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Is the world that much different than when you were young?

By phlux in Culture
Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 06:11:45 AM EST
Tags: Focus On... (all tags)
Focus On...

Or are you just older and (hopefully) wiser and are just getting to see things through a different set of eyes?

Now that we seem to be on the brink of a massive war, we are hearing talks about nukes, warnings of biological and chemical attacks and terrorist threat levels. These are things that don't seem to fit in to well with what my vision of the world was when I was young.

I know that things change, as you get older. Your opinions change, your perspective on relationships, life, money, and work - everything changes in you over time.

So what I am wondering is - has the world been filled with so much doom and gloom, death and despair, apocalyptic end-game madness the whole time - but I am just now really noticing it because I am older and not just focused on what I am going to do tonight or this weekend?

What is the perception of the current state of things on a wider scale? What do you readers perceive to be the real status of the world right now.

Are you worried about the future? Have your goals for the future changed recently?

I know that I am no longer interested in a long career, or trying to push technology and develop new products and companies, but rather I have shifted away from that and just would rather have a quiet life in a semi-remote location. Preferably some place tropical where I can have raise kids and pursue some hobbies.

It sounds strange to think that I have lost my passion in IT and technical fields - but based on the current environment I would rather spend my time on my family and me than spending massive amounts of time working for any company at all.

How do you all feel about your lives and goals at this point? What has changed with you, how and why?

I know that there has certainly been a fair amount of dangers and badness in the world for the last, forever or so, but it just seems that we as a race are really pushing hard for things to come to full scale war again.


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Is the world that much different than when you were young? | 135 comments (111 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
+1 Interesting discussion subject (n/t) (2.50 / 4) (#1)
by segonds on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 03:35:47 PM EST

Changed? (3.75 / 4) (#4)
by krek on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 03:42:38 PM EST

No, not really.

It is the same people pulling the same bullshit in order to achaive the same ends. The only difference is that the stakes are getting higher and higher every day.

stakes haven't changed (none / 0) (#5)
by khallow on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 03:47:18 PM EST

Nah, even the stakes are the same. You just understand better with each day what the stakes really are.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Stakes are lower (none / 0) (#20)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 05:32:16 PM EST

We're no longer considering the destruction of the entire world.

"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

says you (none / 0) (#58)
by khallow on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 12:52:08 AM EST

We're no longer considering the destruction of the entire world.

Just because we're not considering it any more doesn't mean it isn't a real possibility. It wouldn't take that much get back where we were or worse.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

I seem to recall (none / 0) (#88)
by losthalo on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 12:17:41 AM EST

In the mid-80's, I was growing up worrying about LOTS of nuclear missiles which we knew did in fact work (the Soviets tested them as often as we did) pointed in the direction of my country, most probably a few at least pointed at my particular state.

Some pissants with some "chemical weapons" and no real delivery vehicle, some "biological weapons" and no delivery vehicle, and NO (I repeat: NO) nuclear weapons don't scare me nearly as much. I remember articles in Discover about nuclear winter. I remember the huge four-page spread on the SDI "Star Wars" missile defense system that we're still trying to make do something... illustrations of huge excimer laser startions, and particle cannons hanging in orbit...

The only reason we're worrying about Anthrax, etc. is because someone here (who we haven't caught, strangely enough... anyone still looking for the Anthrax Killer?) released biological agents into the mail.

The stakes have been sooo much higher. And before my generation, there was the Cuban Missile Crisis, where it was lucky that one side finally blinked.

Interestingly, the threats to our rights as voting members of a repiblic, our rights as citizens of a sovereign nation built on a social contract, and our rights as human beings, are under the same threat as they were under the Nixon Administration...

I suppose you're right, the stakes are getting higher as time goes by. Nixon didn't get away with half the crap Bush is ramming up our alimentary canals these days..

(Losthalo) "Hoover, God doesn't care if you say 'motherfucker'." (Featherstone)

[ Parent ]
What a joke. (5.00 / 17) (#6)
by sonovel on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 03:47:43 PM EST

When I was growing up, I had a grade school teacher tell my class that she was sure that the U.S. and U.S.S.R. where going to have a nuclear war within 5 years.

People slightly older than me had to face a draft and perhaps fight in a war that killed 50,000 U.S. soldiers and many many more Vietnamese. In Cambodia they committed autogenocide.

Before that the U.S. and U.S.S.R. nearly got into a nuclear war over a piddling tropical island.

My father was in the Navy during the Korean War. The echoes of that conflict still have a massive impact on the world today.

A handful of years before that, the world saw its bloodiest conflict ever. It was a worldwide battle that ended with nuclear fire.

A generation before that, millions in Europe lost their lives because of a pointless alliance because old generals didn't realize that mass charges were no longer effective.

Add tens of millions murdered in the Soviet Union. And more in China.

And you think the world was less dangerous a few years ago?

The chances of a civilization ending nuclear war is far far less than it was 20 years ago. Europe is unlikely to have another period of bloody crisis. The Soviet Union is no more, and China has even mellowed a bit. The world isn't really peaceful, but it looks like the death toll of most conflicts is actually down over the last half decade.

As a child in the 60s ... (5.00 / 4) (#9)
by pyramid termite on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 04:22:50 PM EST

... I heard and felt many of the same things. I remember the Cuban Missle Crisis vaguely - I was 5 at the time and remember my father trying to figure out what would be the best way to arrange ping pong tables in the basement for a fall out shelter. I remember the daisy ad in 1964. I remember the general feeling of my peers that we would live to see a World War 3 between the US and Russia. I remember how placid, tranquil American suburban life in the small Midwestern city I grew up in gradually turned fractious, divided and then confused and bitter as the shocks kept coming - Vietnam, riots, assassinations, protests, and then finally, the oil shock, Watergate and the factories in our area tumbling down one after one like dominoes. All this happened between 65-75.

So, yes, the world is a difference place nowadays. And before people accuse me of nostalgia for Eisenhower/Kennedy America, I honestly feel these are more interesting and more hopeful times to live in than the ones I grew up in. The danger level is around the same, but the innovativeness and willingness to change things are much greater.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
KKK (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by adiffer on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 06:06:58 PM EST

Don't forget that the guys in the pointy white hats made of sheets are more likely to get beaten up by black people today than the other way around.  Lots of white people help out on the verbal attack side too.  Lynching is WAY down.

I heard a bit on NPR yesterday about a hate group moving to a small town in Wyoming.  Their representative used the term 'mud races' and I wanted to reach through the radio and beat the crap out of him.  I can't object to his use of his right to free speech, but I do object to him trying to cast us backwards a few decades and undo the cultural progress we have made through great pain for the many involved.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]

Oh, and don't forget... (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by minusp on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 03:29:11 PM EST

Air Raid Drills.

Sitting in grade school, siren goes off. Everybody under your desk! Don't look out the windows! Cover your head! Go directly to the Fallout Shelter! Get ready to eat canned food until the All Clear! Oh, by the way, you'll probably never see your parents again!

Emergency! Emergency! Everyone to get from streets!

A few years of that will really put a workin' on the young mind, I tell ya.
Remember, regime change begins at home.
[ Parent ]

Hey (none / 0) (#81)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 06:56:02 PM EST

I have some of the canned hard candy from those shelters in a jar right next to me and it's pretty good. The crackers were nasty though...

"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Born in 1976; at elementary school I was taught: (4.00 / 1) (#122)
by Viliam Bur on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 11:38:43 AM EST

"When the Americans drop the A-bomb, it is important to lay on the ground with your feet towards the center of explosion." So that you let your feet absorb the radiation rather than your head. Of course, running to a bomb shelter was suggestes as a much better option.

USians probably did not use the "cluster bombs" that time, which made my childhood happy. Once you know what to do to survive an A-bomb attack, you feel much safer.

Now, my childhood is gone... and USian bombs drop in other countries (and they are NOT A-bombs)... what a nice place has this world become!

[ Parent ]

different? (4.33 / 3) (#10)
by dogwalker on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 04:37:01 PM EST

Bush is president, we're going to war in Iraq, there's suicide bombers in Israel, NASA needs another seven astronauts, the NFC team blew out the AFC team in the super bowl, nope, looks pretty much the same to me.
share and enjoy

Same shit, different millenium (none / 0) (#18)
by Edgy Loner on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 05:21:44 PM EST

But you write a '20' on your checks instead of a '19'. Thats different.

This is not my beautiful house.
This is not my beautiful knife.
[ Parent ]
Am I worried about the future? (4.75 / 4) (#13)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 04:43:49 PM EST

I'm a lot less worried today that I was before the Berlin wall fell. Now, instead of wondering if my country will be nuked, I just worry about my kid surviving middle school.

"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les

Not to worry (none / 0) (#14)
by mstefan on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 05:04:05 PM EST

Most of us are going to be dead sometime around late May, early June. Nancy says so!

When is the mothership from Zeta Reticuli coming? Save us! Save us!

[ Parent ]
That's a relief. (none / 0) (#15)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 05:18:28 PM EST

My son's a very quiet, gentle boy. I don't think he would have survived middle school.

"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les

[ Parent ]
Most unreadable page ever (none / 0) (#16)
by Edgy Loner on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 05:19:29 PM EST

Holy fucking jesus H christ! That is a godawful page to try to read. Could they have put a couple more links in there? I suppose it's at least black on white.

This is not my beautiful house.
This is not my beautiful knife.
[ Parent ]
I have often wondered (none / 0) (#22)
by mstefan on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 05:41:10 PM EST

I'd recommend avoiding this site as well then.

[ Parent ]
Off topic: funny site (none / 0) (#78)
by svampa on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 05:13:30 PM EST

But I still haven't found the proof or demonstration nor the map. Is it secret, only for members' eyes?

[ Parent ]
No idea (none / 0) (#80)
by mstefan on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 06:40:09 PM EST

To be honest, the guy updates his site so frequently with so much... stuff... it's hard to tell what he actually has. He's been going at this for a while, too. First time I ever heard of him was back in '97 or '98 as I recall.

[ Parent ]
She's a USENET Kook. (none / 0) (#29)
by sonovel on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 06:26:01 PM EST

She was all over sci.astro claiming Comet Hale-Bopp was a spaceship or something. And there was a new planet that would be naked eye visible years ago or something.

What's next? A link to Archimedes Plutonium or whatever his name was?

[ Parent ]

Arky (none / 0) (#39)
by mstefan on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 07:35:02 PM EST

The fellow that thinks our universe exists in the electron cloud of a plutonium atom? Personally, I think Nancy makes him sound sane.

[ Parent ]
We're going to die of carpal tunnel ... (none / 0) (#44)
by pyramid termite on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:37:25 PM EST

... clicking on all those links.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Only the actors are different (4.54 / 11) (#19)
by egg troll on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 05:28:07 PM EST

Pretty much everything is the same now as it was 15 - 20 years ago. Examples:

Then / Now

USSR / Al Qaeda (and sometimes China)
Reagan / Bush
Motley Crue / Limp Bizkit
VHS will ruin TV / MP3s will ruin music
Crack / Ecstacy
Plight of the urban poor / Plight of the urban poor
... / ...

You get the idea. There are various slots that society seems to need to have filled. It just finds different things to fill them with.

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

hmmm... (none / 0) (#31)
by Atlan Memcuan on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 06:39:25 PM EST

I just have to say one thing: How can you compare crack with ecstacy? Well ok, two things. Change/evolution is the only constant.

[ Parent ]
Hyped up fears (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by egg troll on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 06:50:04 PM EST

Both of these drugs are being hyped in the media as a drug that evil men are trying to hook our children with. Its really the same song ever since Reefer Madness.

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

[ Parent ]

Having lived with a crack addict ... (none / 0) (#45)
by pyramid termite on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:39:30 PM EST

... I can tell you that you have absolutely no idea of what you're talking about when you suggest that getting hooked on it is media hype.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
That's not what he said (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by Rogerborg on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 11:05:51 AM EST

Please push your own agenda in your own thread.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Children aside ... (none / 0) (#83)
by pyramid termite on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 08:02:53 PM EST

... the implication was that the government has exaggerated cocaine as an addictive drug. It hasn't.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
You don't understand. (none / 0) (#93)
by tekue on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 08:32:06 AM EST

He wrote: [Crack and Extacy are both] being hyped in the media as a drug that evil men are trying to hook our children with.
You wrote: Children aside, the implication was that the government has exaggerated cocaine as an addictive drug.
I'm sorry, but are you really able to read, or are you maybe on crack right now? Sleeping pills are also addictive, but they are not hyped in the media as an evil drug helping terrorists, or other such nonsence. That doesn't mean that crack is not addictive, but it means that it's being hyped as an evil drug.

In a wider scope, outside fictional events depicted mostly in naive art and poetry, an object cannot be evil. An object can be harmful to person's health if swallowed, it can be very unpretty, or it can be used to kill with ease. Only an action can be evil, as only an action changes anything, and `evil' means something in the vicinity of `unpleasant'.

BTW, if I'm helping terrorists by buing drugs from them, shouldn't every terrorist-fighting government offer it's own, cheaper drugs to raise money for fighting with those evil men and to diminish the terrorist organisations' income? Or am I on the wrong track here?
A society that puts equality ahead of freedom will end up with neither. -Milton Friedman
[ Parent ]

OT, but can't resist (none / 0) (#131)
by Quark on Sun Feb 16, 2003 at 03:01:33 AM EST

According to Tom Clancy, who seems to be tje script writer for the Bush presidency anyway, the original Assassins had their name derived from the Drug Hashisj. There's your link between drugs and terrorism. Cba to check on its correctness...

So much bandwidth, so little time...
[ Parent ]
True enough... (none / 0) (#117)
by Atlan Memcuan on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 10:37:13 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Nuclear War (5.00 / 3) (#28)
by Sloppy on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 06:25:39 PM EST

When it comes to nukes, the world itself has changed. Maybe it was just the hype, but the feeling used to be that it was really possible there might be an all-out exchange of hundreds of ICBMs targeted at cities in an orgy of overkill. My city was expected to get nice coverage, maybe an 8000-foot airburst over the intersection of two intersecting interstate freeways, and a whole bunch around a nearby airforce base.

Nowdays there doesn't seem to be much threat of total nuclear war, thanks to President Reagan finally signing the legislation that outlawed the Soviet Union. Whew!

Sure, cities getting nuked and millions of people dying is still a possibility, maybe even expected. (When the German police caught plutonium smugglers in around '94, I took one look at the drug war and assumed some Pu must be getting through to god-knows-who.) But nuclear war on a planet-wide scale, doesn't seem to be hanging over peoples' heads anymore.

There is a lot less dread now.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."

+5 (none / 0) (#43)
by godix on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:35:07 PM EST

just for mentioning Reagans outlawing Russians. One of the funniest quotes from a politician I've ever heard, it even beats out 'I did not sleep with that woman...'

You son of a bitch!
- RyoCokey Parent ]
The rest of the countries (none / 0) (#79)
by svampa on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 05:52:52 PM EST

I'm 35 years old, and I have always seen USA - USSR as elephants fighting, that is, they will never really hurt one each other. They just exhibit weapons, but will never use it.

Perhaps I was wrong but that's what felt.

Nowadays I'm more afraid of nuclear war. Years ago nukes were used as deterrence, now it seems that they could be used as attack weapon. Once someone breaks the tabu nobody knows who will be the next or how far will go.

[ Parent ]
Well . . . (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by Greyjack on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 06:49:18 PM EST

Personally, back in the early 80's, I found this kind of shit way scarier than the stuff that we're yammering about these days.  Although they're giving the whole biological-terrorism-via-lethal-ubervirus angle the ol' college try.

On the whole, the world's a hell of a lot less scary to me now.

Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett

I remember the TV premier of that one.... (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by Ricochet Rita on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 09:37:24 PM EST

I was in the U.S. Army and watched it with the rest of my unit in the company's "dayroom." I think it shook up most--if not all--of us, especially that wedding scene.

The Day After is probably the scariest "disaster movie" I've ever seen!


[ Parent ]

Try Threads (none / 0) (#61)
by monkeymind on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 02:34:36 AM EST

It was the UK take on the subject but it followed for one year after the day of the strike.

I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.
[ Parent ]

Off base (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by StephenThompson on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 06:54:36 PM EST

I must say that being able to talk face to face with my mother is much better than talking to her grave, though it would be 'spiritual' I suppose.

My comments are relevant to the article which is asking about worldly things.

Scoop bugs me (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by StephenThompson on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 06:55:41 PM EST

This is a reply to a comment below, scoop messed up.

[ Parent ]
This sucks more than any time I remember ... (3.40 / 5) (#38)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 07:30:52 PM EST

Admittedly I was still a teenager when the cold war ended, but from my perspective the USSR was always a rather asbtract menace. There was always a certain confidence that both sides were not mad enough to launch a first nuclear strike. That may not have been as warranted as it seemed, but it was comforting at the time. I have no confidence in any of the major players now.

The US government has fallen into the hands of people with such contempt for democracy that they either don't care we know they're lying about this Iraq business, or they really believe we're that stupid. Or they're that stupid. Which is worse. Either way the arrogance is astonishing.

The EU sucks. The French suck worst of all, but basically the whole institution just sucks. Any organisation that spends the GNP of an African country paying farmers to make too much food and then destroying it has serious problems. And the EU's foreign policy is, quite literally, bannanas, when it can agree about anything at all. And that's before you get to posturing about peace that clearly has nothing to do with oil. Just like the war. Really.

On top of the fact there's a war coming, the economy sucks. The stock market won't recover for years. House prices are on the verge of pummetting. The IT industry, in particular, sucks very badly indeed. The number of companies here that are hiring and worth working for is down to single figures.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate

EU (3.00 / 1) (#92)
by nusuth on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 07:29:59 AM EST

is still in the making. It is too early to judge them. These countries (even though only a few existed as such) have fought wars with each other for the last thousand years. They have different cultures and differences are magnified rather than played down; it was a source of pride. The languages, the income levels, the governing systems etc. are all different. It takes time. Without major integration between governing bodies and a common army, there can't be a common foreign policy. The progression from EEC to EC to EU is still far from its conclusion, UE. Think 2040ies for the real United Europe and 2015 onward for the first signs of major integration.

[ Parent ]
Relax (1.00 / 1) (#119)
by benzapp on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 12:06:55 AM EST

The US government has fallen into the hands of people with such contempt for democracy that they either don't care we know they're lying about this Iraq business, or they really believe we're that stupid. Or they're that stupid. Which is worse. Either way the arrogance is astonishing.

Pray tell, of what do our leaders deceive the people? In what way is this contempt for democracy demonstrated? I have heard nothing which is untrue. Perhaps a differing interpretation of the facts, but not an outright deception. I don't know about what country you live in, but the US is not a democracy. It is a republic, composed of 50 states. Each state is free to conduct its business however it sees fit. None have suspended voting in any way however.

The house of representatives are all duly elected by the people, as specified in the constitution. Same thing with the Senate. You might mention the whole 2000 election bullshit, but then you obviously haven't read our constitution. The United States does not have direct election of the president. States choose how their delegates are selected. Today, that is through popular vote. But, 100 years ago it wasn't always the case. The legislatures of states frequently would choose the delegates.

So anyway. I don't support a war with Iraq, but probably not for any reasons you appreciate. I also don't think the government is deceiving us. I simply disagree with what is going on. The US today is behaving no differently than any other super power of the past. Anyway, get over it.

Oh, and I did mod you down.

[ Parent ]
Tremendously late reply (none / 0) (#134)
by Simon Kinahan on Thu Feb 20, 2003 at 04:55:41 PM EST

Pray tell, of what do our leaders deceive the people?

In two ways. Firstly, about their ultimate motivation for resuming the war on Iraq. Don't worry: I'm not going to tell you this is all about oil. I'm not the kind of person you apparently think I am. They've been through several permutations of excuses now: human rights, terrorist links, WMD, and now various minor violations of 1441. I think its safe to say that none of these is any more the real motivation than Polish territorial violations were Hitler's reason for invading their country, since they change them more often than their socks.

The real reason - which is hardly hidden - is that the people currently running the Pentagon have always regretted not kicking Hussein out in 1990, and intend to finish the job.

The other thing they're lieing about is that they have intelligence linking Iraq to al Qaeda. They don't, because there are no such links. If there are, I will personally eat my trousers. It's about as likely as the Beider Meinhoff gang being linked to the Pope. The only reason they sound at all credible when they say this is that most people don't understand Arab politics. Apparently your elected leaders don't either.

None have suspended voting in any way however.

There's more to democracy than voting. They have elections in Iraq, in case you hadn't noticed. Democracy depends on having a well-informed populace. Your leaders have shown a contempt for democracy by lying to them, or at least, on the most charitable possible interpretation, manipulating the facts to deceive.

I don't support a war with Iraq, but probably not for any reasons you appreciate.

And I do. Today, at least. But probably not for any reasons you appreciate.

Anyway, get over it.

There was a certain one-sided and ranty aspect to my previous post that you may not have entirely appreciated. I said something bad about America ... oooh. Did you not spot the fact I said bad things about everyone else too ?

Oh, and I did mod you down.

Yes. That was mature, wasn't it ?


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

A question. How old are you? (5.00 / 3) (#40)
by joegee on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 07:50:25 PM EST

If you're in your late teens or early twenties you might not remember how scary things could get between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S., before the TTAPS study predicted a full nuclear exchange between the two superpowers would drop temperatures globally and impose a "nuclear winter".

I turned 18 in 1984, and I remembered thinking the world had gone insane. Reagan and Thatcher were scary.

Thing calmed down after Gulf War I. Peace seemed to be breaking out everywhere, and the cold war was over. The gun at the world's temple was still loaded, but our leader's fingers were no longer on the trigger.

Now we seem to have come full circle, unfortunately it seems like we're tilted even farther toward insanity. What alarms me are the divisions among so-called "allied" countries. The U.S. is a legitimate target of criticism, and bashing it is currently in vogue, and yet if the U.S. were to pull into its shell and go away (or die, whatever your particular fancy) whatever entity that stepped into its place would simply become the next target.

Even Europe. Even the U.N. :(

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
Heh. (none / 0) (#48)
by bjlhct on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 09:27:11 PM EST

People now will probably say the same about kids and terrorism later. I'm not buying it now, and I didn't buy the invincibility of the USSR, just the gigantic military. As for nuclear war, that still worries me. Just less.

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
The world is still insane. (5.00 / 2) (#50)
by bjlhct on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 09:34:07 PM EST

And everybody loves a scapegoat...Hates a scapegoat...Loves to hate a scapegoat. Maybe eventually people will figure out that the real scapegoat is the insanity.

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
similar (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by canwi kiwuck on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 02:33:39 AM EST

I remember the first time I heard the new "bell" go off in our school gym - maybe I was 11, this was in the UK. Sounded alot more like a siren. It was the day yet another of the russian leaders was dying during the Reagan era. It took me a second to realise it was the new bell being tested.

But hey, I'm not living in the US right now (or the UK for that matter).

[ Parent ]

Did you go through duck and cover drills? (none / 0) (#101)
by joegee on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 11:55:14 AM EST

I remember having to practice duck and cover, in the early 70's at my grade school. We had to get under our desks and cover our heads. We watched the 50's "duck and cover" propaganda films. It was surreal. One of my worst ever nightmares, when I was around six years old, was about a nuclear war. That would have been in 1972.

The best movie I have ever seen about nuclear war was made either by the Beeb or by ITV, "Threads". It was broadcast by Ted Turner's TBS over here. It put America's flaccid "The Day After" to shame. When the nuke fell on Sheffield I started crying and didn't stop for the rest of the movie.

I don't want any kids anywhere to have to grow up the way we did. For a while in the 90's it seemed like nukes were unlikely to ever be used again. Then things changed. As long as the keys to world power are nuclear I don't know that we'll ever again be free of the fear. The solution is to bomb countries developing these weapons with conventional weapons until they relent? A conventional bomb that hits close enough can ruin your day as surely as a nuke that nearly misses. :(

Sometimes the world is a terrible place.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Two part answer (4.57 / 7) (#41)
by godix on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:26:41 PM EST

For me personally, at 29, the answer is no. I vaugely, (very vaugely) remember the Iran hostages saga. I distinctly remember the terrorism during the 80's; 200+ marines killed in a bombing, planes hijacked or blown up every few months (or so it seemed), the Achille Lauro incident, almost daily bombing in Israel, The IRA had the habit of blowing up every and anyone around, and of course America eventually bombed Libya. Someone had actually tried to kill our president and almost succeeded. The Challenger blew up (it stuck me harded than the Columbia did). Iran/Contra proved two things, first off that the President was an underhanded bastard (or an idiot) and second off that Congress was a bunch of whining fucks on a crusade because nothing really illegal went on. And of course there was always the risk that the earth would end up radioactive debris if the US or Russia got angry.

Recent times seem calmer compared to then. Other than 9/11 (which is a big 'other than'), terrorism isn't nearly as bad as before. Ireland is peaceful now, plane hijackings aren't nearly as common (again, other than 9/11), and no one has pushed a wheelchaired old guy off a boat for decades now. While many dislike our president, no one has tried to kill him. We haven't had a pointless political scandal since Clinton left office (I'm not counting Gary Condit, that was a Jerry Springer show, not a scandal). And of course no one seriously expects nuclear missles to fly anytime soon.

For me looking back at the historical record rather than personal feelings, the answer is still no. The world hasn't come even remotely close to the danger of the Cuban Missle crisis, WWII, the Berlin blockade, or the cold war in general.

If you seriously think the world is worse now than it was before then go read an account of a Jew in a concentration camp, an 'intellectual' in Cambodia, a peasant in My Lai, a citizen of Hungry after the revolt, or anyone anywhere living on a nuclear target during the cold war.

You son of a bitch!
- RyoCokey

I grew up in the Midwest, in the Bible Belt. . . (4.44 / 9) (#42)
by IHCOYC on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:34:11 PM EST

Back in the 1970's, believers read all the Hal Lindsey books. He was the Erich von Däniken of Biblical prophecy. He laid it out as to how the Soviet Union was going to start World War III by attacking Israel. It was all foreordained in my lifetime, and we should just lie back and relax, because it means Jesus was coming.

I never believed in this twaddle myself, but I grew up with the general understanding that everything was turning to shit, and that there was nothing I could do about it. It was the Zeitgeist or something. Nothing that has happened from 1980 forward has shaken my faith in some nameless apocalypse from which there is no resurrection.

Intelligent life is a self-limiting phenomenon. The drives evolution has given us, drives to consume resources and reproduce our own kind, are incompatible with fossil fuels, and incompatible with nuclear weapons. I kept enough of the Christianity with me to realize that our problem is that we are simply wrong inside; there is something in our hearts that does not work right. The theologian will call it "original sin;" the problem is life itself.

So nothing on the downward spiral really surprises me. I am intrigued that it has become so obvious to so many people that the U.S. government pays so little attention to the U.S. citizens and cannot be deflected or changed. (Political change can be achieved by citizens, but only on small subjects, mostly involving adding more petty police regulations; and the citizens who want to achieve this must become activists, which is to say, petty tyrants and monomaniacal bores.)

So the world doesn't look that much different. Only the tools and weapons have changed. One way or another, the phenomenon of intelligent life is moving towards the endgame. Let us pray: Lord, deliver us from the dailiness of daily life. . . .

A person who burns with an inner fire is already damned

From my perspective, this perspective is insane (4.00 / 3) (#47)
by StephenThompson on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:55:16 PM EST

The preacher man has gotten you all screwed up.  He drove you insane for the sake of the tythe, and this is sad to me.

Objectively, humanity is better off today than ever before; this fact lain bare by the six billion of us on the planet compared to a few million in Jesus's day.  Back then, there was no running water, electricity, anti-biotics. Lifespans where half. So not only are there more of us, we are also healthier and wealthier.

We are not doomed.  We are not 'wrong' inside! Is all in your head.  Get that.  It is all in your head! So you can change your mind about it and experience the glory that is life, simply by willing it so.  Will it so!

[ Parent ]

Sweet! (5.00 / 2) (#65)
by tkatchev on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 05:17:11 AM EST

I am so happy that Jesus died so we could have running water and electricity.

Like, what else does a person need, except antibiotics, of course?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Nothing! (none / 0) (#76)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 04:31:03 PM EST

As long as the antibiotics are sprinkled on a nice big steak.
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Compare and contrast. (4.50 / 2) (#46)
by Apuleius on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:41:43 PM EST

1941: all of Europe, and Siberia, China, are under the shadow of totalitarian doctrines advanced by militant regimes. 1975 (year I was born): half of Europe, plus Siberia and China are under the aforementioned shadow. Western Europe doing pretty damn good. Now: All of Europe free, plus Siberia. China looks hopeful. Pockets of nastiness all over the globe, which may be successfully, ahem, taken care of in the coming decade. All in all, this ain't bad.

There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Losing direction in your life? (1.36 / 11) (#49)
by j1mmy on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 09:27:58 PM EST

Try Jesus.

No thanks (5.00 / 3) (#57)
by godix on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 11:56:39 PM EST

I like my meat aged, but 2000 years aged? No, I'll just have a nice couple week old steak instead.

You son of a bitch!
- RyoCokey Parent ]
Wow. (none / 0) (#64)
by tkatchev on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 05:14:57 AM EST

A bitingly honest, courageous and original comment, for once.

Sir, you are a true rockstar.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Doesn't "No Advertising" policy apply? (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by bwcbwc on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 12:17:04 AM EST

Nuff said.

[ Parent ]
Re: Losing direction in your life (none / 0) (#104)
by ibbie on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 01:13:46 PM EST

jesus loves little children.

george washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but he also admitted doing it. now, do you know why his father didn't punish him? because george still had the axe in his hand.
[ Parent ]
the more they change the less they change (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by livus on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 09:55:00 PM EST

On the one hand I don't worry about getting nuked by the US/USSR, on the other hand now the sun keeps nuking us with UV.

The economy seems better, the environment went to hell in a handbasket and people are as stupid as ever.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

environment (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by Work on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 11:05:36 PM EST

is much better than it used to be before there were *any* pollution controls. At least now most rivers are fairly protected (and clean) in the western world.

If you don't believe me, go check out any number of national geographics before 1970 that researched this and compare to the current state of them.

Much work remains to be done, but its waay better than before. Much like everything else in the world.

[ Parent ]

I was only talking about me. (none / 0) (#113)
by livus on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 10:20:08 PM EST

I meant, in MY part of the world,
where pollution is much worse. See my other post for more details if you really want to.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Not true (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by godix on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 11:54:10 PM EST

"the environment went to hell in a handbasket"

Not true. Few true statistics were kept on air/water quality before the 70's, but the statistics prove that since the 70's things have gotten a LOT better. The difference between 50 years ago (for example) and now is that 50 years ago the enviroment was something to tame while now it's something the preserve. The Hoover dam, Panama canel, or draining the everglades could never be happen today, there would be too many enviromentalist chained to a tree to protect some rare snail. A clear case of a publics changing morality making a problem appear much worse than it really is.

"people are as stupid as ever."

Quite true. As proof of this, I provide the common misperception that the enviroment is getting worse instead of better.....

You son of a bitch!
- RyoCokey Parent ]

No in my part of the world, you foriegn devil!!! (none / 0) (#114)
by livus on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 10:29:54 PM EST

well, okay. I was talking about how MY world had changed, and in my part of the world the pollution is getting worse, not better. The city I live in, in "Clean, Green" New Zealand, now has air pollution levels comparable to London!

We're also the nation with the highest rate of skin cancer in the world because we live next to the hole in the ozone. It's all very well for northerners to sit around saying the environment is okay now, but meanwhile down here we watch cancer eat the ears off everything and send our kids to the beach literally covered from neck to ankle to ward off the "15 minute burn time".

In my childhood it wasnt like that at all.

Ah yes, people as stupid as ever.... still sufferring from the common misconception that the world consists of America, America, and America.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Depends on when you were young (4.80 / 5) (#54)
by epepke on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 10:02:03 PM EST

I'm 41, and the world is way less scary than it was when I was young. Back then, we had drills to go to the fallout shelter. There were real people pointing real nuclear weapons at us all the time. There was a real game about real missilies in Cuba, and the spear-shaking and negotiations really considered the entire state of Florida as "acceptable losses."

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

I agree but, (none / 0) (#60)
by monkeymind on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 02:07:49 AM EST

While things now are better than the hight of the cold war or even the tail end of it in the 80's when I was in high school & university. It has gotten worse in the past five years.

Then again I will take terrorists and the vague possibility of mass death bio weapons to air burst nukes any day.

I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.
[ Parent ]

Drop, Duck and Cover (none / 0) (#71)
by kpaul on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 10:36:09 AM EST

I don't know - which is scarier?

Authorities telling you if there's a nuclear attack to drop under a desk?


Authorties telling you the threat level is 'orange' but go about your normal lives?


Interesting to note Mayor Bloomberg (the media tycoon) flew to Florida last weekend - out of NYC.

2014 Halloween Costumes
[ Parent ]
A clarification (none / 0) (#118)
by epepke on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 11:00:16 PM EST

I'm not talking about "duck and cover." It's always fun for the politically-conscious young person today to ridicule old films between bong hits.

I'm talking about really being marched down to the real fallout shelter underneath P.S. 11 with the real cans of water and "survival crackers." At least they didn't make us eat any.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Duct & Cover (none / 0) (#123)
by Cro Magnon on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 11:44:40 AM EST

Authorties telling you the threat level is 'orange' but go about your normal lives?
But run to the store ASAP for duct-tape and plastic!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Ironic isn't it? (none / 0) (#87)
by Skywise on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 12:17:20 AM EST

There's a very real chance that sometime soon, somebody's going to set off a "dirty-nuke" in a city.

But there's some weird and bizarre relativistic thing to that because it's "just radiation and a small blast", and not like the city will be wiped off the map with a "real" nuke...

It's "bad" but not "apocolyptic bad".

[ Parent ]

it's worse.. yeah.. (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by postindustrialist on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 01:48:13 AM EST

and i don't mean politically, i mean that us as human beings have lost so damned much..
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
When I was young... (5.00 / 11) (#67)
by Argon on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 07:56:49 AM EST

Aaah.... pure melancholy :)

But lot has changed in my world view.

I've started my life under a fascist dictatorship, and then we had colonial wars that ended on a communist revolution from a major part of our Army.

Anyway, I woke up on my teens on the midle of the cold war, America was the good guys the Russians the bad ones. As Simple as it gets.

Things started to get complicated when the Cold war ended... The freedom fighters became Terrorists. The Palestinians were building what looked as a resistance army but they were also called terrorists. Nato, did no longer defended Europe, but attacked parts of it... Only to defend  the human rights, of course.

But what really twisted my view was that in spite of the bad guys did no longer exist, we still had lots of wars and suffering in the world. That got me really confused, because when we were on the Cold war, we knew that any war as probably supported by one or by both major powers... So, if they had lost, why did we still have the same old wars?

Weren't we the good guys? Why did we had to keep the wars going... If it wasn't us, who was supplying them guns and money?

So what really changed in the world?
It looks that we still have a major risk of having a nuclear war. The difference is that we can't really say that We will not start it.
We have small little wars sprouting all over the place, but this time we cannot blame the USSR, we blame .... Terrorists?
We (the good guys) have some more trouble finding convincing bad guys, but we still do and when we do we kick their but instead of just defending ourselves.

In the end nothing changed in the world, the inocent still get killed without realy knowing why. The rich get richer, the poor continue to suffer.
The only thing that changed was my view of it, I too got a bitter and disapointed. I too became aware that there isn't good guys or bad guys, only dead, living and the bastards that profit from it all.
What should we do? I don't know, just keep on living trying to find an answer.

We Europeans oppose war (5.00 / 2) (#94)
by TuringTest2002 on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 08:37:04 AM EST

and we keep reading american posts saying we are cowards for that. 8-(

[ Parent ]
Not cowards, you learned your lesson ... (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by joegee on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 12:14:57 PM EST

... what you must realize is that much of the rest of the world still hasn't learned that lesson, and will most likely only learn it the hard way. You are NOT cowards, you are wise, but in this human world wisdom is learned, sometimes by walking the most difficult path.

It is my belief that sometimes other parts of the world will only learn to hate war as you do when they have had enough of it. In the meantime, you must exist in a world that still sees armies as the quickest way to prove a point. Sometimes the only answer is to have an army of your own.

To go a step further, sometimes when you have a loaded weapon you have to use it.

I hope and pray Europe can find a better way, I really do, but historically negotiation hasn't always worked. :(

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Doom and gloom, death and despair... (4.60 / 5) (#69)
by OldCoder on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 09:07:44 AM EST

When my father was young, the air was clean and sex was dirty. When I was young, sex was clean and the air was dirty. Now they're both dirty! (insert generic smiley here).

The USA has gone through a Revolution, invasion by England in the war of 1812, the Civil War, Indian Wars, (and, from the Indian point of view, the attack of the Europeans), Imperializing the Spanish colonies to "free" the Phillipines and Cuba, the global threat of Hitler, Stalin and Tojo, the nuclear threat of the cold war, and the attack on September 11.

All the while, the culture was being turned upside down by the Industrial Revolution, the end of slavery, electricity, television, computers, the Civil Rights movement, the Birth Control Pill, the drug culture, the drug wars, the apparent contradiction between Science and Religion, AIDS, and Jerry Springer.

I don't think the US is about to be brought down by Osama or Saddam. The Soviet Union was a much scarier Bear than Saddam Hussein.

So yes, you are just now really noticing it.

On the other hand, you get to live in the era of online forums like this, MRI's, cheap RAM, HDTV, medical wonders, and the Litter Maid, so there are compensations.

Go ahead, read this signature

To avoid further redundancy (3.50 / 2) (#74)
by Rogerborg on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 11:22:27 AM EST

Put me down as a "me too" for whatever turmeric says.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

The Prequels are Over. Episode IV: A New Hope (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by kholmes on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 05:04:10 PM EST

This article comes at a good time for me since it has only struck me today on how morbid the world is. I'm twenty now and I think it has taken me this long to reach a political maturity and, perhaps, undo some of the brain damage high school as done to me. Of the most help has been reading some of the classical theories of politics ex. Plato and Aristotle.

With North Korea, a scary nation in itself, beholding nuclear weapons and we seem to be powerless to seriously stop them since our President has committed us to another war. While at the same time, this strange new war is causing strange new international tensions, and bin Laden has yet again promised indescriminate muslims the approval of God as they commit suicide and destroy the lives of others. Basically, it has taken me this long to realize how truly tragic and serious this all is.

Yet I have a new hope. I've already read some of the comments already posted and it seems that compared to what they have lived with my life has been less tense and perhaps painfully optimistic---and perhaps I am too much of optimist by temperment. You see, we are entering into an information age; I doubt its already all the way here. While businesses and the wealthy and even the schools have been empowered with this technology, the public still hasn't caught on. And the online culture is still childish and immature, if I may say so.

The internet can be like the paper press to a new renaissance. Those of us who spend so much time on the internet tend to forget this: that every elevation of mankind has come with a new method of communication. And for our time, this is it.

We know who darth vader is. Where's the rebellion?

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.

I hope you'll all become as enlightened as I, (none / 0) (#82)
by Hide The Hamster on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 07:18:40 PM EST

but probably not. Sensationalism rules your lives, and that's about it.

Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

gee haven't heard this one before (1.20 / 10) (#84)
by Ed The Sock on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 10:25:55 PM EST

-1 stupid pampered-ass hippie bullshit

gee haven't heard this one before (none / 0) (#133)
by Nighthawk1961 on Mon Feb 17, 2003 at 10:34:13 AM EST

So what's wrong with being a "pampered-ass hippie" ?

[ Parent ]
Life, the Universe and Everything... (4.33 / 3) (#89)
by bwcbwc on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 12:54:12 AM EST

Or at least in my corner of a small planet:
This country has been through worse crises than the current, but in those crises we had much better leadership to get us out of the hole:
Civil War: Lincoln
WWI: Wilson
Great Depression: FDR
War on Terrorism: George W Bush?

After the election, I was angry because it appeared the supreme court had blocked legitimate constitutional debate. After Sept. 11, I was glad Bush was in office, because I couldn't visualize Al Gore performing so effectively.

Now, when I look at the Bush administration's economic policies, they remind me of Herbert Hoover's actions after the stock market crash. When I look at their environmental policies, I'm reminded that they are oilmen. When I look at their foreign policy, they remind me of Hitler's actions prior to his invasion of Czechoslovakia. (in that Hitler capitalized on a crisis to suspend civil liberties, used the "preemptive attack" argument, and circumvented the League of Nations. )

Personally, I think we've elected Wyatt Earp, shooting first and asking questions later. That was fine in the immediate aftermath, but the man doesn't seem to know when to switch gears, let alone stop.

-1 (1.00 / 4) (#91)
by Haelyn on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 06:16:00 AM EST

This is diary stuff...

And this is editorial stuff (3.00 / 2) (#96)
by Ranieri on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 09:23:12 AM EST

Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]
yes (1.00 / 1) (#95)
by turmeric on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 09:13:17 AM EST

basically i realized that we have been lied to quite a bit. our parents were usually ignorant noobs who barely understand the way the system works. unless our parents were running the system, in which case we probably spend a lot of time playing golf, trading stocks, and arguing about whether we should kill homeless people or just send them to war.

when I was your age... (3.00 / 2) (#97)
by shrubbery on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 11:24:56 AM EST

I walked 30 miles in snow up a hill through a minefield while having bacterial meningitis, backwards, to get to school! Damn hippies, get a job!

And did your parents..... (none / 0) (#98)
by Niha on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 11:40:58 AM EST

...dance on your grave singing Allelujah?

[ Parent ]
Sir, (none / 0) (#128)
by tkatchev on Sat Feb 15, 2003 at 06:48:55 AM EST

Get a sense of humour and a sense of tact, please, for the love of ghod.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Unfortunately,were just older.... (3.00 / 1) (#99)
by Niha on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 11:50:41 AM EST

  The world hasn´t change very much,although things may looked a bit easier when Cold War was the main problem(by no means it was the only one).
  As for me,I already thought as a girl that the world was really improveable(but couldn´t imagine at that early stage that politicians could be so stupid)  

When I was young (5.00 / 5) (#100)
by speek on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 11:52:33 AM EST

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily,
joyfully, playfully watching me.

But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
clinical, intellectual, cynical.

There are times when all the world's asleep,
the questions run too deep
for such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
but please tell me who I am.

Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're acceptable,
respectable, presentable, a vegetable!

At night, when all the world's asleep,
the questions run so deep
for such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
but please tell me who I am.*

Short answer: Things are just the same as they ever were. It's you that has changed as you age.

*Lyrics from SuperTramp, "The Logical Song"

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

watch out... (none / 0) (#120)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 10:45:57 AM EST

The RIAA's gonna get you if you don't watch out!

I can't hear you, there's a banana in my ear.

[ Parent ]
When I was a kid... (4.50 / 4) (#103)
by Drooling Iguana on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 12:41:42 PM EST

When I was a kid, the country I was most afraid of was on the other side of the world. Now, the country I'm most afraid of shares the longest undefended border in the world with my own country.

Some, some not (5.00 / 2) (#105)
by broken77 on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 03:48:14 PM EST

I think the thing to do here is look at our elders and what they're saying. They were old enough to have "come of age" a long time ago, so they've had decades to digest the world and its changes. Yes, much of what you perceive is just a shift in perception. But also, yes, the world has changed a good deal. I've gleaned the following list from the many different things I've been reading in the last couple of years:
  • The media is vastly different than it was 20 years ago. This is accounted for in any number of articles and books.
  • The government is different.
  • The Conservative Movement has surged in the last 23 years, thanks to Reagan. This is also well-understood.
  • The anti-war movement of today is different than it was in the 70s (although the same in other ways).
  • Cultural movements are all slightly different now than they were.
  • Fascism really is on the rise in certain parts of the world.
  • There are more nuclear states now than there were 30 years ago, making the world definitely more dangerous.
  • Resource wars are now more intense than they were before. Even things like water are starting to cause conflict.
  • Older folks are worried about civil liberties now. Not the youth, but people like my dad, 70 years old. People are saying all over the country what many on this site are saying - the right wing (leaders) are taking over and they're shaking in their boots.
  • Older folks are seeing the gap in justification of war ever since WWII, the last "just war" in many of their eyes.
I could go on... Some things have really changed, some of it is "just you".

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz

Oh yah... (none / 0) (#106)
by broken77 on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 03:49:22 PM EST

How could I call myself a liberal if I didn't point out that corporate power really IS dramatically on the rise in the last 20 years, and the rich are vastly more rich than they were 20 years ago.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Media has changed. (none / 0) (#126)
by chupacabra on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 07:29:45 PM EST

Back in my young days, we depended on the media to get to the bottom of things and find the truth. I wanted so to grow up and write for a paper and ferret out the truth. Mebby a bit like Supermans bunch.

It seems to me that the new media just says whatever the "boss" says. Whoever that may be. In the old press one was not declared guilty until after the trial said so.

Get yer duck tape, I am scared now.

Too many skeletons in other peoples closets..

Where did that baby goat go?
[ Parent ]

Odd coincidence (5.00 / 3) (#107)
by borful on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 04:14:24 PM EST

My Dad sent me this recently. He was born in 1934. Sometimes he gets a bit of an attitude.

Got to thinking about the political correctness of our age, after a glass of zinfandel. I wonder, how did we ever come to where we are? How did we old folks ever survive?

My mother used to cut meat, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife, and no bleach to disinfect the board, and she kept stuff in an ice box in the summer, and in a window box in the winter, but I didn't seem to get food poisoning.

Almost all of us would have rather have gone swimming in the polluted Connecticut River than in the local pool, and none of us ever got polio.

The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

Flunking gym was not an option... even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Every year, someone taught the whole school a lesson by running in the halls with leather soles on linoleum tile and hitting the wet spot. How much better off would we be today if we only knew we could have sued the school system.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and the pledge and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention. We must have had horribly damaged psyches.

I can't understand it. Schools didn't offer 14 year olds an abortion or condoms; we wouldn't have known what either was anyway - well, we know what "rubbers" were but none I ever tried on fit very well. But they did give us a couple of baby aspirin and cough syrup if we started getting the sniffles. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? "Go back to class Tommy."

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself, and I still feel I never accomplished enough, even though my mother was proud as hell of what I did accomplish. .

I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, PlayStation, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital cable stations. We made up games. We enjoyed it.

I must be repressing that memory as I try to rationalize through the denial of the dangers could have befallen us as we trekked off to the river to fish or swim or hang out on the railroad tracks, checking out the freight cars. We never got hit by a train . . . them suckers are big . . . and loud. How in hell could we not have been hit by one? Simple, we would have been killed by our parents :-)

Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We played king of the hill on piles of dirt left on vacant construction sites and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48 cent bottle of Mercurochrome or the stings like hell iodine with the skull and crossbones on the label, and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of dirt where it was such a threat.

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either because if we did, we got our butt spanked (physical abuse) here too ... and then we got butt spanked again when we got home.

Mom invited the door to door salesman inside for coffee, kids choked down the dust from the gravel driveway while playing agates (marbles) in the mud, and she never got raped or robbed and we only got dirty knees in our "overhauls" and got our butts swatted for that, too!

Summers were spent picking tobacco, caddying, picking tomatoes, picking strawberries, and shining shoes in saloons; and winters shovelling snow, scraping ice, washing floors in the muddy house, hauling buckets of coal and gallons of kerosene for the stoves, and I didn't even know that 10, 11, and 12 year old kids weren't supposed to work. "Supposed to work?" Hell, we were required to work.

How sick was my mother? She swatted the crap out of me more than once and mostly for good reason and sometimes for no discernable reason other than "you must have done something." Of course my mother wasn't the only "psycho." I recall Donny Patterson from down the street coming over and doing his "gymnastic" tricks on the front stoop just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our tenement. Instead she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck! Parents striking their children! Heaven forbid!

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that. We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes?

I don't know of a single person from my era who went to, or is going to a "therapist" to salve their psyches. Everyone of us has had and still have our little "devils" with which we contend. But pay someone to tell us that? Uh uh. Our parents would tell us to shut up and get on with it. I guess that's yet another example, in today's society, of parental abuse?

We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac - whatever the hell that is! How did we survive?

We survived because our parents cared about us. Sure, as my mother would say, "you got a good smack in the ass when I thought you needed it. It didn't hurt you." And you know? She was right. My mother was widowed when I was a baby - age three. No doubt I gave her a rough time. The same goes for nearly every guy and girl I knew when I was a kid. We were major pains in the fanny, but a swift kick in the ass didn't hurt any of our tender little psyches - that is, a little kick in the butt with a lot of lecturing and a helluva lotta love.

I don't mean to tweak anyones personal "issues," that's simply what I remember about growing up.

I haven't come up with a suitable reply yet.

Money is how people with no talent keep score.
Just say this (4.50 / 2) (#108)
by MSBob on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 04:53:31 PM EST

in 1934 you called your black citizens "negro" and thought it was OK and didn't hurt anyone. Just good ol'e friendly tease, eh?
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
I asked him about that once (5.00 / 3) (#112)
by borful on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 08:31:27 PM EST

He served in Korea, spent three years in the Marines. He spent some time on bases in Florida in the fifties. There was racism then.

I asked this: In WWII, the Army had integrated units and they worked fine. Guys fought together and bonded as men. There was a whole lot more equality in the Army in 1945 than, say, in civilian life in 1939. When those guys went back home together - having mustered out at the same time - and saw the signs "No colored" and the drinking fountains divided by race, why didn't they just end it right then. Who was going to argue with them? These are actual war heros back from living and dying together in France. Why can't they get a burger and shake on the way home?

He had no good answer. He said that everything worked that way (separate drinking fountains etc.) for as long as anybody could remember and it just didn't occur to them (remember, he'd say, these are uneducated workin' joes who have just spent a lot of years taking orders.) to even challenge the way of things.

OK, I'd say, what about by the mid-fifties, when King and them guys started their campaign. By then, the ex-GIs are in their thirties and moving into positions of influence. Why didn't the vets stick up for their buddies? I don't remember exactly what he said, but my recollection is that by then it was too late - the bonds built ten years earlier were not enough to survive all of soceity's weight.

I don't have real serious talks with him all that often; this was the only one on racism. I'd be interested in other post-WWII stories. I think that would have been just the perfect time for civil rights campaigns to begin.

Money is how people with no talent keep score.
[ Parent ]

An interesting mix of insight, and crotechty (5.00 / 3) (#110)
by Vellmont on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 08:03:55 PM EST

Despite having been born 38 years after your father, I agree with much of what he says, though there's a significant portion that just strikes me as desperately hanging on to nostalgic memories of the past, while ignoring the problems that existed in those times.

A lot of what he's talking about seems to stem from the over-protective fear culture that's been created recently. Everyone is somehow afraid of things of little consequence. Getting food poisoning if you don't use bleach on cutting boards, sending your kids to the ER for minor scrapes, women being raped from walking across the street are all examples he sights. Obviously this is a bit exagerated, but thats only to show a point.

I'm not sure exactly why so much fear has been created about things like this... maybe because there's less real things to fear. We don't have to worry about getting polio, diptheria, smallpox, dying in childbirth, dying in a major war, or countless other things anymore.

The part I disagree with is the strange (to paraphrase) "the good old days" theme. He paints a Norman Rockwell agrarian fantasy of how kids were good hard workers picking tomatoes, were made of good moral stock, and all prayed in school. It's like an episode of Andy Griffith. I've never bought this mythos of "the good old days". People tend to remember good things, and don't remember (or maybe were never even fully conscious of) the bad. I'm not sure if people just didn't get information about the problems of the times, or just chose to ignore it (maybe both). Ask him about racism, and we'll see how much better of a time it was. I bet it was a lot worse if you happened to be black.

I'm not sure why people should go back to hitting their kids. His mother hitting him because you must have done something hardly sounds like something that should be admired. Maybe this is an example of how people managed to survive without everything being perfect, but there's a strange "it made us tough" argument that seems to justify unprovoked violence. I don't know that hitting your kids is going to harm them, but I just don't believe it's the only way to discipline kids, or that it's more effective than other forms of punishment. I guess what's disurbing is the underlying implication that if people just hit their kids more, then we'd have less problems with them.

Eliminating enforced christianity in schools is a Good Thing. I've never understood those that think the role of a school is to force an arbitrary religion down everyones throats.

The attack on therapists seems a bit harsh. Your rather seems to take an unconditional "toughen up" stance. There certainly are people now, and then that therapy can help. Maybe we overuse it today, or overestimate its value, I don't know. But a wholescale attack where Our parents would tell us to shut up and get on with it is out of touch with reality.

[ Parent ]
He can be odd (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by borful on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 08:17:57 PM EST

One thing he leaves out is that his family acted much like therapists do today. He had a huge extended family, and if somebody needed to vent or get some help with a problem there was somebody in the family who was close enough to care but distant enough to have a dispassionate view of the problem. His aunts and cousins have lots of stories about people just congregating at different people's houses and talking about stuff.

My brother and I will do the Monty Python bit about how rough we had it when the Old Man gets going about how bad things were back then. (He tells a lot more "things were tough back then" stories than Norman Rockwell stuff.)

Fear. I blame the media.

I don't have kids, but as you might guess, corporal punishment was used in our house when we were growing up. I think if parents' are going to spank the kids, the key is to seperate the anger and fear from the punishment. I can only remember a couple of times when the Old Man came at me in anger. Those times were far more scary than the various physical punishments meted out. I don't think corporal punishment has to scar the kids.

Money is how people with no talent keep score.
[ Parent ]

I'd agree with that last bit. (none / 0) (#135)
by Matadon on Fri Feb 21, 2003 at 12:06:28 PM EST

I was spanked when I was growing up (and I'm a 22-year-old young 'un), and I think I turned out just fine.  In fact, I'm doing a lot better than the kids that never got discipline from their parents, partly becuse I learned early on the whole punishment/reward game.  Unlike some people my age, I don't fly off the handle when I screw up at work and my boss harpoons me for it -- I apologize for the screw-up, fix it, and don't do it again.

On a similar tangent, my Übermormon sister falls into the "we don't spank our kids" camp, and I've seen how effective "time outs" have been for her -- all three of her kids have adjustment and/or psychological problems of some sort (Two have severe problems paying attention, one is very afraid and timid, and all three constantly fight).

When the time comes for me to have kids, I don't think I'm going to second-guess my parents -- what they did worked.

"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]

Here's a reply: (none / 0) (#130)
by Perianwyr on Sat Feb 15, 2003 at 05:30:42 PM EST

You roll the dice every day. Do the dice come up snake eyes less often if you roll them more?

[ Parent ]
my grandma always said.... (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by gt2313a on Sun Feb 16, 2003 at 10:59:18 AM EST

"I dont know why they called them the good old days...they weren't very good".

Of course, she is just a mere mortal who has benefited from modern health care, psychiatry, public safety laws, & improved notions of hygene, to name a few. Her kids weren't raised with vitamin deficiencies.  Her grandkids are all on their way to college educations...whereas she had to leave school at 15 to help support her family.  

Yeah, this suing-everybody business is a problem, but if I had to pick between 1930 & 2000 I know what I'd pick.  

[ Parent ]

It was much scarier (4.00 / 1) (#109)
by texchanchan on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 05:01:28 PM EST

I spent my young life expecting thermonuclear war.

Another thing... (none / 0) (#115)
by livus on Thu Feb 13, 2003 at 10:34:38 PM EST

Americans used to = this one guy named Mark that all us kids stared at. Now they're everywhere.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

Global thermonuclear war. (5.00 / 1) (#121)
by Kal on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 10:58:10 AM EST

I grew up knowing that there was a nuclear missile in the USSR pointed at the city I lived in. Even if that weren't bad enough we were close enough to Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Washington DC to be certain that if we survived a nuke on our city the fallout would kill us. Things seem much better, overall, now than they did then.

The devil you know (3.00 / 1) (#124)
by Cro Magnon on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 12:01:50 PM EST

When I was a young squirt (did I actually say that?) there was a lot of talk about total war between the US & USSR, but both countries had been making evil faces at each other since before I was born. The danger was from an accident or miscalculation, but neither side wanted suicide. But now, we have threats from unstable, unknown forces. Some of them don't care if they blow themselves up as long as they get the "infidels". We haven't experienced this type of danger before and we don't know what to do. The world may not actually BE any more dangerous than it was when I was a kid, but it scares ME more!
Information wants to be beer.
Paranoia (none / 0) (#125)
by floydian on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 07:05:24 PM EST

Coincidentally, I wrote just yesterday a diary entry on my own little world. Even though I got some flak for it, I can assure that we're more or less scared shitless down here.

Vote with Your Feet (none / 0) (#127)
by 500miles on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 08:35:46 PM EST

Phlux, think outside the box for a moment. There's no law stating that you have to retire in the United States (assuming that's where you are from). Plenty of people retire to Mexico and are able to live very comfortable lives on $600/month/couple. The $600/month life style includes a nice rental house, a part-time maid/housekeepr, and a garderner/handyman. This budget also allows dinner out three times a week and trips to the U.S.

John Howells has written a bunch of books on how to retire in Mexico and other Central and South American countries. This type of retirement may not be paradise, but neither is sitting in a cubicle wondering when you'll be able to pay off the loan on that set of his and hers Lexus RX300s.

The future was never like this (4.00 / 1) (#129)
by Aztech on Sat Feb 15, 2003 at 11:26:59 AM EST

Maybe it's the opposite, for those old enough to grow up in the Cold War today's world probably doesn't seem that much different, except bad stuff is actually happening rather than the threat of such, but it's hard to know which is worse.

I can remember the Berlin Wall falling when I was in primary school and I didn't really realise what all the fuss was about, mind you I can remember the fall of Maggie Thatcher and I also wondered what all the fuss was about, did I miss something? Same goes for the end of apartheid and various other things that lead into the halcyon days of the 90's, especially the late 90's, I've never in my life seen things progress backwards... but I am seeing it now, it's shocking, but if you can remember the 70's no doubt you've seen the economy do this before.

I can remember the last peaceful G8 meeting in this country back in 1998 with leaders wondering about and Clinton having a pint of bitter with the people... of course after Seattle '99 and every meeting since this memory seems quaint, yet it was only five short years ago.

But it should be said the uncertainly is remote, everything is still materially peaceful for us in the West, for the most part. Memory is of course selective, when I think about it I can remember having to evacuate a big shopping mall and an entire town centre in the mid-90's because of IRA bomb scares, but now there's new things we're meant to be scared of.

Is the world that much different than when you were young? | 135 comments (111 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
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