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Sunday 31 January 2016

It Was Better When...

We've all seen those posts on Facebook about how much better it was back in the 90s/80s/70s/dark ages.

Does that annoy anyone else?

I mean, there's the airbrushing, for a start. It's pure confirmation bias - the tendency to overlook evidence or arguments that counter the point one makes.

Take for example this whole fad of "Like this if you (did things that kids in the eighties tended to do) AND YOU TURNED OUT OKAY!".

1) Are we implying that people aren't turning out okay today? Like, specifically because they didn't watch Thundercats or whatever? Can we seriously make that claim without producing evidence?

2) There's some folks who did all the little things, played football with jumpers for goalposts, didn't have mobile phones, et cetera, that DIDN'T turn out okay. They just didn't. Coming home when the streetlights go out and riding a three-speed bike with clickers on the spokes doesn't mystically protect you from the traumas of life.

Yes, there are stresses in modern life, and there are things that we can claim to be signs of moral degenration or collapse of the fabric of society. Spoilers: these things have existed for a long time in different stages.

Has anyone else seen the photographs of people on the bus today with their phones, and the contrasting picture of folks in the 50s all staring at newspapers?

People are people are people. People have always BEEN people. We have different means of communicating and exhanging ideas, of partaking in media and sharing things with each other. We're still people. Some of us are assholes. Some of us do things that others think of as rude which aren't, on reflection, all that bad. Such has been true since the stone age.

"People these days" has been a sentence uttered in every decade. People feel less safe year on year, despite the fact that crime has generally been on the descent for decades. The insecurities are continuous. Our generation were better than this new one, of course. The last one were too old, but our one is fine. Et cetera, ad nauseum.

I ignore the posts about how good the past was, usually. I just put them behind me. It's not worth the fight; besides, we have bigger things to worry about.

Just think though. Each time one of those posts come up, it's not a genuine study of how good things used to be. It's a despair at how things are now; and it's easier to look back through rose glasses and sigh, than actually change things.

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