Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Things Out of the Past You Would Like to See Revived
#1
Thought it would be interesting for all of you to think about some things out of the past you might like to see a comeback in. Perhaps it's the hula hoop, some type of short-lived fashion or food craze, anything nostalgic is fair game.  I shall begin by giving two things I would like to see come back into vogue; rooming houses and dance halls. The former as an antidote to the barbaric cost of housing in many areas; the latter as an antidote to the extremely uptight world we have become.
Reply
#2
(08-01-2019, 09:32 AM)beechnut79 Wrote: Thought it would be interesting for all of you to think about some things out of the past you might like to see a comeback in. Perhaps it's the hula hoop, some type of short-lived fashion or food craze, anything nostalgic is fair game.  I shall begin by giving two things I would like to see come back into vogue; rooming houses and dance halls. The former as an antidote to the barbaric cost of housing in many areas; the latter as an antidote to the extremely uptight world we have become.

In a way, both have returned in slightly different form.  The rooming house is no longer viable (mostly due to legal constraints on the practice -- zoning being the most unshakable), but shared accommodations have made a small splash in areas with very high housing costs.   It's more akin to college housing than a rooming house, but the idea is similar.  and today's dance halls are every bar with a bandstand or a DJ and a dance floor.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
Reply
#3
1. an omnibus culture that can unite people across lines of age, region, ethnicity, religion, and level of formal education. Cinema seems headed that way (we are in the 80th anniversary of the most admired year in American cinema), but there is no obvious equivalent of the Big Band Era.

2. more reliance upon thrift, instead of upon printing money, to facilitate investment and the formation of businesses -- and consumer spending. Thrift of course depends upon people making real money for their efforts, which implies...

3. a return to at the least the real wages that people knew in the 1970s. Technology and productivity support such, but monopolists and bureaucratic elites take even more than the economic growth since then.

4. more reliance upon the liberal arts in education as a means of improving the lives of adults who might get something out of them other than vocational opportunity. The tragedy is not the welder who has a liberal arts degree; the tragedy is an accountant or engineer who sees the world only as economic metrics even if those metrics are people.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#4
(08-01-2019, 10:33 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(08-01-2019, 09:32 AM)beechnut79 Wrote: Thought it would be interesting for all of you to think about some things out of the past you might like to see a comeback in. Perhaps it's the hula hoop, some type of short-lived fashion or food craze, anything nostalgic is fair game.  I shall begin by giving two things I would like to see come back into vogue; rooming houses and dance halls. The former as an antidote to the barbaric cost of housing in many areas; the latter as an antidote to the extremely uptight world we have become.

In a way, both have returned in slightly different form.  The rooming house is no longer viable (mostly due to legal constraints on the practice -- zoning being the most unshakable), but shared accommodations have made a small splash in areas with very high housing costs.   It's more akin to college housing than a rooming house, but the idea is similar.  and today's dance halls are every bar with a bandstand or a DJ and a dance floor.
There has no been discussion on some other forums about relaxing archaic zoning codes. Yet one poster, don't recall which forum it was on, was of the opinion that overly restrictive zoning codes won't go away anytime soon. But said zoning codes and homeowners' association covenants are the true enemy of more affordable housing. In most Chicago suburbs, especially those west of the Tri-State Tollway, overnight street parking is prohibited pretty much on all streets all year round, not just during snow removal season. And almost everyone in the suburbs has a car, and it is true that most traditional rooming house structures were not set up for a lot of cars, and in those that are left in some of your older large cities such as Chicago and New York, no doubt few if any residents own cars, and if they did they really would have no place to put them. But sooner or later I believe these zoning codes are going to have to be relaxed; maybe it would take the modern equivalent of the Hoovervilles to get the job done.  It is also going to take some folks who are passionate on the issue whose desire and ambition help to assert the movement and get the ball rolling. Caution: He, she, them will need to be careful of taking something personally and losing the temper.

Have often wondered whether zoning laws are less strict in smaller cities and towns away from the large urban centers, where the influence of big money isn't so great.
Reply
#5
(08-01-2019, 04:34 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: 1. an omnibus culture that can unite people across lines of age, region, ethnicity, religion, and level of formal education. Cinema seems headed that way (we are in the 80th anniversary of the most admired year in American cinema), but there is no obvious equivalent of the Big Band Era.

2. more reliance upon thrift, instead of upon printing money, to facilitate investment and the formation of businesses -- and consumer spending. Thrift of course depends upon people making real money for their efforts, which implies...

3. a return to at the least the real wages that people knew in the 1970s. Technology and productivity support such, but monopolists and bureaucratic elites take even more than the economic growth since then.

4. more reliance upon the liberal arts in education as a means of improving the lives of adults who might get something out of them other than vocational opportunity. The tragedy is not the welder who has a liberal arts degree; the tragedy is an accountant or engineer who sees the world only as economic metrics even if those metrics are people.

On item 1, we still have not moved beyond excessive divisiveness, and in fact I feel it has increased. Following the Big Band Era (which was preceded by the Jazz Age), there was the rock 'n roll era headed by Elvis, Buddy Holly, etc. Then along came solo dance crazes led by the twist, followed by the psychedelic era led by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, et al. After that was the disco era which, although short-lived created its share of backlash, followed then by the even shorter-lived Urban Cowboy crazes which spawned such classics as Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. Not many cultural institutions of that nature have come along ever since, the closest probably being the country line dance crazed led by Brooks and Dunn.

On item 2, the PTB have been leading us away from thrift for many years now. Part of the reason I believe was that Boomers in their growing up years soundly rejected anything GI, and that includes thrift. The earlier generation lived through the Great Depression which helped them to practice that. But there is irony here too in that it was this generation that paved the way for the ever increasing fetish for ever increasing convenience and also the trend of eating more and more of their food away from home. Some here have forecasted that when this crisis reached the serious stage there will be immense sacrifices asked of many of us, far beyond, say, giving up chocolate for Lent.

On  item 3, there are other issues here such as wages alone. And while you are seeing higher wages offered at fast food and other similar businesses, that all does have to go into the price of the product, and one must wonder whether in due time that could translate to less business and also increasing automation in much the same way that union wages in industry eventually pushed it out of the country.

On item 4, the issue you describe is today affecting all levels of the society, not only those heavily involved in the STEM disciplines. Which in turn made liars out of a lot of futurists who were almost certain that all the advanced technology that almost all of us now kneel at the feet of would produce a society of ever increasing leisure. Not only do most people no longer take vacations, they don't participate that much in meaningful hobbies either. As an example many bowling alleys have closed and traditional service organizations such as the Rotary have been on the wane for years.
Reply
#6
Oh l dunno. Human decency... Concern & care 4 1 another.... Helping each other out & sticking up 4 each other.. Stuff like that
Heart  Bernie/Tulsi 2020    Heart
Reply
#7
(08-10-2019, 09:57 AM)beechnut79 Wrote:
(08-01-2019, 04:34 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: 1. an omnibus culture that can unite people across lines of age, region, ethnicity, religion, and level of formal education. Cinema seems headed that way (we are in the 80th anniversary of the most admired year in American cinema), but there is no obvious equivalent of the Big Band Era.

2. more reliance upon thrift, instead of upon printing money, to facilitate investment and the formation of businesses -- and consumer spending. Thrift of course depends upon people making real money for their efforts, which implies...

3. a return to at the least the real wages that people knew in the 1970s. Technology and productivity support such, but monopolists and bureaucratic elites take even more than the economic growth since then.

4. more reliance upon the liberal arts in education as a means of improving the lives of adults who might get something out of them other than vocational opportunity. The tragedy is not the welder who has a liberal arts degree; the tragedy is an accountant or engineer who sees the world only as economic metrics even if those metrics are people.

On item 1, we still have not moved beyond excessive divisiveness, and in fact I feel it has increased. Following the Big Band Era (which was preceded by the Jazz Age), there was the rock 'n roll era headed by Elvis, Buddy Holly, etc. Then along came solo dance crazes led by the twist, followed by the psychedelic era led by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, et al. After that was the disco era which, although short-lived created its share of backlash, followed then by the even shorter-lived Urban Cowboy crazes which spawned such classics as Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. Not many cultural institutions of that nature have come along ever since, the closest probably being the country line dance crazed led by Brooks and Dunn.

The omnibus culture of the late 1930s could not have emerged except in the wake of the worst years of the Great Depression in a climate of economic fear that what improvements had happened could disintegrate quickly, whether with another economic meltdown or (later) an Axis victory. The post-WWII world created among middle-class Boomers a level of individual introspection that may have been without precedent in human history. Never mind that many first-wave Boomers weren't up to it...

The Great Depression forced cohesion of families and communities throughout the industrialized world, and a lone-wolf character like Jack Kerouac was an extreme anomaly. He did what people just did not do until it seemed economically safe to do so. But even communal cohesion can lead to social splintering if the communities make claim to equality of validity. One dirty little secret was that WASP elites still dominated the elite culture, and other ethnic and religious groups (aside from some spectacularly-successful Jews and some politically-powerful Irish Catholics in their urban milieux) knew their subordinate places and were to be shamed for not being WASPs as well as for being poor and under-educated.

...Some cultural trends are likely to crash. The tendency toward monopoly in communications will itself make entertainment even more expensive -- so much that 200 channels of cable TV will become unavailable. So it will be back to broadcast with multi-channel signals with five commercial networks  producing new stuff, and one channel of public TV... maybe a Spanish-language channel or two

So ESPN prices itself out because of the economic realities of major-league sports. Rents have been skyrocketing, so it is easy to imagine a family of six crowded into a room that allows only one television...  and whatever is on the idiot screen had better be at least tolerable to everyone.

Quote:On item 2, the PTB have been leading us away from thrift for many years now. Part of the reason I believe was that Boomers in their growing up years soundly rejected anything GI, and that includes thrift. The earlier generation lived through the Great Depression which helped them to practice that. But there is irony here too in that it was this generation that paved the way for the ever increasing fetish for ever increasing convenience and also the trend of eating more and more of their food away from home. Some here have forecasted that when this crisis reached the serious stage there will be immense sacrifices asked of many of us, far beyond, say, giving up chocolate for Lent.


The Powers That Be have good cause to oppose thrift. They are no morally better than the Southern agrarian elite that waxed fat upon the helplessness of sharecroppers always in debt. A century ago the capitalists like Henry Ford wanted workers to have a stake in the system and promoted such virtues as thrift and sobriety on the assumption that people who had a stake in the system had no cause to challenge it with the idea of dispossessing the capitalists. It is far easier to get the FED to supply money for investments than to depend upon banks and thrifts to induce people to save money that those entities can lend to manufacturers.

People who practice thrift and savings are less dependent upon corporate and commercial enterprises for what they have. They have the rainy-day fund that allows them to avoid making horrible, and even criminal, decisions on behalf of their superiors just to hold onto their position in life. The  optimum in control is that exercised in Nazi Germany in management-labor relations: one could not quit one's job, but one could be sent to a nasty labor camp in which one toiled for starvation rations and learned quickly that the New Peonage was all that was ever going to be available. Suffer for the tycoon or the Junker, and always remember to smile! So the tycoon and Junker become more demanding and all the gain goes into sybaritic excess! The Fuehrer likes it that way!

If you think that American plutocrats will not impose the sort of peonage that existed in Nazi Germany (and this is before anyone thinks of the racism, militarism, and genocide) -- aristocrats, tycoons, and executives have never been morally superior to peasants and proles even if they have had lesser need to compromise their morals. They often have no morals. Profit-maximization is not morality.  

People heavily in debt and still obscenely poor have no stake in their system, but owners of the assets and those who command the productive and necessary parts of the economy find it far easier to exploit people who have no valid choices except to risk slow death by starvation or a more agonizing death such as strangling slowly on a rope or being burned from the inside out with hydrogen cyanide fumes. (It surprises me that the Nazis, who went further than any people in the industrial world in degrading working people, did not revive burning at the stake, even in the camps... go figure).

"Convenience" remains essential to people struggling to maintain middle-class identity by working multiple jobs and spending more time commuting between nightmarish workplaces and increasingly-awful and overpriced housing. When the pretense is gone, which will be a choice of elites, we Americans will discover the relevance of the Plantation South to the American heritage. The non-Southern elites are learning its vices for themselves and its power in forcing a race to the bottom for everyone else.


Quote:On  item 3, there are other issues here such as wages alone. And while you are seeing higher wages offered at fast food and other similar businesses, that all does have to go into the price of the product, and one must wonder whether in due time that could translate to less business and also increasing automation in much the same way that union wages in industry eventually pushed it out of the country.

In the wake of a real economic meltdown that crashes the monopolized, bureaucratic behemoths and exposes how little work is necessary for meeting basic human needs, people will discover much time that they never realized that they had. Getting a hamburger, shake, and fries from Chez Mac because one needs to wolf them down on the way from Job 1 to Job 2 or to pick up a child at daycare could become unnecessary and unsatisfying. I cannot say whether women or men are more likely to lose jobs, except that the combination of testosterone and anger makes unemployed men especially receptive to violent, extremist causes such as fascism, Nazism, Ku Kluxism, Bolshevism, and ISIS. I hate to say that Crisis Eras tend to send women back to the kitchen and force their daily attention to children with one outlet in the church, but it is safe to say that women got driven out of paid work around 1930s so that male breadwinners would get to keep some esteem as breadwinners instead of becoming receptive to a cheap uniform and 'action' through marching and abuse of minorities.

Maybe people will start making their own lasagna when the trade-off between convenience and culinary satisfaction becomes irrelevant. Besides, as the dinosaurs go extinct in the economic equivalent of the K-T catastrophe, there will be openings for small businesses. Farewell, bad fast food places and pretentious eateries like Red Lobster... and hello diners in which the owner's wife prepares the lasagna, chimichangas, stir-fry, pierogi, or whatever, the husband does food prep and cleaning, and the kids take the orders. Stores in which the staff has the responsibility to make one happy with what one purchases might supplant those like Wal*Mart, Target, and K-Mart where nobody pretends to such.

Quote:On item 4, the issue you describe is today affecting all levels of the society, not only those heavily involved in the STEM disciplines. Which in turn made liars out of a lot of futurists who were almost certain that all the advanced technology that almost all of us now kneel at the feet of would produce a society of ever increasing leisure. Not only do most people no longer take vacations, they don't participate that much in meaningful hobbies either. As an example many bowling alleys have closed and traditional service organizations such as the Rotary have been on the wane for years.

Did anyone predict that the world created after the Second World War would churn out narcissists incompetent at anything other than exploitation and abuse of people whom they could control through monopoly and brutal systems of management? Did it predict the rise of politicians as hollow first as Ronald Reagan and then (it could never go further in that direction!) than Donald Trump, the arch-example of Boom tendencies at their absolute worst? Most people hope for the best, and nobody would have thought that Germany would end up with a vicious leader who would exterminate the definitive Model Minority without there being adequate wisdom elsewhere to welcome in those Jews.

Humanity has some spiders in its souls. Every generation has its vices. Civic generations never learn until it is too late that there is more to life than creating prosperity and ease. Reactive generations learn only when they have lost all semblance of youth that caution and morality are worthy expressions of personal and public life, and that rage is ultimately futile. (Think of the large number of Lost-generation fascists, early Bolsheviks, and Stalinist puppets). Idealists ignore that they need work to achieve their grand, simple dreams until they are largely too old to do the raw labor that makes those dreams possible. Adaptive generations fail severely to do the enterprise that keeps a capitalist order from spiraling into monopoly as they take over the bureaucratic niches and leave nothing for their progeny.

The fault with those who have predicted the future is that they assume things that they fail to inculcate in others. The generational theory shows us that lofty goals do not always exist, that social realism vanishes when people no longer care about it, that social cohesion is nothing to take for granted, and that capitalism requires enterprise as much as it needs profit.

The  opening for a Lincoln-style or FDR-style leader is passing. Clinton was not that, but that was not necessary then. Dubya certainly was not up to the task. Trump isn't.

OK, Obama was all in all good. He didn't leave any big gaping problems of his own doing. But he was more like the sort of leader that a healthy society gets after a Crisis era, a mature reactive who has no angry agenda and who insists upon going by the book... and preventing any calamities on his watch. We will have that sort of leader again... such a leader is usually in his 60s, and we all know what the worst sort of Reactive is. I see no Hitler or Mussolini in the immediate American future. It is just too late in the Crisis for anything like that to emerge now. We got a Reactive President, and we got the best one that we could get at the time...

Let me say this to conservative Republicans: your best chance at having a President for whom Americans have cause for respect will be a conservative mirror-image of Obama who might promote the family values that Obama lives quietly and more vocally expresses the patriotic loyalty that Obama practiced without talking about. That is someone with the same probity -- and after Trump we will need Obama-like integrity, wisdom, and clarity of expression even if such is the promotion of enterprise, thrift, self-discipline, and self-reliance.  
You all know what I think of Donald Trump -- the vices of Idealist generations at their worst (arrogance, selfishness, and ruthlessness) with none of the virtues (culture, principle, and erudition). Look to the two greatest Idealist Presidents that we ever had in Lincoln and FDR, and you see nimble minds of people making humane choices in times that make those unlikely for most.  Trump makes cruel choices in the complete absence of the appropriateness of such choices. So extreme a vulgarian as Trump makes America a sick joke until they remember better.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#8
More on the emphasis on STEM -- people technically trained often realize, once successful in commercial organizations and government bureaucracies, that they have missed something. A system such as that of the Soviet Union tried to rush economic progress by putting technological progress above humanizing the society. Modernity is more than giant dams, factories and power plants, weapons systems, and huge blocks of standardized flats.

The worker knows that his tiny apartment is spartan in contrast to what he has seen of the West and knows that he must wait in queues for everything. The technically-trained, narrow specialist in developing an oil field or a weapons system recognizes that there is more to life than economic gain... and somehow he missed out on something. That is the Humanities.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#9
All of the things I loved as a child are coming back anyway, but I would like the world to be more compassionate and not sticking up for being douchebags and blaming the person they have been a douchebag to. Human decency seems to be dying and being sensitive is seen as something to be ashamed of and I would love to know where the hell that came from.
1984 Apollonian Civic
ISFP - The Artist.






Reply
#10
(08-10-2019, 09:43 AM)beechnut79 Wrote:
(08-01-2019, 10:33 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(08-01-2019, 09:32 AM)beechnut79 Wrote: Thought it would be interesting for all of you to think about some things out of the past you might like to see a comeback in. Perhaps it's the hula hoop, some type of short-lived fashion or food craze, anything nostalgic is fair game.  I shall begin by giving two things I would like to see come back into vogue; rooming houses and dance halls. The former as an antidote to the barbaric cost of housing in many areas; the latter as an antidote to the extremely uptight world we have become.

In a way, both have returned in slightly different form.  The rooming house is no longer viable (mostly due to legal constraints on the practice -- zoning being the most unshakable), but shared accommodations have made a small splash in areas with very high housing costs.   It's more akin to college housing than a rooming house, but the idea is similar.  and today's dance halls are every bar with a bandstand or a DJ and a dance floor.

There has no been discussion on some other forums about relaxing archaic zoning codes. Yet one poster, don't recall which forum it was on, was of the opinion that overly restrictive zoning codes won't go away anytime soon. But said zoning codes and homeowners' association covenants are the true enemy of more affordable housing. In most Chicago suburbs, especially those west of the Tri-State Tollway, overnight street parking is prohibited pretty much on all streets all year round, not just during snow removal season. And almost everyone in the suburbs has a car, and it is true that most traditional rooming house structures were not set up for a lot of cars, and in those that are left in some of your older large cities such as Chicago and New York, no doubt few if any residents own cars, and if they did they really would have no place to put them. But sooner or later I believe these zoning codes are going to have to be relaxed; maybe it would take the modern equivalent of the Hoovervilles to get the job done.  It is also going to take some folks who are passionate on the issue whose desire and ambition help to assert the movement and get the ball rolling. Caution: He, she, them will need to be careful of taking something personally and losing the temper.

Have often wondered whether zoning laws are less strict in smaller cities and towns away from the large urban centers, where the influence of big money isn't so great.

If anything, smaller town America is more not less deferential to these voluntary restrictive covenants.  Whether the power of contract will overcome social pressure will be determined pretty soon, I think.  Much of this HOA type activity had pretty nasty underpinnings, and the courts might decide that some contracts can be broken by the state if they're "inimical to good order" or some such reasoning.  Zoning is even les secure, since it's a public activity already.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
Reply
#11
(08-10-2019, 10:40 AM)Marypoza Wrote: Oh l dunno. Human decency... Concern & care 4 1 another.... Helping each other out & sticking up 4 each other.. Stuff like that

Oh you optimist you!  Angel Big Grin
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
Reply
#12
Telephone numbers with names at the beginning of them - like PLaza 9-1717, which was the number of WMCA's "Call For Action" line 50 years ago. Philadelphia's WFIL, which was right next door to WMCA on the AM dial (560 to WMCA's 570), had its own "Call For Action" line, whose number was GReenwood 7-5312.
"It was better with them that were slain by the sword, than with them that died with hunger, for these pined away being consumed for want of the fruits of the earth" - Lamentations 4:9
Reply
#13
(08-10-2019, 09:57 AM)beechnut79 Wrote: On item 1, we still have not moved beyond excessive divisiveness, and in fact I feel it has increased. Following the Big Band Era (which was preceded by the Jazz Age), there was the rock 'n roll era headed by Elvis, Buddy Holly, etc. Then along came solo dance crazes led by the twist, followed by the psychedelic era led by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, et al. After that was the disco era which, although short-lived created its share of backlash, followed then by the even shorter-lived Urban Cowboy crazes which spawned such classics as Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. Not many cultural institutions of that nature have come along ever since, the closest probably being the country line dance crazed led by Brooks and Dunn.

As far as dance crazes go, don't forget the acid house/rave scene of the late 80s and 90s, and while it was bigger in the Uk than in the states, you could still go to many a US downtown nightclub and dance to these beats.  Boomers at that time in America may have been doing country line dances, but for younger people the dance scene looked more like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=648UkmmTG5w

Have we ever really had an omnibus culture, though?  The dance halls of the Big Band era were typically segregated by class and race, and often the music would differ.

Reply
#14
(08-01-2019, 04:34 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: 4. more reliance upon the liberal arts in education as a means of improving the lives of adults who might get something out of them other than vocational opportunity. The tragedy is not the welder who has a liberal arts degree; the tragedy is an accountant or engineer who sees the world only as economic metrics even if those metrics are people.

I often regret that I did not get much of a liberal arts education. I feel like I missed out on learning the classics and getting a full appreciation of Western culture. Most of what I do know is self-taught but there are many gaps - that is obvious to me. But then, with my tech degree I have been able to do well for myself in the economy, so my life just underscores this whole issue of how in the modern world the citizen has been transformed into a plug-in economic unit.
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
Reply
#15
(08-17-2019, 08:32 AM)sbarrera Wrote:
(08-01-2019, 04:34 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: 4. more reliance upon the liberal arts in education as a means of improving the lives of adults who might get something out of them other than vocational opportunity. The tragedy is not the welder who has a liberal arts degree; the tragedy is an accountant or engineer who sees the world only as economic metrics even if those metrics are people.

I often regret that I did not get much of a liberal arts education. I feel like I missed out on learning the classics and getting a full appreciation of Western culture. Most of what I do know is self-taught but there are many gaps - that is obvious to me. But then, with my tech degree I have been able to do well for myself in the economy, so my life just underscores this whole issue of how in the modern world the citizen has been transformed into a plug-in economic unit.

I'm a techie too, so my liberal arts education was also limited.  I've tried to fill in the gaps, but even areas I though I knew reasonably well, I still find  intriguing new material -- some downright shocking.  

The NY Times is running a series of stories called the 1619 Project.  The stories run the gamut rom familiar to surprising.  This one is in the second category: In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.  We all assume that modern capitalism rose in the industrial north.  This article argues effectively that it arose in the plantation south, and many of the assumptions from that time still apply.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
Reply
#16
(08-10-2019, 09:57 AM)beechnut79 Wrote:
(08-01-2019, 04:34 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: 1. an omnibus culture that can unite people across lines of age, region, ethnicity, religion, and level of formal education. Cinema seems headed that way (we are in the 80th anniversary of the most admired year in American cinema), but there is no obvious equivalent of the Big Band Era.

2. more reliance upon thrift, instead of upon printing money, to facilitate investment and the formation of businesses -- and consumer spending. Thrift of course depends upon people making real money for their efforts, which implies...

3. a return to at the least the real wages that people knew in the 1970s. Technology and productivity support such, but monopolists and bureaucratic elites take even more than the economic growth since then.

4. more reliance upon the liberal arts in education as a means of improving the lives of adults who might get something out of them other than vocational opportunity. The tragedy is not the welder who has a liberal arts degree; the tragedy is an accountant or engineer who sees the world only as economic metrics even if those metrics are people.

On item 1, we still have not moved beyond excessive divisiveness, and in fact I feel it has increased. Following the Big Band Era (which was preceded by the Jazz Age), there was the rock 'n roll era headed by Elvis, Buddy Holly, etc. Then along came solo dance crazes led by the twist, followed by the psychedelic era led by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, et al. After that was the disco era which, although short-lived created its share of backlash, followed then by the even shorter-lived Urban Cowboy crazes which spawned such classics as Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. Not many cultural institutions of that nature have come along ever since, the closest probably being the country line dance crazed led by Brooks and Dunn.

On item 2, the PTB have been leading us away from thrift for many years now. Part of the reason I believe was that Boomers in their growing up years soundly rejected anything GI, and that includes thrift. The earlier generation lived through the Great Depression which helped them to practice that. But there is irony here too in that it was this generation that paved the way for the ever increasing fetish for ever increasing convenience and also the trend of eating more and more of their food away from home. Some here have forecasted that when this crisis reached the serious stage there will be immense sacrifices asked of many of us, far beyond, say, giving up chocolate for Lent.

On  item 3, there are other issues here such as wages alone. And while you are seeing higher wages offered at fast food and other similar businesses, that all does have to go into the price of the product, and one must wonder whether in due time that could translate to less business and also increasing automation in much the same way that union wages in industry eventually pushed it out of the country.

On item 4, the issue you describe is today affecting all levels of the society, not only those heavily involved in the STEM disciplines. Which in turn made liars out of a lot of futurists who were almost certain that all the advanced technology that almost all of us now kneel at the feet of would produce a society of ever increasing leisure. Not only do most people no longer take vacations, they don't participate that much in meaningful hobbies either. As an example many bowling alleys have closed and traditional service organizations such as the Rotary have been on the wane for years.

I connected #2 and #3 but not #1 and #4. An omnibus culture depends upon entertainment that succeeds at multiple levels. Truth be told, the liberal arts are almost omnibus in themselves. The problem is that they are not for everyone; they are for adults of at least average intelligence or for children who already have adult-level sophistication. The best and brightest kids in America get pushed as early as possible into STEM at the expense of learning the liberal arts that could make life more meaningful and less absurd.

Culture is not in our genes. Western classical music is highly popular in Japan and South Korea (the North-- who needs such when one can instead be connected to the incessant glorification of the Kim dynasty? That is an omnibus culture, but a nightmare!) Donald Trump is German and Scots in origin, and I see no affinity to J S Bach or Robert Burns. But people with an affinity for JS Bach and Robert Burns can as easily love Giacomo Puccini and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Entertainment is a commodity to be created and marketed just like clothing and cars, and it can be similarly expensive. It is possible to spend as much on cable TV as on car payments... why? Marx called religion the opiate of the masses, but at least religion could promote ethical values and give some modicum of comfort to people in distress. Mass low entertainment does neither. If religion has the potential of bringing comfort to the afflicted and improving the values of the common man as can a temporary narcotic for killing some pain, mass low culture is the equivalent of a heroin habit. How much entertainment can one use?

Back to #1... mass low culture promotes divisiveness in American life. Maybe we are seeing some trends in cinema, but... it certainly divides people by age and region, if not ethnicity.

#2... thrift implies people taking responsibility for making their lives good, planning for emergencies, and some delights in old age. The IRAs end up going to feed the nursing home industry which catches those people who do not die suddenly and cleanly of fatal strokes or accidents. The GI surprise of being able to do some foreign travel and have a nice car for some road trips in one's still-active lare sixties and early seventies or the planned lives of well-off Silent may not be trickling down.

It is easy to lose everything. Poverty has become much closer to the norm for most Americans, and work is no escape. Poverty does not simply means that one gets deprived of excessive indulgence; poverty dehumanizes, brutalizes, and maims life. An economy that has as its basis the assumption that 95% of the people exist solely to enrich 1% of the population degrades most people. Maybe some people can have some snobbish Schadenfreude that others are getting hurt worse and somehow deserve it or whose plight is outside of their concern, but that itself is a fraud.

#3. Low wages have always been an objective of the dominant class, whether feudal lords, planters, capitalists, or a Soviet-style nomenklatura.  Maybe we can justify low wages among fast-food workers because their work is at best something that people outgrow -- until one finds that many of the people doing that work are middle-aged. People go back to it when the industrial plant folds and there is nothing left but that.

Disappearing human work (and wages) can result from the rise of robot work. A solution that I have is to tax it heavily by taxing the profits that robot production creates so that people who cannot get manufacturing or clerical jobs can share in the wealth. Higher profits from technological advances have not trickled down -- and might never trickle down. Maybe we need to tax the generation of information on the Internet, even if that information is little more than the bilge of clickbait articles on celebrities. The literal publishing of books and newspapers is in decline.

#4. What other alternative can one see to the pervasive emptiness that appears in so many lives? Just do more work as if such were leisure, even if it causes one to die a little every day?
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#17
People are free to consume as much culture as they want in their spare time. In fact, this has become way easier with the internet and esp. youtube.
Reply
#18
(08-19-2019, 07:57 PM)Hintergrund Wrote: People are free to consume as much culture as they want in their spare time. In fact, this has become way easier with the internet and esp. youtube.

True, but knowing what to look for is the trick, and one available solely through formal education. Example:





The music might grab you if you hear it... the generic title 

Franz Schubert: Quintet in C Major, Op. 163, D. 956

won't, especially if you typically fall for "Baby, baby -- I need your love" or something similarly blatant.

I grew out of pop music about as I reached college age, which is when disco (Yuck!) hit the scene.  
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#19
(08-20-2019, 08:47 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(08-19-2019, 07:57 PM)Hintergrund Wrote: People are free to consume as much culture as they want in their spare time. In fact, this has become way easier with the internet and esp. youtube.

True, but knowing what to look for is the trick, and one available solely through formal education. Example:





The music might grab you if you hear it... the generic title 

Franz Schubert: Quintet in C Major, Op. 163, D. 956

won't, especially if you typically fall for "Baby, baby -- I need your love" or something similarly blatant.

I grew out of pop music about as I reached college age, which is when disco (Yuck!) hit the scene.  
I grew to love country music about that same time, around when psychedelia hit the air waves, mostly because you can understand the lyrics which usually tell a great story. And when "country wasn't cool" (that didn't happen until the Urban Cowboy craze, which was even briefer than disco, hit ca. 1980), established country stations such as WJJD here in Chicago played a much wider variety of songs than did the pop stations of the time. But about ten years later they too went with much tighter playlists and repetition of songs. That's why I am thankful for the likes of YouTube and also recorded CDs where I can control what I listen to. As one who writes lyrics myself I am always interested in where the inspiration for songs comes from.
Reply
#20
Wow that would be a long list!

Growing up on classical, I seem to be the reverse of you on that, Mr Beechnut. Psychedelia was wonderful, and country not so much. And to me, psychedelia was Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish electric music for the mind and body, The Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows, even Suzanne by Judy Collins, Witchi Tai To by Everything is Everything, and even The Who, and Lee Mallory, and not so much the raucous, jarring stuff like Janis, Jimi and Led Zeppelin. Music, sound, melody, arrangements, rhythm, atmosphere and memory conveyed, all through the music, not the lyrics. Lyrics are good too though; everything contributes to a good song. But good music, that goes beyond songs, to symphonies, concertos, toccatas, fugues, and psychedelia instrumentals, and ambient new age music. These days, and maybe forever, I resonate far more to sensitive sounds and sights that kindle imagination and memory and are like gentle breezes in fresh air and cool mountain streams and lagoons and the vast ocean, and which stir my heart and recall authentic experience which is so rare. Words alone are just symbols for the music, not the music itself. The music changes your consciousness, awakens you to higher realities. Music is the handmaiden of spirituality and religion, and so are the other arts like painting, sculpture and architecture. But no doubt great works of literature and writing are noble and uplifting to the imagination as well. I like to see creative ferment revived.

I always like it when a trend toward good music is revived. Even when a teenie bopper star like Justin Bieber can put out such a poignant, melodious, well-orchestrated and performed song like "Pray," It gives me hope when that happens that pop culture can be culture, and that creativity is alive when so often it is not in commercial society. When people by the millions resonated to the possibilities of expanding consciousness through LSD or through Eastern meditation or human potential movements, and got together and shared love on such a mass scale that I could even see it not only at a big festival, but even just happening in a college registration line on campus, and could go to San Francisco and see people living in new ways and decorating their houses and their bodies artfully.

So much to be revived. When people rise up and remember people power and start revolutions, and once in a while they actually succeed for a while, that's a great revival. When people rise up and support causes and good candidates, that moves the country forward. And a country that can dedicate itself to common projects, even in the arts as well as economic boosts to those in need, and space programs and such too.

I'd love to see cathedral and temple building revived, with the soaring columns and the stained glass, and with beautiful organ music like Bach played, helping us aspire to the divine heights. Great temples were built all over the world in many religious traditions, without the benefit of the construction technology and computers we have today, and yet we think beauty is some graphics on a computer screen, and all we care about is how well we can make things work. I don't think temples and beautiful paintings and crafts are out of date, and I like to see it revived. And the dedication people felt to their spiritual traditions and prophets, the devotion they showed in their monastic life, their pilgrimages, their ceremonies and in their building projects, all over the world. The amazing beauty of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions and the art of Bali and the other Oriental arts, I always like to see them practiced and revived. There's a lot of richness in those cultures, and in cultures all over the world.

People can always peruse my website at http://philosopherswheel.com to see what I like to "revive," and my site http://philosopherswheel.com/ericrock.html has my list of what was truly mind-expanding and heart-stirring in the music of the psychedelic and rock/folk era. Some of the links actually still work!
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)