"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosives and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own; for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to The Twilight Zone."Some moral values just don't travel well. The attitudes of the society have changed, or the issue they addressed has become obsolete. But others — like good wine — only get better with age. Years after the original author and audience have passed, new generations will still look at the given Aesop and say "Damn right." Maybe some authors knowingly spoke to issues that were years ahead of their time. Maybe many of society's questions are just Older Than They Think. Maybe they just got lucky. These are the principles that stand the test of time and have outlived the original moral issue they were meant to address a hundred times over. Even when a work is non-ideological, it can still resonate due to tapping into a style or gimmick that would not become popular for many years. Art historians have pointed out, for example, that paintings in the nonrepresentational or abstract style were created in the 16th century by Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo - a full 300 years before expressionism became fashionable in Western art. Keep in mind that this is somewhat a subjective trope, as what resonates as an accurate observation for a conservative may not be the same as a liberal, for a woman may not be the same as for a man, for a devoutly religious person may not be the same as an atheist, for a citizen of one country not the same as a citizen of another, and so on. The best advice (as always applicable when one deals with the internet) is to keep an open mind. Likewise, do not assume that merely because it is old that it is accurate. But while this somewhat subjective, there is a key guideline that should be borne in mind when considering examples. The key element of this trope is that the value or values presented or portrayed in the example resonate with an audience culturally removed from the originally intended or expected audience. It is not resonance when the values in a work are significant or meaningful to the audience for which the work was originally made; a thing does not resonate with itself. That usually requires that the work be from an earlier time or from a different culture than the audience with whom the work is resonating. There is some flexibility here for certain media or works where the intended audience moves on after only a few years, but even that flexibility is limited, since, just because the audience has moved on, it does not follow that the work is now being consumed by a fundamentally separate culture. May cross over with Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. Compare and contrast with Fair for Its Day, where the morals the work presents are kind of squicky, but compared to other opinions from its age, very forward thinking. Contrast Unintentional Period Piece, where the setting and narrative fluff of the work ties it to a single time period (though note that it can still overlap with this if the themes are louder than its cultural trappings).
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Anime and Manga
- Claudine has a rather respectful and sympathetic portrayal of transsexuality, despite having been written in The Seventies.
- People complain that Sailor Moon is outdated and all, having been created in the very early nineties, but it has several concepts that are timeless:
- Females in both the enemy and the allies's sides had their own share of power.
- There was a lesbian pairing portrayed in a sympathetic light (Haruka and Michiru), and the villainous gay couple from the anime loved each other deeply despite their alignment (Zoicite and Kunzite).
- The girls themselves had all kinds of different personalities and were still friends in spite of how different they were. Not to mention, they also encouraged each other's goals note and supported each other when needed instead of throwing each other under the bus for their own benefits (and the girls who did it weren't supposed to be in the right).
- On a related note, all of the Sailor Senshi's individual personality traits often bust up stereotypes as well. For instance, the character who states her dream is to "be a bride" in the manga, Makoto, is also a black belt in judo and one of the physically and mentally strongest characters in the Sailor Moon universe. Not to mention Michiru, the Yamato Nadeshiko Elegant Classical Musician, is all but stated to actually be the one with the reins in her and Haruka's relationship.
- The girls didn't only talk about guys but also about their interests, school, dreams, missions and friendships, among other themes.
- Mamoru helped them, but he also needed help and protection from Usagi and the girls. In fact, he needed more rescue than Usagi herself! And while he sometimes worried a lot about Usagi's safety (to Idiot Ball levels in R), he didn't do it out of manly pride but out of sincere concern.
- In Sailor Moon's prequel manga Codename: Sailor V, one chapter has an obsessive Otaku who keeps harassing Minako because he simply can't deal with the fact that she beat his high score in a video game (even going so far as to assume that she must be a guy in drag), not to mention his whole spiel about how girls shouldn't be "invading" arcades. When his harassment goes too far, Minako (as Sailor V) proceeds to knock him out. The manga started in 1992, but this particular chapter is still pretty relevant today, especially with the surge in harassment of female gamers and fans for being "fake geek girls".
- Romeo's Blue Skies is an anime about a boy who sells himself to become a chimney sweep and in the process, finds many good friends who help him whenever he has trouble. This show is NOT subtle in its message that The Power of Friendship is awesome and how it conveys this with the two main characters, Romeo and Alfredo. Considering how nowadays modern day boys get persecuted by showing even the tiniest bit of friendship-like (whether romantic or not) affection for other boys just because others say it's gay, this message gets more and more relevant every year.
- In Sorcerer Stabber Orphen, the deal with Stephanie being a trans sexual person is not handled for cheap and offensive laughs. When Orphen explains to Cleao and Majic how she went from the male-bodied Stephan to the female-bodied Stephanie, he does it in a matter-of-fact way and doesn't think less of her for it, and later the audience is not supposed to side with Cleao when she makes a careless comment about it. Not to mention, Stephanie herself is portrayed as a normal and kind person who deserves respect and affection like anyone else, and the cast treats her with affection.
- Candy Candy is a shoujo manga from The Seventies that spreads two very important messages: "women can be anything they want to be in their lives if they work hard on making their hopes and dreams come true" and "romance is important in a woman's life but not necessarily the end and be all of it."
- Gundam Wing is of course about the usual War Is Hell theme that Gundam is famous for, but one of its major plot points revolves around the use of unmanned weapons and the implications of wars without soldiers. Which really became a huge issue 15 years after its release when American forces began employing drones in the Middle East.
- Captain America's comic from 1982 became more relevant today due to its positive attitude towards homosexuality based on Captain America's speech that Arnie—his gay friend—is a kind-hearted man rather than a freak.
- An issue of MAD from the 1970s satirizes the over-the-top and offensive personalities that people use while speaking on CB radios. Its commentary on anonymous personalities is eerily predictive of GIFT.
- The early years of the Silver Age Hal Jordan Green Lantern were innovative for its time with the hotshot test pilot have Carol Ferris, his girlfriend, being unambiguously an adept corporate executive and his boss, while Tom Kalmaku may have been stuck with the embarrassing nickname "Pieface", but he was still a smart and brave Inuit aerospace engineer.
- An issue of a comic called the Green Lama, dating to WWII, preaches against racism explicitly — the "bad guy" the Green Lama goes to defeat isn't a supervillain, it's the racist attitude of a white soldier against a black one. A couple of pages are thrown in showing him fighting Nazis, and they try to claim that racism was caused by Nazi fifth columnists in the US, but even ignoring those, the message being so explicit is remarkable for its day.
- Quino's Mafalda derives much of its humor from the observation of human nature, which is so accurate that it remains relevant to this day...Let's not forget we're talking about a work from the 60's here. This is something that doesn't make Quino himself happy, considering those issues attacked back in the day still subsist.
Films — Live-Action
- Much of the message of All Quiet on the Western Front has lasted well past the 1930s. Not every war film made during that period has aged as well.
- One war movie whose Aesops about the nature of war and politics that has also lasted long is Stanley Kubrick's 1957 war movie Paths of Glory with Kirk Douglas.
- The message of peace and understanding in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) has aged pretty well, even withstanding a remake of questionable quality.
- Few movies on the subject of the inherent madness of nuclear war have endured the way Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb has.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers and other Pod People-style stories. The '50s and '70s movies are classics that sum up what the fear of their time was while still retaining Values Resonance.
- The original Miracle on 34th Street of 1947 feels marvelously ahead of its time with Doris Walker being a senior business executive and a single mother with no one questioning her fitness at either because she is a woman.
- Its cutting attack on the overly commercialized holiday season seems far more relevant these days.
- The 1936 Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times has been praised for being even more relevant today with its satire of big business and its portrayal of the plight of the unprivileged in modern society.
- The climactic speech from The Great Dictator is just as relevant today as it was in 1940. Watch it for yourself.
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington portrayed Congress as morally bankrupt; full of bribery, deceit, and other underhanded techniques; absolutely unfriendly to newcomers; the movie being very cynical for the era (and especially for Frank Capra) despite having a happy ending. It seemed oddly pessimistic for its viewers at the time, but as the American government becomes more and more transparent, and more corruption scandals leak out with each passing year since Watergate (which wouldn't happen for another three decades), this film has reflected closer and closer to how Americans largely see Congress.
- Mädchen in Uniform was the first movie to have a pro-lesbian storyline (and the two girls are explicitly in love). Not only that, but neither one dies or turns Psycho Lesbian. This movie was made in 1931 and it still has plenty of relevant themes and motifs in terms of feminism and lesbian sexuality.
- The James Bond franchise at one time seemed to lose his relevance with the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, but after the trauma of 9/11 and the resulting War On Terror and international terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda; James Bond and his battles against eerily similar villainous groups like SPECTRE suddenly felt brilliantly pertinent again, as acknowledged in Skyfall.
- The Oscar-winning Hollywood version of Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls has definitely aged better than other action-adventure films of the 1940s. Being shot in color and on an actual location (even if it is California Doubling) definitely help, as does the film's having more Stuff Blowing Up and overall violence than one would expect from an "old" movie. But the movie holds up pretty well in terms of sociopolitical and cultural content, too: it portrays some left-wing Spanish guerrillas very sympathetically (although it does try to make them seem more like patriotic freedom-fighters than radicals), and that band of guerrillas also has some Action Girls among its ranks (even though the most prominent of them is rather mannish).
- Starship Troopers: At first glance a typical Hollywood soap action movie, the deeply scathing critique of the book it was based off of and nationalism in general was so subtle that even famed critics like Roger Ebert failed to take notice of its satire. Yet it later became popularized as a critique of the The War on Terror, due to the many parallels between several parts of the movie - governments using acts of terror to justify war, sending countless people to their deaths, employing torture, etc. People who watch it today are even surprised that this film was actually produced almost a decade before the Iraq war.
- Even though it was based on the (relatively) old French play La Cage aux folles, the 1996 American film The Birdcage did a very good job of updating the material for the '90s, and it still resonates in the 21st century. Of particular note is an outright mention of "same-sex marriage": not only was this a revolutionary concept at the time, but the very terminology was rare compared to the much blunter phrase "gay marriage."
- This happened to Demolition Man. In The New Tens, with Moral Guardians and their polar opposite being louder than ever before, both factions paint a pretty relevant picture.
- Freaks presents the titular "Freaks" as nice people and portrays them positively.
- Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A woman is raped, escapes the rapist, falls in love, and is rejected by her husband because she's not a virgin anymore. She then is forced to become her rapist's mistress in order to survive. This is presented as a tragedy, with the heroine being innocent - was controversial in the time it was written, while nowadays most people would agree that of course Tess is not to be blamed for the rape, and that the double-standard her husband (who lost his virginity in consensual sex) uses to justify his leaving her is despicable. The message against victim blaming is still an anvil that needs to be dropped, sadly, even though attitudes on virginity have relaxed.
- Les Misérables is sadly resonant with society today, seeing men persecuted simply for their past reputation, families dividing over petty issues as political fanaticism, women being disgraced for sexual behaviour that is praised in men, officials emphasising rules over care and consideration, and scoundrels abusing their position of 'caretaker' simply for the money. Victor Hugo's urging that these ills must be faced are every bit as relevant today as they were in post-Revolutionary France.
- Invoked by Hugo himself in the prologue: "So long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless."
- Uncle Tom's Cabin, particularly the ideas of passive resistance and racial equality.
- The Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Yellow Face": The sympathetic treatment of interracial marriage, which in its time was (consciously) controversial, now comes across as proper and endearing; so much so that readers who aren't aware of historical prejudices could find the plot, which revolves around an attempt to conceal said interracial marriage, confusing and unnecessary.
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The message of the true meaning of Christmas being about how one spends their life, not their money, might be more relevant in these recessionary times more than ever. Justified in that "secular Christmas", (i.e. very commercial Christmas with Santa Claus bringing lots of expensive gifts) was still relatively new in Victorian Britain. Arguably, Dickens was commenting on what seemed like a troubling new trend.
- Tibullus, an ancient Roman poet who lived in the 1st century BC wrote an elegy (the eleventh) where he states that war is madness and wishes for peace.
- Robert "Rabbie" Burns' poem Holy Willie's Prayer, written in 1785 about a hypocritical church elder who condemns others for perceived transgression, whilst giving spurious justifications about his own. Compare with the various evangelists caught out and their own justifications for their behaviour today.
- This easily fits into any religion, you just have to change some names.
- The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner was a brilliant look at psychology and the use of religion to excuse yourself while denouncing everyone else. It was written in 1824 by a poor Scottish farmer.
- All Quiet on the Western Front has actually been said to resonate with some people more than the more modern War Is Hell novels do.
- 1984 was thankfully not an accurate prediction of The '80s. Yet its message of extreme surveillance became even more prevalent in the following years, particularly once The War on Terror lead to a bump in government-endorsed CCTV and wiretaps. It says something that once Edward Snowden leaked NSA's surveillance info, the book's sales skyrocketed.
- Like 1984, Brave New World (1931) still manages to resonate. Some have argued that it's actually more relevant today than it was in its time◊, as people seem increasingly willing to give up their rights in the name of immediate pleasure and entertainment. It also predicted the 1960s' sexual revolution and drug culture.
- It rings frighteningly true of how predictive Aldous Huxley's book was of the future despite being written in the '30s, so much that many dystopian films or films with dystopian themes have ended up being inspired by it, furthermore reinforcing the existence of our entertainment obsessed culture.
- And despite Brave New World preceding the discovery of DNA, its chemically-enforced eugenics strike close to what people fear genetic engineering can do.
- Similarly, Fahrenheit 451. It even predicted iPods, flatscreen TVs, the decline of quality in public schools, prescription drug abuse, people abandoning books and their loved ones for new media, and everyone living in fear over war.
- Maurice was written in 1913 but wasn't published until 1971 because it had the "weirdo" idea that homosexuals could actually have happy endings that didn't involve death or being "cured" of their "mental illness" (yes, once upon a time, homosexuality was considered a mental problem).
- The sentiments of Siegfried Sassoon's poem "Aftermath" resonate just a strongly today as they did immediately following World War I, perhaps even more so given all that's happened since it was written in 1920. This is, in fact, true of many of the anti-war poems that came out of the First World War.
- The E.M. Forster story "The Machine Stops" must have seemed wildly far-fetched when it was published in 1909. Now, aspects of the story make one wonder if Forster had done some time-traveling to the early 21st century.
- In Sir Walter Raleigh's The Nymph's Reply to The Shepherd the nymph rejects all the riches promised to her by the shepherd, claiming these things get old after a while. It reads like an indictment of consumerism and materialism in the era of Wal-Mart and Costco.
- Don Quixote’s satire will live as long as the justice system will be made of human judges capable of corruption that let criminals go for a price. Or as the people who direct The Government only care about ruling the people without making any effort to enhance the live of his subjects. Or while the Moral Guardians are useless because his own Condescending Compassion. Or while there are people who fanatically defend any kind of entertainment work no matter its faults. Those examples are only a few…
- Gone with the Wind, published in the 1930s, actually Deconstructed the stereotypical Southern Belle and many tropes concerning the antebellum South. The heroine Scarlett O'Hara actually commented on how she was disapproved of for running her own business in order to take care of her dependents, which is even more relevant in modern society.
- Dozens of cultures have their own version of the same basic Fairy Tale.
- The titular heroine of Jane Austen's Emma learns that interfering in others' love lives is wrong, and nobody has any right to assume they know everyone else and their circumstances well enough to arrange their destinies for them, especially when it comes to romance. 200 years later, and we still haven't learned that lesson.
- Another Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice, aside from its perpetually relevant moral of not prejudging others or thinking too highly of yourself because of your status, showcases the perils of marrying for convenience or looks and elevates the notion of marrying for love, an ideal that would have been considered rather quixotic at the time. Many of its characters will also be eerily familiar to modern readers, both in real life and in contemporary fiction: Mrs. Bennet, who has no higher goal in life than keeping up appearances; Mr. Bennet, the distant husband who tolerates but does not love his wife and delights in doing little things to piss her off because it's the only amusement he can get out of their relationship; Lydia, the bratty, reckless teenager who sees nothing wrong with her irresponsible behaviour and ultimately ends up screwing up her life; Jane, who is so nice and self-effacing that she endangers her own happiness; Wickham, who fools everyone with his charm but is in fact a mid-functioning sociopath; Caroline and Lady Catherine, the Rich Bitches; and of course, Elizabeth, the intelligent, perceptive, quick-witted protagonist with a playfully snarky sense of humour. The characters, and the morals we are meant to learn from what they reap by their strengths and flaws, are resonant enough that a modern-day adaptation in the form of a video blog, which for the most part did not change the main characters' personalities and struggles, was frequently thought to be a real video blog by many first-time viewers. (Apparently fewer people have read Pride and Prejudice than one would like to think.)
- By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benét is a post-apo short story about a primitive man exploring Ruins of the Modern Age. Despite being written in 1937, it might well have been an archetypal post-nuclear story from the 1950s or 1960s.
- The Great Gatsby as a critique of the emotionally and morally vacuous upper class of America. It's really no wonder it received another film adaptation in 2013.
- When Invisible Man was written by Ralph Ellison about 1950, white racism was a topic scarcely touched upon in the mainstream culture. Invisible Man discusses that a lot... and it also discusses black racism, liberal guilt, the Black Power movement...
- The Adventures of Pinocchio, the children's novel from 1883, has prompted many computer scientists nowadays see parallels between Pinocchio, a man-made being who wants to become a "real boy", and artificial intelligence.
- Judy Blume's book Blubber is a book about bullying. This was written in 1974. Its grimly realistic outlook and lack of sugarcoating made it the target of Moral Guardians, but with more and more children bullying others to the point of driving them to suicide, it's becoming scarily relevant.
- In his 1907 novel Le Meraviglie del Duemila ("The Marvels of the Year 2,000"), Emilio Salgari imagined a world in which every country had renounced war due all of them having access to what are basically nuclear weapons, anticipating Mutually Assured Destruction and its fear.
- The quote above came from the classic The Twilight Zone episode about aliens who use good old-fashioned human prejudice and hysteria while they just watch and laugh. This was an allegory for the Red Scare, warning how communism is a danger, but the self-destructive anti-communist hysteria amongst the US people is actually the best way for the real communists to win. In the most recent remake series, the episode was remade, with the communist threat changed to terrorism. No other changes were made... or needed.
Now the questions that come to mind: Where is this place and when is it? What kind of world, where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? You want an answer? The answer is...it doesn't make any difference. Because the old saying happens to be true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In this year or a hundred years hence. On this planet. . . or wherever there is human life, perhaps out amongst the stars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned...in The Twilight Zone.
- There are dozens of episodes like this. 'He's Alive' is another good contender, on how we keep monsters like Hitler alive so long as we spread intolerance, no matter of what kind.
- 'Number 12 Looks Just Like You' and it's theme of overconformity and the Hollywood obsession with beauty (especially female beauty) is probably even truer today than it was back then. Eerily it takes place in the year 2000.
- 'Eye of the Beholder' has similar themes. The Closing Narration even invokes this:
- 'Night of the Meek' (the Christmas episode) is basically a big Aesop about belief and the goodness of charity and giving as opposed to blindly and selfishly asking and receiving. It's message is even more true today, as the commercialization of the holidays is greater than ever.
- 'The Shelter' is a good example, whose message is somewhat similar to 'The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street'. It shows that no matter how civil we act in everyday life, in order to survive we'll adopt an 'every man for himself' mentality, and that the only way to survive is by working together.
- Star Trek has managed to come up with many stories that are excellent examples of this trope.
- The famous Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" was relevant during the Civil Rights movement of the late 1960s when it aired. It still applies unnervingly well to all the racial and religious fanaticism of the early 21st century.
- An episode of Star Trek: Enterprise made during the 21st century, purposely made as a tribute to "Last Battlefield", even points out that this type of story is just as true, if not more, today.
- The theme of TOS's "A Taste of Armageddon", about the dehumanizing effects of computerized warfare, was haunting enough in 1967, when the computer was still in its infancy. Today, with things like UAVs and computer-guided missiles becoming indispensable parts of modern warfare, it hits harder than ever.
- "The Devil in the Dark" has always aged beautifully with a Green Aesop theme that gradually becomes obvious in a natural way.
- "The Omega Glory" is extremely divisive, especially among international Trekkies, but its message of how dangerous blind patriotism and nationalism can be still rings true, particularly since the surge of hyper-patriotism that emerged in the US after the September 11th attacks.
- The Next Generation's "The Drumhead" and Deep Space Nine's "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" both carry strong messages of not sacrificing liberty in the name of security, messages that remain very important to this day.
- The famous Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" was relevant during the Civil Rights movement of the late 1960s when it aired. It still applies unnervingly well to all the racial and religious fanaticism of the early 21st century.
- In Blakes Seven, Blake rebels against a totalitarian government that drugs its populace. He gets framed for paedophilia. Hell, the entire series starts with a shot of a CCTV camera monitoring the citizens — before said cameras became ubiquitous in the UK.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus has the 'Prejudice Sketch', the "Blackmail" gameshow that looks almost tame compared to some modern reality shows ("no we don't morally censure sir, we just want the money!"), and all of the self deprecation and the letters of complaint about The BBC still rings true, given how much flak the corporation often gets from other media outlets and Moral Guardians: "I'd like to complain about people who hold things up by complaining about people complaining, it's about time something was done about it".
- One of the key motivations behind Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' revamping of Sherlock Holmes when creating Sherlock was their realisation that Dr. Watson's backstory as a wounded and invalided veteran of a British military campaign in Afghanistan was, in light of the War on Terror, just as relevant at the beginning of the twenty-first century as it had been at the end of the nineteenth when the stories were first being written.
- Tom Lehrer's Pollution song.
- The Jerry Reed song "Lord, Mr. Ford", first released on the album with the same album in 1973 and criticizing the car-obsessed United States resonates quite uncomfortably in the Era of SUVs, global warming and Peak Oil.
Lord, Mr. Ford, how I wish that you could seewhat your simple "horseless carriage" has become.It seems your great contribution to Manto say the least, got a little out of hand.Lord, Mr Ford, what have you done?!
- Swedish singer Karl Gerhard wrote the song "Nu ska vi vara snälla" in the 1930's. One verse is about how Sweden has a minister of defense, but no actual defense, since what military it does have is constantly being reduced and downsized. Karl Gerhard's suggested solution to this is that when the enemy planes arrive in Sweden, all the Swedes will simply hide, so the enemy won't have anybody to fight. Now, over seventy years later, it's safe to say that the observation about the state of the military, as well as the suggested solution, is as relevant as ever.
- The song "Spaceman" by Babylon Zoo features lyrics condemning "the sickening taste" of "homophobic jokes" and "images of fascist votes". When regarding the more...to put it bluntly, worser parts of the internet, said lyrics continue to be relevant today.
- The social problems Marvin Gaye sings about on What's Going On are still with us and, in many cases, worse than they were when the album was recorded.
- A lot of the "punk-pop" from the late 1970s sounds more contemporary than one might think. There are rock songs from 1978 that for many listeners could pass for songs from 2008. (Try playing "I Wanna Be Sedated" for a group of 14-year-olds sometime and kidding them that it's a "new" song; odds are at least one person will believe you.) It certainly helps that the style of and philosophy behind those earlier hits has made a major comeback in the 21st century. Most amusing of all, those '70s tunes have aged a lot better than the '80s New Wave hits that replaced them.
Mythology and Religion
- A number of lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein, most spectacularly "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught".
- Othello. By William Shakespeare. For North American audiences, a lot of baggage was added by the use of Africans in larger-scale Atlantic slavery. But generally speaking, the play has a lot that resonates with modern audiences; attitudes to cultural/ethnic minorities, minority attitudes, the troubles of career military men in domestic settings, the destructive power of rumours...
- The Clouds, by Aristophanes, mocks both conservative and left-wing Strawman Political types, with the former being portrayed as not using actual arguments, just saying "this is the way we've always done it" and "Doing it differently will make you gay" and the latter controlling most of Socrates' Academy and being able to convince anyone of anything, including that the only reason it isn't acceptable for sons to beat their fathers is that there's a law that says there isn't. Today, gay rights and moral relativism are actually points of debate.
- Lysistrata has an overriding message of peace and, like many Aristophanes' plays, claims war is being prolonged by corrupt politicians. Due to this, the play ended up being performed a lot in the year the Iraq War began. It also has quite a bit to say on feminism and the kind of power women have. Not bad for a play that, even back then, was a raunchy sex comedy.
- Chicago (both the stage musical and the movie). Its view of the celebrity that comes from scandal seems to be getting more relevant every year. A lot of people took interest in the whole "celebrity defendant" phenomenon after the OJ Simpson trial and the 1996 revival has been running ever since.
- Spring Awakening (the original play) was written just before the 1900s, but still holds a lot of Values Resonance on cultural/religious repression and sexuality. The musical outright invokes this by using contemporary style/slang for the songs. And it works.
- The show is essentially about what happens when you refuse to give teenagers The Talk. It was radical when it was written, but today it seems like a massive take down of the abstinence-only sub culture.
- Shylock's famous "if you prick us, do we not bleed?" speech from The Merchant of Venice almost goes without saying.
- Henrik Ibsen's plays were incredibly controversial at the time, but these days there's nothing wrong with them.
- Arthur Miller stated that The Crucible goes through waves of popularity when people feel that tyranny is coming, or has just fallen. Apparently people in China found it especially relatable after the end of the Cultural Revolution and the Reign of Terror created by the Gang of Four.
- Inherit the Wind: With the rise of the power of the political Religious Right and later the countering rise of the more assertive New Atheism doing battle in the courts like over religious pseudo-sciences like "Intelligent Design," this play's conflict between faith and secularism is still powerfully relevant today.
- A Streetcar Named Desire: The play symbolizes the struggle between the Old South and New South that was taking place at the time. Blanche was an antebellum Southern Belle left over from before the Civil War (being played in the movie by Scarlett O'Hara herself, Vivian Leigh, only added to this,) and Stanley was a more modern, industrial blue-collar immigrant, symbolic of the direction the South was heading, and the clash between those who wanted to go back to the Good Old Days and those who wanted to embrace progress. Important in 1947 since the South was still recovering, but the same Old Guard vs. New Blood debate is showing up all over again, with a younger generation of more diverse, liberal, and progressive Southerners butting heads with the much more religious, staunchly conservative previous generation.
- Of course, the analogy falls apart once you realize that many modern conservatives would sympathize with Stanley more than they would with Blanche.
- H.M.S. Pinafore: While a lot of the other Victoriana hasn't aged particularly well, the mocking of political appointees with no experience in their field and over-inflated egos (in this case, a First Sea Lord whose closest connection to the Navy is a partnership in a law firm), will probably never cease to be funny as long as back-room political dealing and nepotism are a thing.
- Fake Values Resonance is a common theme for Urban Legends, examples from Snopes follows. Unless noted otherwise, these are false:
- The circumstances of the 2000 election supposedly mirror an 18th-century professor's predictions of the fall of democracy: here.
- The rationale for the invasion of Iraq supposedly mirrors a 1944 Reuter's article concerning the invasion of Nazi-conquered France: here.
- The rationale for removing troops from Iraq mirrors another supposed 1944 Reuter's article concerning the removal of troops from World War Two's European Theater: here.
- A quote from Julius Caesar supposedly explains how to use the threat of war to convince citizens to fall in line with the government: here.
- This similar quote from Hermann Goering also drew attention — however, this one is real.
- A (real) article from 1922 warns that climate change is melting Arctic ice and disrupting wildlife: here.
- The anti-war short "Peace on Earth", released on the eve of World War II about the horrors of World War I, still carries a haunting message applicable to today's world. It became far more profound from the 1950s onward and was even remade at the time (as "Good Will to Men"), as the Cold War made its metaphor of human extinction a chillingly literal one.
- Tex Avery's "TV of Tomorrow" contains much commentary on television that mostly rings true today, such as a family life (literally) based around the TV set, a man keeping his face glued to the screen in the living room as his wife drags his body into the kitchen (only pulling his outstretched head in to eat his dinner), a lack of variety in programming (the old "X number of channels and there's nothing on" problem), TV shows being adapted into movies (a man who's sick of watching Westerns on TV goes to the movies. He thinks he's seeing a romantic film — but it turns out to be the Western he was trying to avoid at home), and TV being on-the-go (the Scottish flashlight TV is more-or-less similar to mobile devices having Internet and video capability).
- "We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. ... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that." — Thomas Edison, 1931. However, in this day of rising gas prices, environmental awareness, and resource scarcity, this quote is more relevant than ever.