In the movie "Pleasantville," two kids are transported into a black-and-white world of the 1950s. Its inhabitants are all white and middle class. Nobody ever uses the toilet. It never rains, the basketball team never misses a shot, nothing ever catches fire and husband and wife sleep separately. All is, well ... pleasant.

But there is no joy, rage, passion or intellect in this sanitized world. There is no change. As the town's residents explore art, books and passion, the people morph from black-and-white into color, and the dark side of human nature is unleashed. Fear and paranoia lead to intolerance and violence against the newly colored. Nothing is pleasant anymore.

This parable encourages us to re-evaluate the good ol' days and take a fresh look at the new world we dismiss as decadent.

Dennis Kostecki

Mammoth Lakes, Calif.