JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 499
Only 62 years ago the basic contributors to the delinquency of American youth were recklessness, idleness, books and records, and this helpful pamphlet, Delinquency Prevention, the City's Future, published unattributed in 1947 for the Youth Protection and Delinquency Prevention Program for the city of San Diego, California, had many of the basic answers to the knotty questions of raising good-spirited anti-corrupt young folks. This young woman, appearing on page 27 in the photo captioned "Undermining Influences--photo from Police Laboratory" stood before a neatly laid table packed with expediencies of social decay, and from the looks of it, she could barely stand to be there, even though she was protected by a mighty and invisible cloak of superiority. (It seems that she is caught in mid-sentence, gingerly holding her MURDER magazine, jaw thrust forward, fixing the camera with a sharp left eye which was fortressed by a mighty and disproportionately-sized eyebrow.)
Unfortunately, given the large-grain halftone of the original, I can't quite make out all of the titles of the offending magazines and records--most of the "men's journals" seem to deal with murder-kill-bang-bang-stockings and god knows that the records in 1947 were probably by Johnny Mercer (as I can hardly believe the SDPD could even acknowledge anything like the fantastic bluesy music on so-called "race labels"). Anyway the message here was that "wrong" reading and listening were corrupters and would lead to the end of society, inhabiting the young with "social ill" found "outside the hours of school and work".
This program sought to remedy this invasion of "untoward influence" by more fiercly regulating the idle time of children, which meant filling that up with more school or workl or church or other fulsome and halo-inducing activities. The city council also sought to diminish the capacity of the "juvenile hang out" of the soda fountain--who knows how many future SDS-ers were born right there in the Rexall on Main Street of Great Barrington, Massachusetts? Nursing a 10-cent coke and a 25-cent hamburger for as long as possible doesn't seem like sedicious activity from here in the future--and as a matter of fact, the soda fountain looks to me to be one of the first places where American teenagers could go socially to enjoy food and drink and spend money solely (or sort of) with members of their own age group. This must've been a radical change from the other regulated avenues that teenagers could frequent in the earlier decades of the century. In any event, the soda fountain was a place where social callousness was begging to happen, waiting to be unleashed in its youthful fury to cripple The City. I'm sure that San Diego was not alone its its 1947-American-desire to get crooked-standing girls and short-sleeved-sweater boys to go to school, "do activities related to school", go to church, and then stand *almost* holding hands in a problematic setting of shade and brightly dappled sun. If these two are the final successful products of juvenile delinquency prevention and naive social engineering,, what is it that their very distinctive body language is saying?