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Old 09-11-2008, 11:12 AM
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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."
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:16 AM
Cisco is offline
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Originally Posted by Finagle View Post
Glass bottles are not biodegradable. I have a friend who lives in an old house where the inhabitants apparently used the back hill as a dumping ground. As a result, you can't walk out there without scuffing up broken glass from 50-100 years ago.
Shrug, I read a book about the topic recently and it made a pretty compelling argument about littering before and after the invention of plastic. I think glass bottles were reused a lot back then.
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
I am 35 and still have never realized that to this day. I am pretty sure that you are supposed to leave your trash on the floor of a movie theater. It is possible to throw away your own trash but the trash cans are usually in odd and inconvenient locations which leads me and almost everyone I know to just leave it where it is. I never see lines of people leaving the theater mostly with their own trash ready to be disposed of.
Who knew "on the way out of the auditorium" could be rationalized as an "odd and inconvenient location"? And yes, every movie I've ever been to in my life has had the "please dispose of waste in receptacles" announcement along with don't talk, get rid of crying babies, tell us if it's too cold, etc.
Old 09-11-2008, 06:58 PM
stuyguy is offline
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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.
Old 09-11-2008, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by pseudotriton ruber ruber View Post
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.
Sounds to me like he wanted you to figure out what to do with biodegradable trash. Thus the word "think".

If anybody littered in my hometown in the 60's it was immediately picked up. I was taught from day one not to litter. The street we lived on was spotless and I mean down to the cigarette butt. College in the 70's was a different story. What a bunch of spoiled brats. It seems to get worse as the college size increases.
Old 09-11-2008, 08:30 PM
mks57 is offline
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Local Culture

I think a lot of it depended on the local culture. I'm used to people in big cities acting like slobs and littering without much thought. When I visited the small city in Wisconsin where my grandmother lived, it was another world. No litter, and the streets looked like they were scrubbed every night. Any tendencies I may have had towards littering were cured by a stint in the Army. Part of the daily routine was a group activity to search our assigned area for any litter and to dispose of it properly.
Old 04-24-2013, 03:07 PM
shaffer17 is offline
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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.
Old 04-24-2013, 03:21 PM
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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.
Old 04-24-2013, 03:33 PM
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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.
Old 04-24-2013, 04:53 PM
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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.
Old 04-24-2013, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoke View Post
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.
I remember that Crying Indian ad, but that Tennessee Trash ad is awesome. Wish we'd had that one in Detroit. (Yes, I know the post is from five years ago.)
Old 04-24-2013, 06:08 PM
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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.
Old 04-24-2013, 06:33 PM
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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."
Old 04-24-2013, 08:50 PM
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I just rewatched Fort Apache today. John Wayne's character threw a whisky bottle into the Grand Canyon. I was shocked.
Old 04-24-2013, 08:56 PM
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Born in 1962. We simply didn't litter. Huge no-no. Apple cores out the windows? Only exception....
Old 04-24-2013, 09:23 PM
madmonk28 is offline
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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.
Old 04-24-2013, 09:57 PM
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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.
Old 04-24-2013, 11:44 PM
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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.
Old 04-25-2013, 01:28 AM
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Earth Day littering commentary, 1970 or 1971 or so.

We have met the enemy and He is US.

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Old 04-25-2013, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
What, your theatres aren't running the "please dispose of all waste in the designated receptacles" announcement along with the "turn off your cellphones" and "don't talk" announcements? Ours have been for years.
I know this is a zombie thread, but neither of the cinemas I go to regularly have these, or convenient bins. One sometimes, but not always, has a staff member with a binbag at the exit.

They also don't have "don't talk" adverts, for what that's worth.
Old 04-25-2013, 11:26 AM
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World population has more than doubled since 1960, so there could be both a decline in the rate at which each person litters and an increase in the net amount of trash we see at the same time.

Also, smoking is down, and most of the people I see who are smokers have a much more relaxed attitude toward dropping unwanted things on the ground (everything, not just butts).

That said, I live in a planned, environmentally conscious community in one of the wealthiest and best-educated counties in America, with a community association aggressive about policing up trash. Absolutely optimal conditions for the minimum amount of litter.

...and there is always trash visible in every square yard of woods, bushes, and treelines, and a fair amount rolling/blowing around openly in streets and gutters.

Last edited by Sailboat; 04-25-2013 at 11:26 AM.
Old 04-25-2013, 12:32 PM
madmonk28 is offline
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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.


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