LOTS OF HORSE MANURE
When I was a kid my older brother was a “declamatory speaking champion” b/c that was actually a thing in the Midwest where high school kids competed to give the best speeches.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to compete in the exciting, fast-paced world of declamatory speaking b/c my family moved to AZ where only sports (and maybe alcohol) reigned supreme.
In any case, the only speech I remember my brother giving was about the false promises of nostalgia.
And the only things I remember from the speech was that nostalgic feelings are often nonsense and that there were huge mounds of stinky horse manure in every city street back in the good ol’ days.
I was reminded of all this when reading Why We Can’t Stop Longing for the Good Old Days in the WSJ over the weekend.
The main point of the article is that there were no “good old days,” despite the fact that large percentages of the populations in many western countries think life is worse today than it was 50 years ago.
Many people today point to the 1950s as the true “good old days,” but during the 1950s, “American sociologists worried that rampant individualism was tearing the family apart.” In addition, “there were serious racial and class tensions, and everyone lived under the very real threat of instant nuclear annihilation.”
1950’s Americans looked back to the 1920s as the good old days, but 1920s Americans were very worried about waning Victorian morals, the onslaught of higher divorce rates, and the horrible effects of modernization (cars, trains, radio, and all of the other things that make life move too fast).
The further we get from events or periods in history, the more likely we are to remember only the positive things. This is particularly clouded by youth, as most people remember the decade of their youth as the true good old days (which is why I personally long for long hair, bell-bottoms, Sting-Ray bicycles, and huge cars that don’t start).
“BICYCLE FACE” WAS A SERIOUS CONCERN
Predictions of doom and gloom rarely come true too, as we all know. For example rampant cases of “Bicycle Face” never surfaced in women 😊.
This is from the article: “Many people feared that bicycles would create a generation of hunchbacks, since riders leaned forward all day, and that sitting in a bicycle saddle would make women infertile. Women cyclists were also warned about developing a “bicycle face.” When they clenched their jaw and focused their eyes to balance on two wheels, their features risked getting stuck in an unflattering grimace. The point isn’t to show how silly previous generations were. The same kinds of anxieties have been expressed in our own time about innovations like the internet, videogames, genetically modified organisms and stem-cell research.”
Anyway, during this season of nostalgia, this article is a great reminder to appreciate how good things really are right now, despite everything we’re going through, and to look forward to the future.
We might also still try to avoid bicycle face too.
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