worse. Yet those hurt the most by his 'ideas' voted for him based on his melanin content. But that's racist. Yes, and so were the election results in a lot of precincts.


Posted by: tomw at July 24, 2013 9:13 AM