I call that progress.

I can’t stand old people’s trips down nostalgia lane when they get together. Yes, yes, things were different back then. It’s not that they’re talking about old times, it’s that they’re talking about it in front of you with implied condescension, as if to say “You poor young people who never got the chance to grow up with us. The good times are all gone…”

I caught a whiff of this over in MPSIMS in the “Things you remember, now consigned to the past…” thread. Can someone older than me point to some things that were BAD that are no longer around, if only to prove they exist?

Polio comes to mind. Lead paint’s right up there. Umm…thalidomide.

Bucky Covington’s "A Different World " pisses me off. I call those changes “progress”.

Sure, Kid. I think we just had more fun thinking of things we used to like.

Bad things from my youth:

Leaded gasoline.

Cigarette smoke every damn where.

Cars with no seat belts (I remember my Dad installing them in the Valiant; wearing a seat belt is about the only good habit I have).

The Great Depression
Korean War
terrible medical attention comparerd with today
ditto, dentistry
smokers ruled
no Internet :smiley:
outhouses (and Monkey Ward catalog for paper)
terrible schools and underpaid teachers
far fewer vaccines
difficulty in moving up the economic scale
poorly constructed houses
poor central heating (had to shovel coal into the furnace, if you even had one) or pot-bellied stoves for heat
racial discrimination and segration through the South

oh, could go on and on.

I’d NEVER go back! I can guarantee the “good old days” were not that good!

Polio’s still around, but many regions of the world have whipped it, thank goodness. Thalidomide isn’t being given to pregnant women any longer, but it is being “used for good” as treatments for other diseases.

Smallpox is gone! (OK, yes, there are samples in storage, but barring anything horrible happening, no one will suffer from that again.)

Oh, and a fond goodbye to those old rotary phones that you had to rent from the phone company. These days landlne (corded) phones are cheap, and you don’t hurt your finger dialing. Goodbye to party lines!

I don’t think that anyone in the other thread was saying that mimeograph machines and pens that produce pages that had to be blotted were better. They certainly weren’t. What going over things gone by does is make a connection with others who remember, and perhaps also make a connection with others who don’t remember by telling them about things that they don’t know about us.

I have my Dad’s sliderule. It was a significant investment when he bought it. The sliders are bamboo, and therefore self-lubricating for a lifetime. He’d have gotten a cheap one for himself, because he only needed it for one certification class. But he paid the extra and showed it to us kids and told us that he had gotten a good one so that we could take it to college when we went.

He had only graduated from high school. We were going to college. Of course, in my freshman year at college, hand-held calculators came out. For $299 - add, subtract, multiply, divide. Maybe square roots and trig functiions, but maybe not. I didn’t get one that year. The professors wouldn’t let us use them in class.

So I still have my Dad’s sliderule. But it’s not because I think it’s better, or because I think that kids would be better off using them. It’s the personal connection, the history.

Oh, and I’m glad I don’t have to use an iron that has to be heated on the stove to press clothes that are not perma-press. I don’t want to hang clothes out to dry. I don’t want to wash them with a wash board and pail and wring them out or run them through a mangle. I just don’t.

KlondikeGeoff already mentioned the time before toilet paper. That was truly the dark ages. Back when water came from the stream or from the pump outside.

I think this might be what the OP is talking about.

Actually, even though most of us don’t go around whistling like we should during these golden ages, this OP applies to damned near everything: Infant mortality, the environment overall (yes, the environment was brutalized much more in living memory than it is today), education, distinct lack of threat of nuclear death at any moment, IQ and all other standardized test scores, overall health, teenage pregnancy rates, drug use rates, tobacco use rates, the economy, diversity of consumer products, and conviences just to name a few.

For you youngsters, the 1960’s - the early 1980’s had some bad nasties hidden around every corner and today’s era is about as cake as it gets in world history so appreciate it while it lasts.

They let kids play with mercury for science class. You made barometers with it, or rolled it around, and watch it form together into a new blob.

The heating systems of buildings had loose asbestos wrapped around them., The fibers float into your lungs, and destroy them.

We had fewer vaccines and they were still figuring out the best ways it worked. They used air injectors for mass immunizations in the public buildings like school gyms. They now know that it can infect people with stuff like hepatitis.

Most men died when they had a heart attack. My dad’s relatives seemed to die a bit after forty.

Cancer treatment was massive doses of radiation, that many people didn’t live through. Now they spot treat the cancer cells only and the patients can function close to normal.

I like the workmanship of electronics made in the distant past, but the functions of electronics today, are what I wanted as a kid. Talking computer’s and electronic data bases accessed at home. I wanted to record television shows as a kid, but that didn’t hit consumer homes for 15 years.

We had to watch Star Trek every year for a decade after school. The same few shows.

We had DDT in the enviroment making egg shells thin, so the eggs broke when birds nested. Birds that ate meat were affect worse.

I agree KlondikeGeoff. I believe you are one of our senior members aren’t you? My grandparents in their 80’s say the same thing as any rational person would. I was born in 1973 and I even got to see some of the bad years. Inflation was out of control, everything was unstable, design was to vomit for, and we were going to be either nuked by the Russians or bought by the Japanese. We were told on an almost daily basis how much we sucked and it wasn’t going to get any better.

Yet, somehow, almost all of it did. The thing that irritates me these days is the lack of positive messages coming out of the media and even everyday people when it comes to the overall health of our society. I know people don’t like Bush but that is trivial especially when placed in proper historical context. I am happy to be living today even based on what I know at age 34 and I know that sentiment is even stronger for older people. Anytime anyone gives a “Good Old Days Speech”, I have my :dubious: meter set to the highest sensitivity level and hardly anything passes as a reasonable argument. Even crime is way down since I was a kid and a teenager but good luck getting anyone to admit those types of things.

Some day, you will experience nostalgia too. It’s not that bad.

Learn from them. Much of today depends on others. Specialists. It seems to me that many can’t take care of themselves for simple projects.

I, at a mean old man age of 47 years old do remember when things where different. Not always better. But different. I knew everything when I was 18. Or so I thought.

But damn if I did not learn between 15yo and today.

When you are 40, you may reflect on the iPhone and how antiquated it is.

Take pictures. Lots of them.

The thing that pisses me off is that kids today (even my young kids) will be probably be taught that we are living in a world of unprecedented problems and that drastic action must be taken. In fact, the mid 1990’s - today are probably the best years in world history for the vast majority of the world population to live, especially in 1st world nations. I have no idea what the future will bring but I wish that someone would put some perspective and positive spin on the way we are because it is well deserved.

One of the good things about living in the modern First World is that diarrhea is no longer a severe problem. Think about that: We’ve relegated diarrhea to a minor inconvenience. Every time I think about progress, that comes to mind.

The 20th Century was the century humans learned to read. Prior to the 20th, massive illiteracy of the kind people today would scream to high heavens about was expected. Now, McDonald’s can expect its employees and customers can read instructions.

A few years ago Public TV (in the US) did a series where they took middle-class families out of surburbia and set them up as 19th century homesteaders in the US West. Just the technology of that era. After a year all the families enjoyed the experience- especially the experience of coming home to suburbia. One comment that really stuck with me is one woman who said she dealt with all the household chores pretty well- though it was a lot of work and a full-time job, except for laundry. Central heating, gas ranges, A/C, all were nice but a clothes washing machine is a gift from God. That was the one item that she missed the most. I strongly doubt any of the old-timers would fondly remember laundry day at the turn of the previous century.

Not really. The disease that can be caused by moderate exposure to asbestos is mesothelioma. This is a form of cancer that can affect the pleura, but does not destroy the lungs.