Things done in the past that are scandalous now

In response to this thread, I thought I would start a discussion of how things have changed in many areas.
Example. Until the 80’s or so, anyone with change could buy cigerettes from a vending machine. ( You can stll buy them from these machines in Germany. They were particularly prolific at the exit of every amusement park ride at a park we went too. Our children, 4 and 6, were scandalized.)

When one of my Great Uncles was born, he was a sickly baby and my G.Grandma made a deal with God. Let him live and he will be a priest. This Great Uncle never questioned this at all and went on to become a priest. ( Good thing too, had a genius level IQ and discovered when he went into the seminary that he had Flashman’s Gift of languages. Ended up being fluent in something like 14. He would have been stymied in the small canadian farm town he was raised in.) But when I was told this by my mom, my jaw dropped to the floor.

Cars with out seat belts. (As my friends dad put this, That was back before we had safety.)

um…what’s so jaw-droppingly scandalous about becoming a priest? Lots of people raise their kids with encouragement to become a lawyer, a doctor, an army officer, etc.

Well, telling your son that you bargained for his life with God and the outcome was that he was supposed to become a priest is pretty heavy “encouragement.” It is somewhat mitigated by the fact that it was generations ago.

you still sometimes see cigarette vending machines in bars. Everyone there is atleast 3 years over the legal age of buying cigarettes.

I remember my dad giving me change to go buy his cigarettes from vending machines when I was little. Nowadays, I’d be taken away from him by CPS. So… yeah scandalous.

or riding in the back of a pickup truck, while sitting up on the rails of the bed! or riding a bike without people spazzing out about a helmet.

There are certain words which were considered acceptable in the past which tend to get scandalised reactions now.

Yes, I’m thinking of the “N” word.

Though it’s still a common enough song that most of my native Spanish speaking friends know it, El Africano by Wilfrido Vargas still is a little shocking to me. I like the tune to it, but the words and double entendres really get to me, especially when paired with a lot of the visuals that often come along with Latin American variety shows of the past:

Seriously, blackface and the most stereotypical “Africano” that they can find to play along with the song?

The stereotypes behind the song and its inherent popularity over generations of Latin Americans is part of what shocks me. I’m almost 27 and the song has resurfaced again as a reference in a popular dance song; last time it was made popular in a similar way was in 1991, when the original Wilfrido Vargas tune resurfaced alongside it as a popular song on the radio in South Florida.

If you think that’s bad, look at the old minstrel shows…

They thankfully died by the early 20th century for the most part, so there’s not many recorded examples. Here’s a performance from the 50s, though:

Boggles the mind.

Not only seat belts – there were no infant safety seats. Babies would often ride on their mother’s lap.

It was pretty normal for two men to share the same bed in the 19th century. Even by the 20th, it was often a matter of necessity and had nothing to do with sex. Children also shared the same bed.

Of course, people smoked everywhere. When I was in college, they use to have ashtrays made of aluminum foil and paper in every classroom, so students could smoke in class.

People drank legally at age 18, and if you got caught DWI there were usually no consequences (unless someone got killed, and even then, the driver would often get off).

Also, a man who hit his wife was often let off with just a warning (if even that), as the cops and courts too frequently viewed this as a family matter, and didnt want to get involved.

Used to be fairly common for a 15 year old girl (and sometimes younger) to get married and have kids. Didn’t Loretta Lynn get married at 13?

I showed the kids the original ‘The Shaggy Dog’ movie a few weeks ago. There’s a scene early on where the father is angry at his kids for not cleaning the garage or somesuch and in one line he says something like…

“You boys take all those old chemicals and bury them in the backyard!”


To expand on RealityChuck’s comment on ashtrays, makers of china and stoneware even into the 1960s would automatically make ashtrays in the pattern along with gravy boats, soup tureens and other extras.
We had some in the Franciscan Desert Rose pattern.

Spanking a child in public was a rarity but non unheard of even as recently as my childhood in the mid-80s. Nowadays…not so much.

Pretty much anything said in this thread. I saw an advertisement made back in the 50’s where it showed a bunch of baby carriages left outside the store while the mothers were inside shopping. CPS would be called if anyone tried that today.

Used to be that children would be sent to the store to pick up cigarettes or liquor for their parents. No way in hell would that be seen now.

Also, nudity in American movies used to be the norm, even in PG-13-rated ones. Since the 90’s, Hollywood has cut down on it quite a bit to make movies more family-friendly with the intent of drawing a larger audience age span. Seeing full-frontal nudity in a mainstream theater movie now is a bit shocking.

Am I the only one who’s hoping for a peek at some alien bewbs in Avatar? Yes? Okay, nevermind. returns to the internet, waits for Rule 34 to kick in :o

And kids would make ashtrays out of clay as gifts for their parents. Parents would smoke around their kids and no one would mention “secondhand smoke.” Cigarettes were even advertised on television.

I guess if you define “the past” as a window of time between 1978 and 1984. That really puts the Young Earthers to shame.

I worked in a hospital that until the late 80s had a cigarette machine on the patient floor–we actually smoked at the nurse’s station.

Well, “the past” was never defined in the OP, so I was reading it as the previous generation or any generation before.