Teenage Tyranny

Teen Age TyrannyTeen-Age Tyranny

Submitter: I found this book while skimming through my local public library. The book is nearly 55 years old, and giving out information on how to handle your difficult teen. The chapter about television is particularly bad. None of us have heard of the TV show Bus Stop. A quick google shows it lasted one season in 1961/62.

Holly: Fred Hechinger was an education editor at the New York Times from 1959 to 1990. By 1990 he must have been absolutely mortified at teenage manners and morals (or the lack thereof!) Kirkus called it both forthright and relevant, so it definitely had an audience in the 60s. I can’t think of any reason to keep it on a public library’s shelves in 2016, though!

Teen Age Tyranny contents

Sex: Little Old Technicians

TV: Armchair thrills


  1. I’m always fascinated by people who portray Puritans as being at all successful at controlling the sexuality of their teenagers. Something like a third of Puritan first children were born less than 9 months after their parents were married. What the author calls a chaste ritual (bundling) I call sanctioned hook-ups with a veneer of respectability. And later Puritans mithologised the first generation of settlers as being more sexually pure than their generation, and that was all the way back at the end of the 17th century.

    So if a closed, tightly-knit community of theocrats couldn’t keep their kids from having sex, nothing on God’s green earth will.

  2. “yard stick of manhood” — :: snerk:: @ Mary–did you miss that one? So disappointed! This might do better at a library book sale for those of us who collect such gems as this.

  3. We have this in my library. It’s an academic library, so it’s justifiable as source material for research on the ’60s. Now I must go read it.

  4. I’m curious to see this TV episode now too. I wonder how it would compare in “violence and obscenity” to some of today’s fare.

  5. If they think that that show was bad, half the programs on HBO and Showtime would give them an endless coronary!

  6. A tobacco company refused to sponsor the episode for being too violent for teenagers. Gotta love the irony. Can’t see people murdering each other but smoking was perfectly acceptable.

  7. I checked that Wikipedia link on Bus Stop. Say, that sounds like a darn good series: 8 episodes directed by Robert Altman, one written by Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Redford a guest star on one ep … Some cable net oughta blow the dust off the tapes, even if it was only one season, and let us see them again

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