How do I find out what was happening 30+ years ago?

I’m debating someone on another board and he’s relying on the “good old days” argument, specifically that things were better 30+ years ago and we didn’t have as much crap spoonfed news as now (which may well be true). Is there a good site I could look for that would have some type of news archive I could get to for a news sample?

You local library probably has a link to the New York Times Archives, and the Times does have portions of their articles online. Same for Time magazine.

In the 1980s? When unemployment was 10% too? Or 11% in 1979. When Reagan was president and we were mass producing nuclear weapons for a potential war with the USSR? When Iran went theocractic? When the US was handing stinger missiles to Afghanis to shoot at Soviets with? When Iran and Iraq were at war and using mustard gas on each other? When Qaddafi was blowing up planes and we were bombing Libya? When Reagan casually invaded Grenada? When the War on Drugs accelerated? When Bhopal and Chernobyl happened? When Sadat and Gandhi were assassinated? When John Lennon was killed? Tiananmen Square Massacre? Mexican debt crisis? Rampant anti-Japanese sentiment in the US? AIDS? Pol Pot/Khmer Rouge in Cambodia?

Yeah, great times.

Idealization of the past is almost always a fallacy. You can cherry pick good things and cherry pick bad things.

More here:

I have a clear memory of standing in a supermarket cashier line in the fall of 1983, in the tense weeks following the shootdown of KAL 007. A little child at the next aisle over had been looking at the ominous headlines about THE RUSSIANS this and THE SOVIETS that. All of these mags implying that we were under direct threat of attack (although I suspect their publishers were actually motivated by direct threat of increased circulation figures and advertising revenue).

The poor child was clearly alarmed and kept saying “Mommy, look–the Russians…” The mommy spoke up loud and clear for everyone else around to hear: “No, dear, those magazines just print that stuff to scare people. That stuff just causes war! The Russians are people just like you and me, they have little kids and mommies, they go to the store and they eat their dinner just like you and me.” The child calmed down.

I was thinking Kudos to that sensible mommy!

Except, shortly after KAL 007 was shot down, we came very close to possibly getting into an accidental nuclear war.

You could ask me. Although I did drink a lot at that time.

There are too “what ifs” in the story for my tastes. I imagine false alarms over launches were more common than we know. The idea that his supervisors would have launched without any other verification is kinda banking on the myth of the “last good man in a rotten system.”

I grew up afraid of nuclear war, as did many people 35 and older. The fear of terrorism now isn’t the same, and IMO isn’t nearly as bad.

Fewer people are dying in car accidents now than were 30 years ago.

Crime, including violent crime, was more common 30 years ago than it is now.

Almost twice as many people were killed by drunk driving in the US in 1982 as were killed by drunk driving in 2008. One of the people killed around that time by a drunk driver was one of my friends in elementary school.

The Tylenol tampering incident happened in 1982. There was a copycat case a few years later.

Do libraries still have actual microfilm reels containing decades-old newspapers? If you can lay your hands on some, that’s probably going to be the least-filtered source.

I remember hearing how the Japanese were going to take over the US, in much the same way you hear that the Chinese are going to now.

AIDS was a pandemic, and getting HIV was a death sentence. Now, an HIV-positive person in a First World country may have a normal or nearly normal life expectancy.

This is truly shocking and horrifying, but…

do a Google Images search for “80’s hair” or “80’s clothes”.

I think that at least some libraries still have microfilm reels of old newspapers. If they not online, they will not get rid of them. A university library will be your best bet.

Thirty years ago, I was a lot healthier and the sex was better. That colors my view of the world. In some ways, the world was better. The US had not turned into a security-obsessed state. I think newspapers were in general better. There were no online blogs on either side of the spectrum. There were far fewer antibiotic-resistant bugs. On the other hand, there have been substantial improvements in health care. But it was a lot cheaper because they could do less.

When I was in HS in the early fifties, we had nuclear drills that involved getting on the floor under our desks and we really did not think a nuclear war could be avoided. Before the war (times I have no memory of), there were no antibiotics and people died of acute infection all the time. A classmate of mine caught polio and has been crippled ever since, although it didn’t prevent him from becoming conductor and director of the Oregon Symphony. You don’t see that any more. The “things were better in the good old days” mantra just doesn’t convince me. Too many things were worse.

No it wasn’t! Sex was yucky and gross thirty years ago. It didn’t get interesting until later in the 80’s (I was born in 1975).

I think this is so to a degree but a lot of it is simply that the news as well as advertising is more “in your face,” now than it was. There were a lot more rules regulating TV and Radio in regards to commericals and such, so the news was “harder.”

I’ve had this discussion with older people at a retirement center I volunteer at and I never can get a real answer. The older people say in the 30s and 40s Chicago was safer, but we never can really find out why? I ask them and they tell me it was just as easy to get guns then as now. Drugs and alcohol were just as bad. I found this a bit hard to believe, but they assure me, there were as many junkies back then as now, just the type of drugs were different.

I don’t really think the world was that much worse or better 30 years ago.

I found one interesting article in the Chicago Tribune from around the turn of the 20th Century where a bunch of white teenagers pushed a group of black teens out of windows killing a few and injuring the rest. So much for gun control huh?

It was better then.
People who are in their 60’s now were only in their 30’s!

My Dad (now in his 80s) was saying these are the good old days a long time before the Carly Simon song. He was a kid during the depression, had to leave school in the 8th grade to work to support his family, read or listened to news reports of roving gangs of criminals who robbed banks & murdered people, & was promptly drafted & sent to the Pacific when he turned 18. He thinks that every year since 1945 has been a piece of cake with a cherry on top. And I don’t blame him.