The 'Bad' "Good Old" Days

I have one of the mothers who constantly go on about how spoiled the younger generation is. She will tell me how hard they had it in her time. No air conditioning, smoking everywhere, one bathroom, walking to school, learning the new math, and so forth

Then I say, “are these the same times you describe as the good old days.” And she’ll say, “Well they were.”

Do you have relatives that can switch to the old days from being times of horror to the good old days in the blink of an eye?

And speaking of which, what makes something so “tough” yet at the same time good.

It’s like me with vinyl records. I can’t see the point to them. Sure if you had no other options. And maybe if I could hear the difference, like people claim, but I don’t think I could gather any more affection for a vinyl than I could gather for an 8-Track

Nothing in this world is 100% unalloyed good or bad. It’s all pretty much a mixed bag, all the time, and being aware of the good doesn’t make you blind to the bad, nor vice versa. You’ve been on a carnival ride that scared the shit out of you and make you want to hurl, but you still wanted to ride it again because it was so exciting, right? And been on rides that were safe and comfortable, but you don’t care if you ever ride them again? Same thing.

The 1980s *were *a *much *better time–I was young and cute and thin.

Every era is both good and bad. My mother just turned 85, so she grew up during the Depression and WWII. She grew up in Chicago, and went to college at UCLA.

If you asked her, she’d tell you there was much that was tough and not fun about those days (her father left the family when she was young, and at one point during the war, her mother (my grandmother) worked in the Pullman train car factory). When her father emigrated to the US at the beginning of the 20th century, he worked in the steel mills in Gary in some of the worst jobs possible there).

On the other hand, she had family to rely on, and she was in Los Angeles during the 1940s, which was a pretty damned good time to be there. Lots of opportunity, and she and my father experienced the postwar boom of the 1950s.

Not all was Ozzie and Harriet, of course, but my parents had a much better and easier time than their parents.

The interesting thing about today’s youth is they’ll be saying the same thing in 30-60 years as today’s old fogies do. What they’ll be talking about will be different, but the way in which they talk about their own “good old days” as opposed to the kids of tomorrow won’t be.

You know, that put me in mind of this experience:

When I was a kid, I saw Bad News Bears – the one with Walter Matthau and that hottie Jackie Earle Haley (and Tatum O’Neal IIRC). Of course, a few years ago there was a Billy Bob Thornton version. (Tangent: How cool would the remake have been if Jackie Earl Haley had played the part of Mr. Buttermaker?) Anyway, naturally, I thought I should watch the remake for comparison. I had to go back and watch the Matthau version again shortly after that.

For the most part, the movies were the same. Same exact plot, only the 2005 version was softened up quite a bit. For example, there was far less bullying of the fat kid and girls being on the team was so not a big deal. In the 1976 version, everyone including the adults, were horribly cruel to the fat kid and there was this big gasp reveal when it turned out that Tatum O’Neal’s character was gasp a girl. Who could play ball. gasp

The part that made me gasp was near the end. Mr. Buttermaker, in both movies, had been in his grumpy way coaching without giving much of a shit and had sort of mentally turned the corner where he started actually caring if the kids won the game. One of the dorky kids made some error and, in the 2005 version, Buttermaker just yelled at him and the parents on the sidelines were quick to rush in and set his ass back a step. In the 1976 version, Buttermaker actually hit the kid, knocked him on his ass and the parents on the sidelines just stood there. They made it clear the 1976 Buttermaker had crossed the line by hitting the kid, but nobody said or did anything. There was another gasp silence, dirty looks were shot at Mr. Buttermaker and cut to the next scene. In the 1976 version, Buttermaker talks with the team later and sort of comes close to hinting at an apology for his behavior, but he doesn’t, really. In the 2005 version, Buttermaker makes a point of giving a nice, flowery apology and they all kiss and make up and go play their big championship game.

To me, the contrast between the two different versions of the same movie illustrate what you’re talking about. Because, while I was watching the 1976 version, I related to being a kid that age in that era (because I was a kid that age in that era). And I really enjoyed the trip down Memory Lane and just as I was getting all nostalgic for the “good old days,” I was sharply reminded how, in the 1970s, hitting kids was not the big deal it is today. In 2012, Buttermaker would have gone to jail and the parents of all the kids would have personally sued him for emotional distress and og knows what else, while they hustled their precious snowflakes into therapy for the PTSD (and everyone on the losing team gets consolation trophies). In 1976, Buttermaker got a couple dirty looks, everyone shrugged and moved on. Even though I am not a fan the nanny state helicopter-parent world we live in now, having grown up in an era where nobody batted an eye at child abuse, I have to call this progress. It is better for kids now than it was for kids in the 70s. At least when it comes to taking a beat down at Little League.

What an amazing coincidence-I was one of those, too!

I’m not going to disagree with your post Dogzilla (which is a nice compare/contrast between the two versions, by the way), except for one thing, which is very incidental:

I played in a recreational basketball league in about 1973, and we went 2-12. We were given participation trophies. I mention that only to make the point that consolation/participation trophies aren’t a new phenomenon.

Carry on.

Point taken. I did not participate in team sports as a kid (or as an adult), so I take your word for it.

I guess the idea is that material luxury is only part of what makes life “good”, and probably not the most important part. In fact, achieving material luxury can actually make other aspects of life worse. (Like, when you’re rich and famous, you never know who your real friends are.)

Also, when someone talks specifically about the “good old days”, they’re usually talking about their youth, and there are a number of obvious things about youth that tend to make it better than old age even if the standard of living wasn’t as good back then. Not to mention that nostalgia tends to give a rose-colored tint to those memories. (Hell, some of the adventures I most enjoy looking back on were things that were really not all that pleasant at the time.)

That’s exactly what makes it good for the tellers as well- they were young. If some injection that would make you seem 25 forever were invented your mother would be saying “screw that temporal outpost of Hell, full steam ahead!”

Now you just need to get by with witty and sophisticated. How you doin’?

The “greatest generation” was also the Jim Crow generation.

And strangely, it was also the generation that cast off Jim Crow.

I thought that was their children.

I have to give my parents credit, they were consistent on this score. Things were better in the old days, period. They never complained about how hard things were. On the contrary, things were easier because people were nicer and stuff was cheaper. (It helped that both of their fathers kept their jobs during the Great Depression.) And as for all this technology that makes things easier today, they never liked anything invented after 1950 and never much used any of it, anyway.

Have you ever seen the original Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)? It’s not quite the same as the one I remembered as a kid who grew up in the 80’s. My husband got the DVD one Christmas and we sat down to watch. When we got to the part where Rudolph is missing and Donner is getting ready to leave to go search for him. His wife and Clarice want to help, and Donner say, “No! This is mans work!”

My husband and I did a double take. Now, neither of us remember this line being there when we were children so it’s either been edited out or our memories are faulty (possible). It’s so deliciously misogynistic I can’t help but laugh anytime I watch it.

The release available now must be a remake, because I remember originally it was in black and white :slight_smile:

And what’s so difficult to understand? Everything was harder in the old days, and it was a much better time.

Now, people are spoiled, living inluxury.

Vinyl albums and even some vinyl singles had cover art, and sometimes some extra goodies. For instance, Sgt. Pepper had a sheet of cut out artwork, and I think it had some other goodies as well. Now, MOST albums didn’t have the extra goodies, but just the cover art on most albums was a great extra. And you just can’t get that level of art goodness on a smaller package, there’s not enough area.

Other than that, the later forms of recorded music were more durable.

Naw, the math doesn’t work. I doubt the people who voted for the 1965 Civil Rights Act in Congress and the Senate were born after WW2.

Boomers didn’t start taking positions of political power until the 80s, well after the CR movement was started.

I recall that the White Album had four 8x10 portraits of the Beatles, suitable for framing; that McCartney’s Wings over America had a full-size poster of the band; Elton John’s Captain Fantastic included two booklets, one with lyrics and one with reprints of news clippings and photos of Elton’s and Bernie’s history; and that Jim Steinman’s Bad for Good even included a 7" EP with the music he wanted to include in the album but that wouldn’t fit on the 12" LP.

As Lynn mentioned, most albums didn’t have such things, but for those that did, the extra goodies were real treats.