Thursday, December 31, 2009

Either I Post It Here, Or I Start Hitting People With Baseball Bats

OK, listen up, people, because I'm only going to say this once.

If you think that entertainment has gotten too violent, remember that the most popular public spectacle was once watching a dog and a bear try to kill each other.

If you think that civility has vanished from American culture, remember that insults used to be settled with an exchange of gunfire from twenty paces.

If you think that politics has gotten more polarized, remember that there was a point in American history where one Senator beat another into unconsciousness. On the Senate floor.

If you think that the Fifties were an era of shiny optimism, remember that one of its most prominent poets described the time with the phrase, "I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," and that lynching wasn't prosecuted.

If you think that everything got better in the Sixties, remember that Kennedy started Vietnam.

If you seriously think that the Great Depression was some kind of noble, decent era in American history...why do you think they called it "The Great Depression"?

If you think that athletes are no longer the great role models they once were for our nation's youth, remember that Mickey Mantle drank like a fish, Ty Cobb was a racist, and the White Sox took money to throw a World Series in 1919.

If you think that people are getting dumber, remember that people used to think you could cure infirmity by cutting someone open and pouring out their blood by the cupful.

If you think that people have become sinful and immoral, remember that prostitution was legal in America until around the start of World War I, and that the President's mistress published a memoir of their extramarital affair in 1928.

If you think that people used to be more patriotic, remember the CIVIL WAR.

If you think that somehow the world used to be a better, happier, cheerier, more joyful place than it once was, and that it's getting worse, and the decline of civilization is just around the corner...you just don't know enough history. Until you do, learn more and talk less.

4 comments:

acechan said...

As someone who has, in fact, studied a fair bit of history--

THANK YOU.

JD Atlanta said...

Moving from Time to Space:

If you think that America invented racism, learn a little more about the Roma in Europe today (so-called "Gypsies"), or the native peoples of Japan, or the roots of the tragedy in Rwanda. Or just poke your finger on a map of the world, and read some unbiased history of that place.

And if you think that politics are polarized in America, check out Korea - where lawmakers regularly get in fistfights on the floor of their congress, in the year 2010. And Korea is a GOOD place, relative to most of the world.

And if you think that America is insensitive to the rights of gays, then Google "Gay" and "Jamaicia." Or "Gay" and "China." Or "Gay" and ...

If you think that the "elite" are too powerful in America, look to Italy, where the Prime Minister owns all the important media outlets, and pressures the others, while making it illegal to prosecute him for any crimes. Or France, where almost everyone with any pull went to the same university. Ah, liberal, egalatarian Europe!

And if you think that the above in no way excuses the failings of America ... you're right. But we live in what may be the best time and best place in all of history and all of the world. Pissing & moaning will only do so much to improve it - you have to praise the good, too. And burning it all down to start over will only result in tears.

Loyd Jenkins said...

You mean people have always been people? There was a time that Presidents were called apes, stupid, liars and worse. All of these were applied to Abraham Lincoln after his election.

History is something that can open our eyes, if we look at the truth.

chiasaur11 said...

So, it was a remarkably good time, it was in general a better than, or at least good as, average time?

Gotta say, I can't see that selling too many books.