The Good Old Days

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Richard Hershberger

Richard Hershberger is a paralegal working in Maryland. When he isn't doing whatever it is that paralegals do, or taking his daughters to Girl Scouts, he is dedicated to the collection and analysis of useless and unremunerative information.

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32 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    You see, it WAS better. The negros were in their place, and a father made sure his daughter married well and didn’t become a tart. An uppity SIL was “taken care of” and put in his place. This was accomplished by the common use of firearms.

    Sniff, the good old days!

    It had AC right?Report

  2. Providence beat Chicago the day before, 6-4

    The Cubs lost, which goes to show that some things never change.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I think there’s a distinct possibility that Ophelia was 10 years old at the time of her elopement.Report

  4. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Is it possible that the choice between “things were much better” and “things were much worse” is a false dichotomy driven by our political commitments and the past was just different? Better in some ways and worse in others?Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Rufus F. says:

      This is an important point.
      We alternately shun or embrace, a past which never existed in order to accomplish something contemporary.

      Its like when we try to map our current political affiliations onto the past (hey, did you know that Democrats were the party of the Klan? True fact!) it yields weird and conflicting results.Report

    • The past was objectively better: the baseball game mentioned at the end of the OP had no designated hitter.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Yes, was better in some ways. The porch socializing culture I mentioned in the post is in many ways very attractive. On the other hand, we abandoned our porches as soon as we got air conditioning and televisions. Presumably this was perceived as a net improvement.

      And really, much of the attractiveness about society back in the day was only true to the extent that you were an insider. Good ol’ boy networks work great, so long as you are a good ol’ boy. But if you were excluded due to gender or ethnicity or disability or simply due to power politics within the network, you were royally screwed.

      I also notice over and over in my baseball research that if you followed the guys’ post-baseball careers, men typically dropped dead sometime in their fifties. If they won the genetic lottery and had no predisposition for heat attacks or strokes, then they could live into their seventies. But it was unremarkable for guys in their fifties to simply be walking down the street when they drop. If they didn’t die right away, the ambulance would come and cart them to their home. There would be no point in taking them to the hospital. So some guy has a stroke, and he lies in bed for the next three days and his family and friends come to say good-bye, then he dies. The modern American way of dying has more than its share of problems, but when someone with access to routine healthcare dies in his fifties, this is unusual.

      Just reading the newspaper ads for quack medicines is enough to convince me that the net improvement is huge.Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    One of my most favorite things about history is encountering people with names like Havelock. Where did people come up with these names.Report

  6. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Well, whatever other flaws one might identify from this glimpse of past society, they were clearly polite.Report

  7. Avatar DavidTC says:

    Heh, I love the censoring in the newspaper quote of the KKK.Report

  8. Avatar Don Zeko says:

    A guy named Webster in North Carolina got shot? I wonder if that was a relative of mine….Report

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