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"icons from our era"?

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For us baby boomers, I think icons from our era are the popular images during our formative years. John Travolta in a white suit with a finger pointing to the disco ball. Marilyn Monroe standing on the grate holding her skirt down. Richard Nixon giving the victory sign while boarding the helicopter. Snoopy. Pogo. Bugs Bunny.

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Buster Brown, Howdy Doody, Captain Midnight, The Lone Ranger, my father's Vitalis, his Harley 74, the '57 Chevy - candy apple red - 3 deuces - full race cam - printed and balanced 327 - 4 on the floor - slicks - headers - moons - hot summer nights - beautiful dates - drive in movies.

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JFK, Eisenhower, Sky King, Fred Flintstone, Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse, Jerry Garcia, Grace Slick, Elvis, the Beatles, the Everly Brothers, the Smothers Brothers, the Kingston Trio, GBB, the Platters, Marty Robbins, Pat Boone, John Wayne, Simon and Garfunkle, Rickie Nelson, the Beaver, Andy Griffith and Don Knotts


(*John Travolta was not pointing at the mirror ball, that was a dance pose. A mirror ball was positioned above his raised finger in that picture), Marilyn Monroe was not holding her skirt down, she had her hands in her pockets, just kidding.)



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Icons to me are somehting that invade our culture and become synonymous with other words in everyday conversation. You can have a real cruel boss, so if you say your boss is acting like "Darth Vader", everyone knows what you mean, even those who have never watched Star Wars, the charactor (Icon) transcends the genre.


Other movie related icons may be Jason, (Friday the 13th Movies) or Freddy (Nightmare on Elm Street)or even James Bond. Always thought James Bond was in some ways a great role model. Being able to fabricate a welding torch from a pen and a presntation laser while moderating a discussion on obscure Russian Literature in Mandarin Chinese has a certain je ne sais quoi that spells cool to me. Unfortunately James Bond exhibits other behavioral atributes that are decidedly unscoutlike so there wont be any 007 merit badges anytime soon. (007? Now there is an icon)


Popular culture resonates with icons, the Fonz's leather jacket, the comb he never had to use and his library card, all icons. The hair cut Jennifer Anniston sported in "Friends" became known as "the Rachel" even though it looked decidedly "Veronica Lake" to me. For that matter, Watergate is an icon. Just about any scandal is raised in importance when it merits a "...gate", Travelgate for one and many others that escape me right now. The use of icons can be tricky as the original meaning and the accepted pop culture designation can be polar opposites. Many a fond youthful memory is founded in the Magic Kingdom, on Space Mountain, Epcot Center and the Disney Corporation has won several awards and produced countless videos on acheiving excellence in the work place yet how many of us want the BSA to turn into a Mickey Mouse organization?


Messing with icons can become an emotional issue and I wouldn't want anyone to go postal (another icon of our era)but change occurs constantly. When I was a Cub, my rank progression included Bobcat, Lion, Wolf, Bear and Webelos. Webelos, the acronym for "we be loyal scouts" became "we be lousy scouts". Come to think of it, how cutting edge of the BSA to be in the early 60's on the formation of ebonics with the use of "we be ...". I was going to list the Cub ranks in progression, but while I know the order has changed, I dont know what it was or what it is now.


In the 70's the flat envelope "field" hat was replaced by the red berets (Red berets, that was a cool headgear, IMHO)and it gave us two icons, the flat hat and the red beret, each symbolizing a particular point of view, traditional versus modern.


So, when one looks at icons there is much to consider, which icons will last and which will be as important as the name of Paris Hilton's dog? or fiancee for that matter?

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OGE, I think we are contemporaries...I was a Cub in the early 60's. Bobcat was a pin that one got upon joining and memorizing the CS promise, Law of the pack, Motto, etc. Then it was Wolf, Bear, Lion, Webelos/Arrow of Light. The Lion/Webelos book was combined. WeBeLoS stood for "Wolf, Bear, Lion, Scout". There were lots of giggles when we had to promise to "be square", which more often than not came out as "be a square."

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Over the weekend the Ship was selling artwork at our Fall Festival.

The Scouts had worked out a rotation of who was going to be on duty.

I looked in from time to time to see how things were going.

As it was a fund raising event the Scouts were not in uniform.

I stopped in when TJ was looking after the store (He missed the meeting when they divided up the shifts, so he seemed to get more than everyone else!!)

He was there with his very long black hair which isn't a dye job. He was surrounded by a fair sized group of youngsters all dressed in black, some with dyed jet black hair. The shirts which of course were black had the names of rock groups on. The Clash, Slip-Knot, Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath.

I went over and had a chat with them. Sure to my thinking they looked a little strange, but they were a nice group.In fact a few have said that they are thinking of attending our next meeting.

I was telling Her Who Must Be Obeyed and she said it's a shame that Sea Scouts don't have Patrols, they would make a great Bat Patrol.

An other Lad arrived with his girl friend. This Lad is a natural born salesperson. Very much like I'd envision a used car salesman.

At one time we seen this couple with a really ugly dog, the dog was wearing a cap. He looked at me and said "I'm going to get them" Sure enough he went over made a big fuss of the dog, and next thing I knew he was introducing me to the dog, minutes later he sold the dog owners $60.00 worth of prints" All I could think of was Donald Trump.

I think the press has made it very hard to hold people up as hero's any more, everyone seems to have a skeleton in the cupboard and the press / media seems to find it.

Finding icons from our era to hold up or symbolize the Scout Oath and Law would not be an easy task.


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I know that someone around here wants to do away with the outdated icons such as wolves, ravens, eagles, etc. I hate to disappoint them, but I've seen some pretty clever patrol names. Take any animal patrol badge, turn it on it's back and it becomes the roadkill patrol. I'm pretty sure BP didn't have a roadkill patrol in any of troops he worked with. I've seen the atomic frogs, flaming arrows and nuclear moose too. Kids are pretty creative and as long as they keep it clean, I've not seen too many adult leaders unwilling to let them name their own patrols. I guess we could start having companies buy naming rights to camps like they do with sports arenas. Philmont could becone the Nextel High Adventure Base. Maybe Seabase could become the Carnival Cruise Lines Seabase. We could get Nike to design new uniforms with their swoosh on it and we could replace patches with sponsor patches just like NASCAR. Sweet!!!! That would draw the kids in!!!

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