There has been talk in Britain recently about how Nick Clegg. (For those who don’t know who he is, he is the British Prime Minister’s lick spittle, or Deputy PM for his formal title) dismissed the 1950’s as old-fashioned or something and that now is better than then. There was much debate in the papers about which era is better. There was much nostalgia for the moral values of the old days which have deteriorated over the years into the largely morally bankrupt society we have now. I am going to have a quick examination of the detail and tell you why now is better than then.
The 50’s were pretty cool by all accounts. I missed them as I was yet to be born but I saw all the rock’ n ‘roll on the TV. Those were great simple times when you gathered around a radio in New Zealand as a family of an evening to listen to things being read out by men with high quality accents. The kids could walk the streets safely as you still had to go to church to be sexually assaulted rather than dragged off the street by a pervert. He was safely behind the pulpit, where one could see him. In the 50’s peanuts didn’t kill you unless you choked on them. Somehow they got some modern disease along the way and now you can die of touching one. Kids in the 50’s were respectful and paid attention in school where they learned really important and useful things like Latin, Algebra and Calculus taught by men who smoked a manly pipe.
We didn’t have the soft professional soccer people like you do now. I can’t imagine too many of todays footballers calling “on me head” when what was about to arrive on their head was a 20 pound ball of concrete disguised as a wet leather football. In those days the laces of the ball left an imprint on your skull for half the following week. They would probably just not play at all as it would be too much like hard work.
In the 50’s we didn’t have an internet so you had to go to friends places to ask them things you didn’t know the answer to that you couldn’t ask your parents. They wouldn’t know it either but at least you had some companionship in your ignorance.
We drove about in enormous cars that burst into flames when you crashed them which was great as it negated all the protracted conversations with the insurance people over whether the car is written off or not. The fact that your family had fried in an inferno of molten metal also meant less cluttering up of hospital beds for months on end while they were screwed and pasted back together by ill-tempered over worked medical professionals as happens now.
Now we have the internet which was great when it first came along as you could relax while you spent hours watching a poorly designed web page load on an ancient PC. Remember dial-up? Isnt it incredible how fast we are moving now? There are kids starting High School who have never known the joys of dial-up internet. I believe there are volcanic islands in the pacific that have risen from the ocean more quickly than a web page loaded on dial-up.
The internet was all well and good before social media turned up, but social media is what the internet is for. It used to be for pornography but now its all about the soap box. Social media is a modern version of the old-fashioned soap box and I love it.
In the 50’s if you had a point of view, or a speciality, a talent or a gift for writing, you could only share it with your immediate circle unless you were very pretty in which case other people might pay attention as well.
In the 50’s if you wrote, you had to get books published and then sold in book shops. This was the case until quite recently. Imagine how depressing it is being a moderately talented book writer. You slave and agonise, you create and graft to bring out a book you hope will catch the imagination and sell a few copies. Then you walk into a book shop and are confronted with hundreds, nay, thousands of authors who write better and sell more than you. It’s a physical reminder that you are average or less.
Now you can blog in the internet. You/I can write rubbish to our hearts content and put a counting thing on to see how many people don’t care about what you write. While this is tough for people who are only any good at one thing, i.e writing, as if no-one is interested in what you write it renders your existence pointless, It’s ok for me though as luckily I’m also good at gift selection.
With social media you can then take your pointless blog musings on any given topic and aim it via Twitter, for example, at people who might be interested based on their preferred hashtag topics. How can the 50’s compete with that? I have on Twitter some people who follow my every tweet. Well sort of as the twit screen moves so quickly my opinions move down the screen in seconds and are gone in a flash missed by most. Once in a while you get your validation as you get a thumbs up on Facebook or a retweet. Sometimes someone from Twitter might click on your link out of curiosity if your 140 character or less invitation to view your worthless opinion catches their eye.
So I think now is easier, as in the 50’s you had to let someone know personally you were not interested in their opinion by walking off as they spoke to you and that’s just rude. There is the small issue of all the millions of fantastic gadgets we have now but the best bit is that you don’t have to disrespect people to their face anymore. People take a dim or even suicidal view of finding out their views are pointless to those standing nearby. Now you can just not retweet, not give a Facebook thumbs up or even if you feel strongly enough, write negative reviews in the comment threads of their blog.
Imagine the propaganda posters of the wars of the future?
Credit to http://www.etsy.com for poster