I made the mistake of reading the newspaper comment section, and it brought to mind a couple of themes. First is how nostalgia distorts things. The tragedies of today resonate way more than the statistics of yesterday. So, you have people who compare the slings and arrows they are currently experiencing or the fire hose of Bad News from around he world on the one hand with the sepia toned memories of yesteryear, relieved of the clutter, chaos, anxiety, and other negativity that accompanied yesteryear as it was actually happening. It’s like thinking that the music of [pick decade] was so much better than today’s music. You’re comparing every song you’re hearing today against only those songs from the 70s or 80s that survived. Sure, “Billie Jean” was pretty catchy, but 40 years later, it’s not all mixed in with Vandenberg’s “Burning Heart.” The latest murder or robbery is pretty disturbing, especially if it happened in town. And it doesn’t really become less disturbing if I quote statistics telling you that violent crime in the U.S. is about half as prevalent now as it was 30 years ago. Things can *feel* worse even when they are objectively better.
The second was what I call cynicism masquerading as wisdom. Culturally, I think we just regard people who perceive or predict gloom and doom as being more serious than people who point out the good or even the stable and mundane. If you predict dangers that don’t materialize, people mostly don’t remember or care. Better safe than sorry, I guess. If you predict sunshine and rainbows prior to a disaster, people will roast you for it. Also, there’s a certain dog-bites-man quality to things working. It’s just not news. Man-bites-dog, on the other hand, deserves a headline. Given that bias for novelty, it’s easy to get the sense that everything is collapsing.
I don’t know that there’s a lot of help for these things. But, the anxiety associated with thinking you live in Fallen Times compared to the good old days isn’t healthy for us. I think the best we can do is probably to be aware of these dynamics, calibrate for them, and adjust our filters accordingly. Also, take a walk and talk to your friends, family, and other real people.
Ahh musical nostalgia, what it means to me two months away from my 65th birthday. My first real musical ( true fiedelity) experience was listening to the first Crosby Stills and Nash album on my Uncle Bills stereo he built and the pioneer headphones he brought back from Vietnam in 1969. It was like a light came on in my head. “Damn this is what music truly sounds like!”. I returned home from St Louis and purchased my first BSR turntable and headphones at the ripe old age of tweleve. Thanks to my older brother Mark I discovered Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd,, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Rush, 3 Dog Night, Jesus Christ Superstar, Woodstock and more. My older brother Luke brought home Queen, Bob Segar, Billy Joel, Kiss and a lot of pop groups .My older sister Nancy was into Simon and Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt, Janes Taylor, Carole King, Carly Simon. and numerous (Pippin, Man of La Mancha, West Side Story, etc) musicals. My parents were big into music so even from a young age we were listening to Dean Martin, Sinatra, Nat King Cole, mom’s musicals, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Bill Cosby’s comedy albums were always a hit. I remember the first times hearing the Cars, the Ramones,etc and I was at the record store the next day to buy their albums.
Music hasn’t changed any over the years from the pleasure it gives people. What changed is how we listen to it. Back when I was growing up we had more time to sit back and listen to music. Now you have unlimited enertainment options and music is just another part of the enertainment juggernaut. Thanks to the unlitmited parent ,school and big money extra curricular activities that take away adolescents listening time. In my opinion music doesn’t impact as many of the kids as much as it did in my generation. That being said my oldest son’s both listen to a wide range of artists. They tend to only listen to the hits and not the whole album thus missing some great hidden gems.
Our phones are where most kids and young adults listen to music and the whole listening experience has changed thanks to the internet. Heck the fidelity is better, you can carry any song in your pocket you desire thanks to Apple, Youtube and numerous other internet sites. A good sound bar on your 40 inch and up television and you have true concert setting without the hazzle of paying big bucks to see your favorite artist. Although there was lots to be said for $5 to $10 concert tickets, since the artists made their major incomes from selling albums thus the concerts were played to promote the alnums not to make money. Made a very cheap date! LOL
America is doing better than you think – The world’s not perfect https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/america-is-doing-better-than-you-think-150727069.html