Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-10-2008, 07:30 AM
Athena is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: da UP, eh
Posts: 13,433

Littering pre-1970: was it really like Mad Men?


The recent episode of Mad Men (a show set in the early 1960s) has a family having a picnic (episode discussion here). One of the great things about this show is that they hit you with societal norms that are very different than today - pregnant women smoking/drinking, men in the office being very sexual towards the female secretaries, etc. etc. In this particular episode, at the end of the picnic, the man stands up and throws his beer can off into the woods. The woman, while gathering up the picnic gear, takes the blanket they'd been sitting on and gives it a shake, leaving all the disposables (napkins, etc) on the ground in the park.

Mr. Athena, who was born in the 50s, said that would have NEVER happened in his family. He clearly remembers his Dad getting on him for littering.

So, all you people old enough to have been first-person in the 60s, how accurate was that? I'm too young for the 60s, but I remember the early 70s, and the "throw the beer can into the woods" didn't seem so far off to me, but leaving piles of dirty napkins and paper plates in the middle of the park didn't strike a true cord. In other words, I remember littering being OK as long as nobody saw it.
  #2  
Old 09-10-2008, 07:37 AM
JustThinkin' is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 450
I remember throwing garbage out car windows without a second thought. The picnic thing doesn't ring a bell, but I'd guess it was done by some -- more indicative of the picnickers' values, than the general culture.
  #3  
Old 09-10-2008, 07:48 AM
CalMeacham's Avatar
CalMeacham is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 44,105
Even in the early 1960s there were trash cans in public parks with "Don't Be a Litter Bug!" written on them, with a cartoon of a villanous-looking bug throwing trash on the ground. I was always taught to throw garbage in the trah containers. So:


1.) There was certAinly an effort to teach people to dispose of trash properly. Which implies:

2.) a lot of people were still throwing stuff on the ground. This continues to be true today.

3.) I can easily believe a guy tossing a beer can into th woods, but just dropping paper plates, napkins, and other picnic waste directly on the ground doesn't ring true. It's too much stuff, all at once, in one place.


I was five by the end of 1960.
  #4  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:03 AM
LSLGuy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast Florida USA
Posts: 21,035
What Cal said.

In the early-mid 60s, littering didn't count if it was one or two things & hidden in the bushes.

Eating fast food while driving was rare, but tossing a finished paper coffee cup out the window when empty was normal. I can remember getting through a burger & fries and sending each wrapper out the window as it was fininshed. The fact cars didn't have A/C & so most windows were open most of the time in warm weather certainly helped people to think of the outside as an available trash receptacle.

So my botton line recollection is at that time gross littering (dump a trash can by the roadside) was unacceptable to all but unwashed yokels, yet onesy-twosey littering was pretty universal. It died out pretty quickly as the "don't be a litterbug" campaign took off in the late 60s, so I suspect a lot of people did it out of unthinking habit but regretted it a moment later. Retraining that habit to think a few seconds earlier wasn't very hard.

In a lot of ways, I think we may be backsliding now as uber-selfishness becomes more common.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 09-10-2008 at 08:04 AM.
  #5  
Old 09-10-2008, 10:00 AM
Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,456
Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post

In a lot of ways, I think we may be backsliding now as uber-selfishness becomes more common.
I was reading a Mommy board recently and they were talking about the kids fighting in the car. The number of women who said they take away whatever the kids are fighting over and throw it out the window astounded me. And when called on it, they saw nothing wrong with it - couldn't see why it was a problem - EVERYONE throws trash out their car window - and it wasn't like they were throwing Gameboys - it was just the McDonald's toys or cheap stuffed animals or baseball caps or.....

There were more women admitting to and defending the behavior than people saying "wow, that's screwed up."
  #6  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:04 AM
Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
It was the same as it is now for individuals littering. Some people are assholes and there will always be those people.

There is more disposable eating trash around than back then. You didn't see chain fast food packaging blowing all over.
  #7  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:18 AM
Derleth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 21,096
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
It was the same as it is now for individuals littering. Some people are assholes and there will always be those people.

There is more disposable eating trash around than back then. You didn't see chain fast food packaging blowing all over.
No, neither of these square with my own observations. I've been around a sizeable chunk of America and throwing crap out the window of a moving vehicle just isn't done, and you don't find large amounts of crap along the roadside.
  #8  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:30 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Outer Control
Posts: 10,394
Around 1960 (I was 7) I went fishing with my Uncle Al on Long Island Sound. I ate an apple and asked my uncle where the trash went.

He said, "where do you think?"

I looked around for a trash can.

He said, "Think."

I shrugged. Then I threw the apple core in the ocean.

It was actually okay (biodegradable and all that) but he made it sound like the ocean was obviously a gigantic trash can, and anyone with any sense could see that.
  #9  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:37 AM
Spoke is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Pit of the Peach State
Posts: 17,913
The scene described in the OP rings somewhat true, if exaggerated. Littering was much more common. It became such a problem, and the litter became such an eyesore, that a national ad campaign to stop the littering was initiated.

Surely some of you are old enough to remember the crying Indian ad campaign launched on Earth Day in 1971?

And states started producing their own campaigns to stop littering. Growing up near Chattanooga, we had the memorable Tennessee Trash ads launched in 1976.

The ad campaigns worked, to a large extent. People started thinking twice about throwing fast food bags out the windows of their cars, and the roadsides became a lot less cluttered. If you traveled much it became noticeable that there was more trash on the roads in other countries.

Lately, I'm sorry to say I've seen a return to old patterns, with a lot more trash accumulating on the roadsides. I think maybe we could use a new ad campaign.
  #10  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:43 AM
Gatopescado is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: on your last raw nerve
Posts: 21,911
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
No, neither of these square with my own observations. I've been around a sizeable chunk of America and throwing crap out the window of a moving vehicle just isn't done, and you don't find large amounts of crap along the roadside.
You are lucky, then. Or not looking very closely. I've been around a sizeable chunk of America too, and have noticed the opposite. Most offenders seem to be the truckers. They throw out crap even when trash cans are available a short walk away. These guys pull off the road, sleep, wake up and toss crap out rather than get out of the truck to walk to a dumpster. Seen it all over.

Any major truck route is festooned with crap (and Trucker Bombs) on the side of the road.
  #11  
Old 09-10-2008, 09:59 AM
Finagle is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Somewhere near Boston
Posts: 9,962
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
No, neither of these square with my own observations. I've been around a sizeable chunk of America and throwing crap out the window of a moving vehicle just isn't done, and you don't find large amounts of crap along the roadside.
Guess you're not a bicyclist. Traveling along the shoulders of busy roads, you get to see just how much they're treated like trash cans.

I'm also a (hobbyist) photographer and I frequently pull over to the side of the road to take pictures. It's staggering how much crap people have thrown over embankments or into the underbrush.
  #12  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:37 AM
Athena is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: da UP, eh
Posts: 13,433
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
It was the same as it is now for individuals littering. Some people are assholes and there will always be those people.

There is more disposable eating trash around than back then. You didn't see chain fast food packaging blowing all over.
Even in my lifetime, this isn't true. I remember a LOT more littering in the 70s than there is now (but not anything like they portrayed on Mad Men). I especially remember fast food packaging. Pop cans in the woods were so ubiquitous that I remember a few times my Dad would organize a cleanup of the dirt road that led to our cabin - he'd drive his pickup slowly and make the kids walk alongside picking up the litter (mostly cans) and throw into the truck bed for disposal.

I also use to make necklaces out of the can tabs (y'know, the things that opened the cans back before they stayed attached to the can) when we were at softball games at the local park.
  #13  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:42 AM
CalMeacham's Avatar
CalMeacham is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 44,105
Quote:
Surely some of you are old enough to remember the crying Indian ad campaign launched on Earth Day in 1971?
Sure, but it's not as if that kicked it off. Remember Lady Bird Johnson's campaign to clean up the trash (as well as get rid of the billboards)? Or all those "Don't be a Litter Bug" pictures I referred to above? The "Crying Indian" was neither the first nor the last, but one of a continuing series of announcements to try and deal with the problem.


Heck, this one was earlier:



"Hi! I'm Louis Nye, the Trash guy. Everyone tells me "Business is picking up!" it's not funny -- my business is too good! ...." etc.
  #14  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:48 AM
elmwood is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 9,351
The people I've noticed littering the most are either adults in their late 50s and up, or the hood/gangsta' crowd.

When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, I always noticed how much cleaner Canadian cities were than those on the US side of the border. Today, outside of poor inner city neighborhoods, there's not much difference; cities in the US have gotten a lot cleaner, while those in Canada are a little bit dirtier.

I do notice that in Rust Belt cities and suburbs, cigarette filters are everywhere around signalized intersections, and there's far more untrimmed weeds growing through curbs and in sidewalk cracks. That is, except for Grand Rapids. That is one clean city;. Seriously, it's cleaner than I remember of 1970s Toronto. Must be the Dutch influence.
  #15  
Old 09-10-2008, 08:45 AM
An Gadaí is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 10,156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena View Post
The recent episode of Mad Men (a show set in the early 1960s) has a family having a picnic (episode discussion here). One of the great things about this show is that they hit you with societal norms that are very different than today - pregnant women smoking/drinking, men in the office being very sexual towards the female secretaries, etc. etc. In this particular episode, at the end of the picnic, the man stands up and throws his beer can off into the woods. The woman, while gathering up the picnic gear, takes the blanket they'd been sitting on and gives it a shake, leaving all the disposables (napkins, etc) on the ground in the park.

Mr. Athena, who was born in the 50s, said that would have NEVER happened in his family. He clearly remembers his Dad getting on him for littering.

So, all you people old enough to have been first-person in the 60s, how accurate was that? I'm too young for the 60s, but I remember the early 70s, and the "throw the beer can into the woods" didn't seem so far off to me, but leaving piles of dirty napkins and paper plates in the middle of the park didn't strike a true cord. In other words, I remember littering being OK as long as nobody saw it.
For what it's worth I've seen people do all of the things you've described. They're not my norms of behaviour but they still do seem pretty prevalent. There are anti-littering laws and smoking bans and anti-harrassment legislation etc. but alot of people are just assholes.
  #16  
Old 09-10-2008, 10:23 AM
Skald the Rhymer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,555
I believe that scene was more about the Drapers and how they live their lives than it was about social norms. Dan, in particular, throws semen around just as carelessly as he threw that can.
  #17  
Old 09-10-2008, 10:45 AM
AuntiePam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,119
Roadside litter is rare around here -- rare enough so that you'll notice just one small item, like a beer can. Plus, it's like throwing that dime bottle deposit out the window.

Do other states have Adopt A Highway programs? Families, churches, community organizations take responsibility for a mile or so of roadside.

We didn't leave trash behind at picnics because there wasn't any to leave. We didn't have paper plates, cups, napkins. Picnic dishes and food containers were reuseable plastic, or even the regular dinnerware. Leftover food went home with us.
  #18  
Old 09-10-2008, 10:54 AM
Shagnasty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,413
I grew up on the Louisiana/Texas border in the 70's and 80's and even respectable people littered like a mo fo. We threw out just about any junk but especially fast food containers. Everyone did it and then the Boy Scouts and other groups cleaned it up. It was a big deal in the 1980's when Texas rolled out its "Don't mess with Texas." anti-littering program with increased charges.
  #19  
Old 09-10-2008, 11:06 AM
Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
Unfortunately I have seen people take their meal trash and throw it all over as they finished that item. It was someplace I'd just cleaned up too. It was hard not to do something that would have had police arresting me.

I've also been to a park were somebody threw their meal garbage to the ground, and a reporter for the local rag, took a picture. The reporter was walking ahead of our party, so we saw what the reporter did. The reporter then walked away and drove off. We picked up the bags wrappers and cups, and put them in the trash can which the reporter and trash had been right next to. The next day this picture and the story about the horrible people that threw the trash on the ground leaving an unsightly mess was in the paper. What a hypercritical person. They left the trash there after photographing it and then wrote up an article on it.
  #20  
Old 09-10-2008, 11:23 AM
Dinsdale is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,224
WRT tossing trash out car windows - I believe the true culprit is the increased prevalence of automatic windows, for the simple reason that cars lack the window cranks from which to hang those plastic trash bags. Remember them?

I have no doubt Americans' failure to manually crank their windows is also a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic as well...
  #21  
Old 09-10-2008, 12:19 PM
AuntiePam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
WRT tossing trash out car windows - I believe the true culprit is the increased prevalence of automatic windows, for the simple reason that cars lack the window cranks from which to hang those plastic trash bags. Remember them?
Yes! There might be space for a litter bag in an SUV or a van, but there's no place to hang one in my car and there's no room in the front for a little trash bin either.
  #22  
Old 09-10-2008, 12:24 PM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 35,589
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
I've also been to a park were somebody threw their meal garbage to the ground, and a reporter for the local rag, took a picture. The reporter was walking ahead of our party, so we saw what the reporter did. The reporter then walked away and drove off. We picked up the bags wrappers and cups, and put them in the trash can which the reporter and trash had been right next to. The next day this picture and the story about the horrible people that threw the trash on the ground leaving an unsightly mess was in the paper. What a hypercritical person. They left the trash there after photographing it and then wrote up an article on it.
Hypercritical or hypocritical? In either case, I disagree. The reporter was reporting on a societal ill. And one of the standards of a photojournalist is to just observe, and not get involved in the the scene that being photographed.
  #23  
Old 09-10-2008, 06:23 PM
Tastes of Chocolate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: slightly north of center
Posts: 4,758
My folks have land in rural UP Michigan. It's where my grandparents lived as well.
It was very common to take your large trash items and dump them over the nearest embankment, where you couldn't see it any more. Out of sight, out of mind.

When my folks decided to build on that land, they had to have someone come in and clean out a hillside. A piano, a refrigerator, lots of tires and cement chunks and other misc. junk.
  #24  
Old 09-11-2008, 07:45 AM
Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
Quote:
Originally Posted by acsenray View Post
Hypercritical or hypocritical? In either case, I disagree. The reporter was reporting on a societal ill. And one of the standards of a photojournalist is to just observe, and not get involved in the the scene that being photographed.
Bullshit. It amounted to about 5 pieces of trash picked up in a few seconds. The person was just a pompous ass.
  #25  
Old 09-10-2008, 07:05 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena View Post
The recent episode of Mad Men (a show set in the early 1960s) has a family having a picnic (episode discussion here). One of the great things about this show is that they hit you with societal norms that are very different than today - pregnant women smoking/drinking, men in the office being very sexual towards the female secretaries, etc. etc. In this particular episode, at the end of the picnic, the man stands up and throws his beer can off into the woods. The woman, while gathering up the picnic gear, takes the blanket they'd been sitting on and gives it a shake, leaving all the disposables (napkins, etc) on the ground in the park.
Well, I wouldn't depend on Mad Men to get anything right about the time period. They'll jettison any actual facts so the audience can feel smug and superior to life in the early 60s.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #26  
Old 09-10-2008, 07:07 PM
Athena is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: da UP, eh
Posts: 13,433
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Well, I wouldn't depend on Mad Men to get anything right about the time period. They'll jettison any actual facts so the audience can feel smug and superior to life in the early 60s.
I'd be interested in hearing the specifics of Mad Men that make you say this. So far, a lot of the stuff they portray rings true to me, based on Mr. Athena's memories of the time and from talks with my parents. Not everything, but a lot of it.

Heck, some of it from my own experience. Like Don Draper's daughter, I could make a mean Manhattan at about 8 years of age.

Last edited by Athena; 09-10-2008 at 07:08 PM.
  #27  
Old 09-11-2008, 11:12 AM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena View Post
I'd be interested in hearing the specifics of Mad Men that make you say this. So far, a lot of the stuff they portray rings true to me, based on Mr. Athena's memories of the time and from talks with my parents. Not everything, but a lot of it.
I stopped watching after one and a half episodes because they based their "clever revelation" in the first by dragging up an advertising slogan* that had been used for decades before the 1960s and acted as though this were a new and brilliant revelation. Sort of like having General Robert E. Lee leading the U.S. army at D-Day. They want to play without a net; that's just sloppy writing. A good writer would have used an actual 1960s slogan to make the point.

The second episode was chock full of similar issues, as well as exaggerating life of the time to the point of parody. The producers' idea research seemed to be to watch How to Suceed in Business Without Really Trying and assume it was a documentary.

All else I've seen has shown the same thing. The producers brag that they're not really talking about the 60s; they're talking about the present day, and thus deliberately portray everything to show how silly the people were back in those days and how much superior we are now.

Even this discription of the littering scene confirms this: People didn't just leave garbage behind. Most were trained to pick after themselves. People littered, but not all that much more than they do today. The anti-littering campaigns were enforcing norms that already existed, not creating new ones.

*"It's toasted!" was first used by Lucky Strike in 1917.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #28  
Old 09-10-2008, 11:06 PM
stuyguy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,475
There was an article about the creator/writer of Mad Men in the NY Times Sunday Magazine a few months ago. It stressed -- using examples -- how much of an obsessive stickler he is over getting the period facts right. You can be sure that if MM describes a fatal plane crash at LaGuardia Airport taking place on such and such a date, that's when the crash took place.

That said, I actually think they got the picnic scene wrong. Not because no one would leave a pile of picnic trash at a park in 1962 (?), but because a family that so fiercely clung to its identity as members of the affluent, suburban, white country club set, like the Drapers, would not do so. I think they would have thought it too messy and lowbrow -- something that poor people who were not raised with good manners did. Sure, Don might toss that beer can into the weeds -- boys will be boys -- but mom would make sure that the kiddies tidied up the picnic area before they left, like she makes sure they clean up their toys before bed every night.

Just because littering was common and not publicly stigmatized until the late '60s, doesnt mean it was practiced by the entire population. After all, I'm pretty sure that there were anti-littering laws back then, even if they were not strictly enforced or carried a heavy fine, so the practice had to have been frowned upon in certain, probably somewhat upper-crusty, circles.
  #29  
Old 09-11-2008, 09:21 AM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 35,589
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuyguy View Post
so the practice had to have been frowned upon in certain, probably somewhat upper-crusty, circles.
It seems to me that you're stereotyping in a manner that isn't really relevant to the creation of characters as specific individuals. I'd actually dispute the stereotype of (1) it being unrealistic for specific individuals in upper-crusty circles throwing trash around and (2) the Drapers actually being "upper crusty," but taking your assumption as given, the important character point of this scene is that the Drapers are the type of people who throw trash around.
  #30  
Old 09-11-2008, 06:58 PM
stuyguy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,475
Quote:
Originally Posted by acsenray View Post
It seems to me that you're stereotyping in a manner that isn't really relevant to the creation of characters as specific individuals. I'd actually dispute the stereotype of (1) it being unrealistic for specific individuals in upper-crusty circles throwing trash around and (2) the Drapers actually being "upper crusty," but taking your assumption as given, the important character point of this scene is that the Drapers are the type of people who throw trash around.
Look, when you are creating fictional characters, of course you are entitled to make them do whatever you wish. Given that, yes, you could say that the whole point was to show that the Drapers are the sort who leave piles of trash behind. But I still don't buy it. We have seen repeatedly that Don's wife is extremely into appearances and propriety. She could belch or swear or dress tacky, but she does not. She tries to be very ladylike all the time.

The real point the producers were making, IMO, was that everybody littered like crazy back then and nobody thought it was inappropriate -- just like they obviously contend that everybody smoked, drank and denegrated women and nobody thought it was inappropriate. But I don't think they are right with the littering. I think that better-bred affluent folks like Don's wife did not litter, even if only to keep up appearances. Now, you could make an argument that Don was not quite as refined, and he would leave the trash behind; that I could buy. Or better yet, Don and his wife could argue over it a little; that makes even more sense. But Don's wife just walking away from that huge circle of trash without batting an eye? No way.
  #31  
Old 04-24-2013, 03:07 PM
shaffer17 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1

Memory of my parents littering in 1980's


I originally found my way to this thread after hearing a Fresh Air interview with the author David Sedaris, which was talking about how English people still throw garbage out their car windows. It was completely shocking to me and I had to google it to find out if it was true. I found nothing about it on the first try but I did find this thread. This is a memory from my childhood that has kind of haunted me for years. It almost seems unreal like I've made it up but I clearly remember my parents throwing our fast food wrappers and bags out the window of the car when we were finished grubbing down the nasty crap. And the clearest memory takes place right on our own road that we lived on, less than a mile from our house! I was ten at the time that we moved there, so that mean's that it took place sometime around 1986! It's just incredible to me that my parents would do this and not to mention right in front of their children. It just doesn't even compute in my mind how this was acceptable to them. And we were a middle class family living in Dayton Ohio by the way. I just can't imagine why people would want their own streets and ditches to be lined with trash, it's insane. So to answer the question of the thread, YES THIS WAS VERY REALISTIC! If my middle class parents, and Chiropractor father no less, was just tossing Mickey D's bags out the car window in 1986 then YES a mother of the 1960's could have certainly dumped her picnic trash on park grounds while her husband tossed his cheap beer can in the woods. We really ARE one step away from apes still.
  #32  
Old 04-24-2013, 03:21 PM
Procrustus is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Pacific NW. ¥
Posts: 12,039
My father used to take us fishing in the 60s. He was an educated, well meaning, and lover of the Earth (One of my main chores was to make sure to pick up all the litter at the end of our driveway). Despite this, while fishing he would sink his empty beer cans in the lake. In his defense, they were steal, not aluminum, so he was right to say they would rust away relatively soon and harmlessly. But still.
  #33  
Old 04-24-2013, 03:33 PM
TriPolar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 40,368
The Keep America Beautiful campaign started in the 60s. Plenty of people were just dumping trash. This predates the more serious environmental movement though, it was originally about the way things look, not the effect on the environment. That would come along shortly. The Crying Indian commercial was a big step in that direction merging the concepts of littering and pollution. Someone mentioned Silent Running in another thread, this is considered by some to be the first film focused on environmental issues. That was in 1972. The first Earth Day was only 1970, attitudes were just beginning to change.
  #34  
Old 04-24-2013, 04:53 PM
Johanna's Avatar
Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 13,306
In the '60s, my parents took us kids out in the car a lot, and we snarfed tons of fast food, and they always taught us not to litter. They set a good example. Then when the anti-littering announcements started being shown on TV, it showed people tossing entire bags of garbage out the car window onto the highway. It was hard for me to believe that anyone was really so crummy and lowlife. I never saw such depredations personally and it was disturbing and disgusting to learn via TV that I shared a nation with such filthy crum-bums.
  #35  
Old 04-24-2013, 06:08 PM
aceplace57 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 25,668
No littering in my family. My dad was really strict about that. He wouldn't even flick a cigarette butt out the window.

I remember seeing car ashtrays emptied on mall parking lots. It always disgusted me. It's been years since I saw anything like that. Now I see crack pipes on the ground.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-24-2013 at 06:09 PM.
  #36  
Old 04-24-2013, 06:33 PM
BrotherCadfael is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 10,217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tastes of Chocolate View Post
Watch it honey, that's my neck your describing!

From what I've seen in other very rural areas, dumping your garbage over behind the hill wasn't all that uncommon in other places either.
"[O]ff the side of the side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we decided to throw ours down."
  #37  
Old 04-24-2013, 08:50 PM
AuntiePam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,119
I just rewatched Fort Apache today. John Wayne's character threw a whisky bottle into the Grand Canyon. I was shocked.
  #38  
Old 04-24-2013, 08:56 PM
Cartooniverse is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Betwixt My Ears
Posts: 12,507
Born in 1962. We simply didn't litter. Huge no-no. Apple cores out the windows? Only exception....
  #39  
Old 04-24-2013, 09:23 PM
madmonk28 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 12,189
It wasn't uncommon to see people throwing trash out the window in the early 70s. It started to become taboo as the decade wore on.
  #40  
Old 04-24-2013, 09:57 PM
Qwakkeddup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Iowa
Posts: 634
That Tennessee Trash video was kind of interesting. There have been many occasions, mainly from one place that I lived where I witnessed people who pulled over to the curb and proceeded to clean out their car. Usually nice dressed older people in a nice car. A couple of them dumping right in front of someone walking down the sidewalk, and once in particular in front of me. Just tossed it off into my yard. Jerks.
  #41  
Old 04-24-2013, 11:44 PM
RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 41,244
There was far more litter in the past. It was definitely something that changed in the 70s.

That said, it's also a regional thing. Or even a national thing; on my first visit to the UK in 2000, I was shocked and grossed out by how much litter London has. People just drop stuff without a second thought.
  #42  
Old 04-25-2013, 01:28 AM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 14,840
Earth Day littering commentary, 1970 or 1971 or so.

We have met the enemy and He is US.

(Scroll down to see the pics.)
  #43  
Old 04-25-2013, 12:32 PM
madmonk28 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 12,189
As mentioned, it wasn't uncommon to see people cleaning their cars by just tossing the stuff out onto the street and people though nothing of emptying their cars' ashtrays out onto the ground.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:02 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017