Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Book of the Month: The Good Old Days - They Were Terrible!

Way back in 1974, Otto Bettmann, of the world-famous Bettmann Archive of photography and images, wrote The Good Old Days - They Were Terrible!. It was intended as a nostrum against what Bettmann saw as an erroneous -- even dangerous --
reliance on the golden years of the past, a nostalgic longing for an America that was somehow...better...than the one of the early 1970s. It turned out he was right, for this longing for a better America past resulted in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and we all know what happened after that.

Now that the Republicans and their Teabagger enablers appear to be in ideological ascendance, and want to "take the country back", this book will provide a sobering look at the kind of country they want to take us back to. Wealthy and corrupt corporations with their tentacles spread over the nation, child labor, horrific working conditions in unhealthy environments for low pay, the absence of food and drug laws that prevent the corporations from poisoning children and women, the suppression -- the outright murder -- of union organizers. It's all in this book, and much more, and it is profusely illustrated with contemporary illustrations from the vast library of the Bettmann Archive.

This book ought to be required reading for every American who longs to take us back to "the good old days"... But, as in most things, I am afraid that the people who really need to read it won't. And even if they did, they would most likely, against all odds, relate to the capitalist pigs who brought about such destruction and not to the vast majority of people who suffer under it. Jeez, just like they do now...


Anonymous said...

When I hear people wishing for the good old days, it's always interesting to see when the 'good old days' were for them.

Usually it turns out to be when they were children - of course the days were good then - they had few if any serious responsibilities.


Anonymous said...

The Good Old Days were always good when you were a kid. Mine were 1985-2001. There was always something good on TV and at the movies, the economy didn't suck, and corporate interests didn't elect functionally-stupid presidents that pissed away our surplus on War and making China rich. 2002-Present can take a train for all I care...