I recently watched one of my favorite movies, “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House”, a 1948 black and white comedy starring Myrna Loy and Cary Grant.
Watching it made me think about the movies and television shows of today and more specifically, the actors and actresses who star in them. Thinking of them, I asked myself if class had died or just been redefined?
Is there any comparison between Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart, two of the most iconic actors from the 1940s, and Kim Kardashian and Mel Gibson, both of whom have had their fair share of public mishaps?
Merriam-Webster, defines classy as “having or showing class, having or reflecting high standards of personal behavior, or admirably skillful and graceful”.
Maybe it’s the media or rather the access we now have that makes me think “class” has died. Perhaps there were scandalous photos and videos of the actors from the 40s that we just don’t have access to, or perhaps they didn’t feel the need to show their every nook and cranny or have drunken meltdown rants in public.
I suppose it could be also be a sign of the times, literally, the way the world now views things. True, in the 40s, women did not have the rights they have now. Since those days, we’ve burned bras, started working outside of our homes for our own money, not just in support of the war effort, and made tremendous strides as a self-sufficient gender.
Men have done the same in that they’ve learned to accept their feminine side, show emotions, ask for help and generally learned they don’t have to be continually strong for the once weaker female.
Has this growth on both sides of the gender fence caused a change in how class is defined? Have we confused class with wealth and popularity? Is it fashion related? Is it social media? The questions are too numerous to ponder.
Whatever the reason, I do believe for the most part class has died. I am however thankful that there are still some who have managed to persist and carry on as “class acts.”