I found evidence of a lost world last week, a forgotten culture that holds the secret to our destiny.
It was a major discovery with profound implications for the future of America, which could help us from ending up like the Mayans or ancient Rome or Lehman Bros.
I’m not an anthropologist or archaeologist or even a gastroenterologist. I’m just a man with an iPad who made a monumental discovery that could change the world, and I might win the Nobel Prize for Innovation — or the Nobel Prize for Saving Civilization.
I stumbled upon this lost culture while I was watching a Debbie Reynolds movie on Netflix, which was made in the 1960s and offered a glimpse into our past … and our future. Who would have thought Debbie Reynolds could be so prophetic?
In the film, Ms. Reynolds plays a super-star actress who goes to her Connecticut home for some R&R, and finds six homeless kids living on her property, whom she helps with the assistance of a small-town minister played by Cliff Robertson.
The behavior of the characters in the movie was so unfamiliar that I had to wonder how America could change so drastically in 50 years.
The big-name actress doesn’t sleep around with someone new every month, even though her hotshot producer wants to marry her. What is more curious is that she doesn’t have a sex video.
And the children get on their knees and pray to God for help.
In addition, the actress gets the major role of a depraved woman in a play written by a genius of the American theater, but her minister friend tells her it’s trash. She rebuffs him but later realizes he was right, and that integrity is more important than notoriety. (That was back when we understood the difference between trash and art.)
Spoiler alert: At the end, she marries the minister and not the producer. She adopts the kids and their dog. She walks out on the trashy play. And they live happily ever after — or as happily as any of us can.
In our age, this movie makes absolutely no sense. We don’t behave like that anymore, and I’m convinced young people wouldn’t understand the decisions Ms. Reynolds makes because those values are alien to modern America. They’re values like honesty, fidelity, faith, chastity, integrity, generosity, and truthfulness, not to mention the moxie to say “no” to a decadent system that promises fame and fortune at the price of your soul.
You couldn’t make a movie like that today. Critics would trash it as unrealistic, and no actor would take the part. Certainly not Kim Kardashian, Scarlett Johansson or Eva Longoria.
Seeing the film convinced me we have to go back to the future or back to the past — or somewhere else entirely. It’s time for people who still care to start talking about what was and could be and should be. It’s time for men and women of good will to change America, because our institutions and government can’t do it or won’t do it.
We have to bring America back one person at a time. All you have to do is plant the seed, because in each of us, buried somewhere beneath the moral rubble, is an understanding of right and wrong.
Tell your family and friends about this lost world. Tell them we have to find it again.
Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.