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Author Topic: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept  (Read 2277 times)

Rob C

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Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« on: September 05, 2017, 10:10:50 AM »

I'm given to the belief that you could largely blame the shops, or, rather, those who run 'em.

In the goode olde days, when men worked and women stayed at home bringing up the family, keeping the home fire burning (presumably only in winter) and the food natural, there was fairly full employment, fewer prisons existed and there was always room within them for those in need of a socially-sponsored vacation.

And hire-purchase didn't exist.

Then things began to change. Buying stuff you couldn't really afford became the norm: everybody got into debt to some degree; women then had to find work in order to rescue the family and keep the bailiffs away; men began to find themselves in competition with women in the workplace and that tended to keep wages down - especially for the women. Other men became afraid of the women who turned out to be more intelligent than they were, and unnatural workplace sexual competiton became a sour note undermining society. Perhaps it was a subliminal, unconsciously applied way of making the working life feel too uncomfortable for some of those women to remain...

The more women who worked, the greater the stock of working people grew. In a sense, more money was being circulated, and so came the opportunity to sell more and raise prices down the chain to meet the new incomes available for the milking.

As nobody stayed at home anymore, so other people found jobs looking after the kids who would otherwise be abandoned with a glass of milk, a sandwich and a tv set. Pretty much as with cats, litter trays optional. That paying for these minders took away so much of what the newly working spouse earned didn't seem to be noticed...

Just like guns, then: the more you have the more intractable the situation becomes. Norman Rockwell wasn't popular by accident: he touched upon the happy lifestyle that almost everybody wanted to have. And they still do, only their own greed and that of those who pander to their appetites has denied it to them. You get what you sow.

Imagine: had that attempted and typically Turkish delight - aka coup d'état - happened earlier, we'd probably, as Brits, still have the entire European continent and its services ours for the enjoyment of, imminent travelling bogeymen driven far from popular myth and fear. Even more ironically, after we leave, the rest of them seem interested in reducing the power of the central structure somewhat, returning more say to the individual nations... you couldn't make up such irony; you wouldn't. Perfect British timing.

As I mentioned, reaping and sowing follow an impartial, immutable natural rhythm.

The record crowds of tourists filling the port make me happy to live over a klick from the sea. The sewerage system is holding up locally, but appears a little over-enthusiastic closer to the beach! Happy days! Aren't blue flags reassuringly deceitful? But it's September; soon the crowds will be no more and peace and quiet the norm. I think I enjoy that.

graeme

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2017, 10:22:59 AM »

Ahh the Good Old Days.

My Great Grandmother was in service as a housekeeper at 9 years of age. Look at what my poor nieces have missed out on.  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

PS. My Great Grandmother's Great Granddaughters ( that I know of ): One in management at the Open University who writes in her spare time ( one of her short stories made it onto Radio 4 a couple of years ago ), one running her own advertising firm, one clinical psychologist & another one high up in management in the british arm of a multinational. Obviously they'd all be better off at home in burkhas.

The Great Grandsons have done OK as well, except for the semi alcoholic ner-do-well with shitty teeth, but we won't go there ::)
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 10:37:39 AM by graeme »
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Otto Phocus

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2017, 11:07:36 AM »

I can recommend the book : The Good Old Days: They Were Terrible! (1974)by Otto Bettmann

Nostalgia is comforting mental illness that allows us to remember the good and forget the bad.
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opgr

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2017, 12:01:05 PM »

Nostalgia is comforting mental illness that allows us to remember the good and forget the bad.

But that doesn't explain why we don't see the world "improve" as we grow older, despite technological and economical advances. There seems to be something seriously wrong with our metrics.
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Oscar

Otto Phocus

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2017, 12:11:16 PM »

I guess a good start would be to define "improve" and determine how to objectively measure it.

Not exactly an easy thing to do.
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Rob C

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2017, 03:34:14 PM »

On the contrary; I think Oscar has hit it right on the head. It's what I think I have been writing about here.

Quite obviously those who judge everything by monetary return won't see this; they had better not, or they might discover what they have thrown away without knowing.

As for women reaching great heights in business and commerce, that's a good thing, but then you have to accept that those same women have to choose between motherhood - with all its demands, rewards and connotations - and a great career, wherein the difficulty resides. (I know a couple of women in the big money stream; one, already churning it in, doesn't get home until after nine - if she's lucky; the other has to face all sorts of stress and will have a few years of that before it all gets very comfortable (I hope). As they are family, I have discussed the babies aspect with them, and it makes them very uncomfortable because they know there's no easy route to doing both well: work and motherhood. Nobody, however well educated, can have everything.) I can tell you this: there was nothing like ringing home from the studio, after midnight sometimes, and coming home to a wonderfully cooked steak, some broccoli and potaoes, the company of a sweet wife and then bed, forgetting all about the goddam print delivery first thing next morning, which was why I was still working after midnight in the first place. It simply proves how invaluable the right wife is, and how many of them really are the power behind the throne. I couldn't have functioned without mine. And if you're still not convinced the olde days were better, consider this: if I were to attempt those same meals today, any time after about three in the afternoon, I'd  be up all night fighting for my breath against death from acid reflux asphyxiation. ;-)

That same wife had the time to go play tennis, swim with friends or just chat with friends about whatever women chat about with other women, which as far as I could tell sure as hell wasn't photography! Goode oldies? Sure, that's why they are called that - unless you thought they couldn't have existed. In which case, you'd be mistaken. Managing leisure is just as difficult as managing work: some can screw up both.

But bringing in the lifestyles of two centuries ago in attemps to make some comparisons with today is just a false analogy: apart from a few zillionaires, everybody eat crap, both from the kitchen and at work.

I think we really did reach an apotheosis during the fifties and sixties. Come to think of it, the personal one also falls quite often betwen one's forties and mid-sixties. On the youthful limit, you're all the person you'll probably ever be, and on the other, you will soon hit that friggin' slow but ever more slippery path to the end.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 03:55:46 PM by Rob C »
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Telecaster

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2017, 04:15:37 PM »

I suspect every society reaches an overall peak—which is hardly seen and experienced by everyone within it as a peak at all—after which complacency, grievance (whether justified or not) and backlash conspire to corrode societal institutions and structures. Then the society withers away slowly or collapses abruptly or something in between. At the same time new societies form, with varying structures and intentions, and some of them turn out to be vibrant enough that they eventually reach their own peaks. Lather, rinse, repeat. Considering that it took homo sapiens ~150,000 years to develop the first technological (agriculture!) large-scale societies, this will likely be the playbook for some time to come.

-Dave-
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James Clark

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2017, 10:08:48 PM »

On the contrary; I think Oscar has hit it right on the head. It's what I think I have been writing about here.

Quite obviously those who judge everything by monetary return won't see this; they had better not, or they might discover what they have thrown away without knowing.

As for women reaching great heights in business and commerce, that's a good thing, but then you have to accept that those same women have to choose between motherhood - with all its demands, rewards and connotations - and a great career, wherein the difficulty resides. (I know a couple of women in the big money stream; one, already churning it in, doesn't get home until after nine - if she's lucky; the other has to face all sorts of stress and will have a few years of that before it all gets very comfortable (I hope). As they are family, I have discussed the babies aspect with them, and it makes them very uncomfortable because they know there's no easy route to doing both well: work and motherhood. Nobody, however well educated, can have everything.) I can tell you this: there was nothing like ringing home from the studio, after midnight sometimes, and coming home to a wonderfully cooked steak, some broccoli and potaoes, the company of a sweet wife and then bed, forgetting all about the goddam print delivery first thing next morning, which was why I was still working after midnight in the first place. It simply proves how invaluable the right wife is, and how many of them really are the power behind the throne. I couldn't have functioned without mine. And if you're still not convinced the olde days were better, consider this: if I were to attempt those same meals today, any time after about three in the afternoon, I'd  be up all night fighting for my breath against death from acid reflux asphyxiation. ;-)

That same wife had the time to go play tennis, swim with friends or just chat with friends about whatever women chat about with other women, which as far as I could tell sure as hell wasn't photography! Goode oldies? Sure, that's why they are called that - unless you thought they couldn't have existed. In which case, you'd be mistaken. Managing leisure is just as difficult as managing work: some can screw up both.

But bringing in the lifestyles of two centuries ago in attemps to make some comparisons with today is just a false analogy: apart from a few zillionaires, everybody eat crap, both from the kitchen and at work.

I think we really did reach an apotheosis during the fifties and sixties. Come to think of it, the personal one also falls quite often betwen one's forties and mid-sixties. On the youthful limit, you're all the person you'll probably ever be, and on the other, you will soon hit that friggin' slow but ever more slippery path to the end.

Maybe the UK things were different.  Here in the USA we still didn't allow black Americans to eat at the same G__D___ lunch table, and a woman was more likely to get a smack on the ass at work than meaningful consideration.  (This is why, incidentally, some of us get so bent when we feel like a segment of the population actually seems to believe things were better then.  They may have been - for a select part of the populace, but that's grossly ignorant of some parts of that society.) 

By the way - is "hire-purchase" the same as "financing?"
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 10:13:45 PM by James Clark »
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Alan Klein

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2017, 10:19:58 PM »

The world doesn't get better or worse.  We do. 
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2017, 11:57:07 PM »

...hings were better then.  They may have been - for a select part of the populace...

Small select part, like... 80-90%?

kikashi

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2017, 03:34:19 AM »

By the way - is "hire-purchase" the same as "financing?"

Broadly, yes, but in the UK at least it comes in several forms, all phenomenally tightly regulated.

Jeremy
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Chairman Bill

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2017, 03:49:27 AM »

Nostalgia is comforting mental illness that allows us to remember the good and forget the bad.

Ah, nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Rob C

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2017, 04:47:10 AM »

Maybe the UK things were different.  Here in the USA we still didn't allow black Americans to eat at the same G__D___ lunch table, and a woman was more likely to get a smack on the ass at work than meaningful consideration.  (This is why, incidentally, some of us get so bent when we feel like a segment of the population actually seems to believe things were better then.  They may have been - for a select part of the populace, but that's grossly ignorant of some parts of that society.) 

By the way - is "hire-purchase" the same as "financing?"


I am sure it was a very different thing for many within the UK.

For starters, we didn't have any blacks that you'd notice until the Caribbean peoples came in, and with them a unique form of music, gangsterism and drugs. The only blacks most Brits saw were GIs who came with gum, cigarettes and access to nylons, great music; quickly and unexpectedly as they came they mostly departed. Straight after the war we had an influx of people from India and Pakistan - same reasons, basically: empire and its decline, with most attendant responsibilities honoured, but within a small land mass incapable of easy assimilation of the volume that wanted into it. That wasn't very noticeable up in Scotland, but southern England - the London area and just north of it, became a very alien place to many of the people who'd spent the war years there. The famous/infamous Rivers of Blood speech wasn't made in a vacuum, where it would have held no relevance.

I find it quite extraordinary that a nation whose favourite meal out is curry, that frequents Italian, Spanish and - if it can afford it - French restaurants at home in the UK - simultaneously finds itself capable of hatred through ballot, of the very same people. But there you go: the compartmentalizing of mind, deed and thought into mutually incompatible boxes.

Hire-purchase: that was where you put so much money down, and signed the next few years away with monthly payments at a fine rate of interest. My accountant always tried to get me to buy our cars that way, because it meant a better tax situation. However, I only did it twice, preferring to be able to put down a cheque and walk away, owning something outright. The two times I followed his advice I ran into the usual freelance problem of variable income. No, I didn't default, but neither did I enjoy the additional pressure brought about by debt at the very same time as work was getting shorter. It's really the personal experience that drives me to think that debt is never a good idea, not some theoretical consideration about it.

So in the States, the whites inherited the penalty for their previous sins, just as has Britain and much of Europe for the same reasons. Now, asking today's black people in America and Europe whether they'd welcome free repatriation isn't, I imagine, going to get a lot of takers. Which really illustrates just how complex and infinitely variable nationalism, roots and all of that stuff can be. Is it better a ghetto in LA than one in Africa? Of course, that's not to say that all black people live in dumps. I imagine we have as many whites in similar situations all over the globe. Would I feel any the more happy wandering alone through a rundown, white housing estate in some UK city than doing the same in America? I very much doubt it. The fear isn't colour; the fear is of the undeveloped, drugged mind of any instantaneously combustible personality that may decide it wants your shoes, and rather than asking, sticks a knife in your ribs.

And why is the black population within a white nation considered a problem? Because of visual differences, frequent physical superiority and its physical threat; widely mooted sexual prowess and the thought of one's own family getting into a marital combination with what many see as a different species of mankind. No, this isn't a pretty picture to paint or to view, but that doesn't mean it isn't there, that it is a flight of imagination. The music industry does little to help, either, with its videos of rappers making out with white/very pale-coloured female sex-slaves or "bitches". Whether this is to appeal to back buyers or to whites, I don't know. I have no way of knowing if back males really like white females any better than those of their own pigmentaion - in videos they are made to appear cheap, almost prostitute-like. Is it vengeance for lynchings past? Then there's crime: are the statistics stacked? Do blacks get stopped more often than whites, and if so, could it be because they have a higher likelihood of being caught carrying something illegal? More Middle Eastern-looking people get hassled at airports than the others; as they are the ones most likely to be jihadists, is it wrong on PC grounds to stop them more than other types?

Indeed, it could well be - it is - the case that the perfect Rockwell scenario applies not to everybody; it never has and never can if only becuase we humans are not machine-made. That's why we are all different and anything but equal. Some of us are geniuses and some total plonkers. I've know all sorts, and still have no real idea where, within that scheme if things, I really belong myself.

But the thing is, I feel little sense of responsibility for the fellow human who doesn't try. Trying and failing is not a disgrace; the disgrace is in not trying, and as consequence, blaming society for one's own shit. If anything, the nonsense disseminated by the PC/political crowd, that everybody is wonderful and equally worthy, is at the root of the problem because, when somebody tries and falls on their ass, they have already been conditioned to think themselves wonderful and so it has to be an unbeatable plot that's keeping them back and down. That can easily prevent them picking themselves up again, something also far easier to do in youth than later.

It used to be held that education was key. Well, for a long time it probably was, but what about the situation today where all graduates no longer find themselves holding the automatic key to a life of full employment - indeed, many remain unemployed long after they leave university. I believe that's partly due to the recent emphasis on further education which, ironically, seems to starve us of many tradespeople actually able to do what their job is meant to be. We need plumbers and electricians, carpenters and mechanics as much today as ever, but they are in short supply. Why? I believe because they are diverted into a fruitless pursuit of an education, and the classy jobs from that that they will never get.

When I stated working life I was one of hundreds of apprentices in a company group; I'm told that situation is almost extinct today, leading to shortages of skilled, native engineers, with the shortfall made good via the importation of foreign people who do have those missing skills. So are they welcomed? They end up hated, and turned into the devils that have brought us down.

So much for logic and common sense when nationality and politics can step in and make hay out of it all.

Rob

« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 04:53:28 AM by Rob C »
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Otto Phocus

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2017, 09:02:52 AM »

Perhaps the "good old days" (what ever that means) was good if you were a white man.

Back then minorities knew their place and knew not to get uppity.
Women understood that their place was in the home breeding and gaining their self-actualization by providing her husband with a pleasant life.

That's awesome.  As a white man, I would love to live in that fantasy land.  But what about other perspectives?

What about from the viewpoint of the minority?  The black man with aspirations and ability for becoming a doctor only to be told to be a good boy and take that job in the warehouse and be thankful.  How good were the "good old days" for minorities?  Perhaps not as good as it was for white men.

What about from the viewpoint of women?  The women who may not have wanted a husband (maybe they wanted a girlfriend?); who may not have wanted children; who wanted self-actualization to come from her own accomplishments and not just from being Mrs. Jones.  Being chuckled at while in school "No, Sally, you can't be a scientist, you need to find a good husband and settle down". It was not that long ago that women were not allowed to get their own credit without their husbands permission.  And a single woman?  Good luck getting credit at all.  How good were the good old days for women?  Perhaps not as good as it was for white men.

The good old days were always good... if you were on the top.

If you weren't, then perhaps the good old days weren't so good after all.

With all the problems we have on our current times, I would still much rather be living today than back in the fictional "good old days".   I appreciate the struggles of my parents during the "good old days".
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RSL

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2017, 12:21:32 PM »

Otto, do you know who Walter Williams is? You might want to look him up and read what he's written about growing up black in Harlem. It was a different world all right. A better world.

Where blacks suffered was in the deep south, and it was a political problem caused by people like Orval Faubus and his KKK Democrat clones. Then good ol' LBJ got legislation passed that allowed women to live off taxpayers so that no man was needed in the household. That sounded great. After all, we were "helping" single black women with children, and the more children they had the more taxpayer money they got. What do you suppose the result of that was? Blacks now suffer the results of the broken homes caused by that kind of legislation. And the stupidity continues and intensifies.

kikashi

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2017, 02:53:50 PM »

I find it quite extraordinary that a nation whose favourite meal out is curry, that frequents Italian, Spanish and - if it can afford it - French restaurants at home in the UK - simultaneously finds itself capable of hatred through ballot, of the very same people.

Rob, assuming you are referring to the Brexit vote, that's a superficial and inaccurate view of the motivation that drove most of those who voted to leave. There's no hatred of foreigners - no more than in any other country, anyway.

Jeremy
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James Clark

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2017, 03:08:33 PM »

Otto, do you know who Walter Williams is? You might want to look him up and read what he's written about growing up black in Harlem. It was a different world all right. A better world.

Where blacks suffered was in the deep south, and it was a political problem caused by people like Orval Faubus and his KKK Democrat clones. Then good ol' LBJ got legislation passed that allowed women to live off taxpayers so that no man was needed in the household. That sounded great. After all, we were "helping" single black women with children, and the more children they had the more taxpayer money they got. What do you suppose the result of that was? Blacks now suffer the results of the broken homes caused by that kind of legislation. And the stupidity continues and intensifies.

Walter E. Williams, the GMU professor and author?
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Rob C

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2017, 03:19:13 PM »

Rob, assuming you are referring to the Brexit vote, that's a superficial and inaccurate view of the motivation that drove most of those who voted to leave. There's no hatred of foreigners - no more than in any other country, anyway.

Jeremy


Really? The first reaction was the murder of a poor old Pole in England; the chanting of "go home" at the school gates was also flavour of the month or of the three-minute-mind.

Try telling that to folks in south Glasgow, where the area just next to Shawlands has become a Roma bastion... come on, be real Jeremy; the upmarket (very) area of Pollokshields has gone heavily Asian and that has affected a lot of people - and schools - there. There is a huge amount of dislike, and sadly, though it (Brexit) isn't going to change a goddam thing because much of that came quite apart from the European Experiment, all resentment gets mixed up in the public mind with Europe. And let's say this: Scotland voted strongly to remain! How the bulk of the numbers-making rest of England saw the matter is quite clear from the result.

But hey, hatred is no stranger in Britain: just think football teams. Just think the class system. Just think the educated and the non.

;-)

Rob

opgr

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2017, 04:06:21 PM »

I'm thinking of a couple of interesting dilemmas:

What would you rather have?
1. Racial segregation but economic equality
2. Racial equality but economic injustice
(You can substitute "racial" with "gender" or whatever else is deemed philosophically relevant)

Or

Is an economic injustice acceptable for some minority if it results in equality for the vast majority?
(Minority as in random number of people, but also as in racial minority, or perhaps sexual preference minority, etc)
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Rob C

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Re: Norman Rockwell Might Have Wept
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2017, 04:07:49 PM »

Perhaps the "good old days" (what ever that means) was good if you were a white man.

Back then minorities knew their place and knew not to get uppity.
Women understood that their place was in the home breeding and gaining their self-actualization by providing her husband with a pleasant life.

That's awesome.  As a white man, I would love to live in that fantasy land.  But what about other perspectives?

What about from the viewpoint of the minority?  The black man with aspirations and ability for becoming a doctor only to be told to be a good boy and take that job in the warehouse and be thankful.  How good were the "good old days" for minorities?  Perhaps not as good as it was for white men.

What about from the viewpoint of women?  The women who may not have wanted a husband (maybe they wanted a girlfriend?); who may not have wanted children; who wanted self-actualization to come from her own accomplishments and not just from being Mrs. Jones.  Being chuckled at while in school "No, Sally, you can't be a scientist, you need to find a good husband and settle down". It was not that long ago that women were not allowed to get their own credit without their husbands permission.  And a single woman?  Good luck getting credit at all.  How good were the good old days for women?  Perhaps not as good as it was for white men.

The good old days were always good... if you were on the top.

If you weren't, then perhaps the good old days weren't so good after all.

With all the problems we have on our current times, I would still much rather be living today than back in the fictional "good old days".   I appreciate the struggles of my parents during the "good old days".

You're going back to the pre-50s; I think I specified the G.O.Ds as being of the 50s and 60s.

By then, the minorities that seem to occupy so much of your thinking had already discovered the power of the strike; of the socialist party politicians. Sure, being white in a white world would of course be an advantage bestowed by fate. Being from a rich, white family would be even better! What would you suggest doing about that, vis-à-vis the poor white people? Kill all the wealthy?

"I appreciate the struggles of my parents during the "good old days".

Admirable sentiment; would you, though, condemn the rich for doing the same for their own children? Do you not accept that wealth is ever relative? Can you come up with a valid reason why the rich should not try to make life better for their own kids? Wealth does not come without a whole set of problems unknown to the poor. Were it not so, there would be no need for top accountancy firms, no teams of international lawyers would need to exist either. Wealth feeds a huge volume of labour, both highly professional as well as menial.

Women can work if that's their thing (as distinct from financial necessity, which is another ballgame entirely, and seen by myself as a modern scourge) and whether gay or otherwise, they will never escape the child problems associated with the impossibility of comfortably wearing two sets of shoes at the same time, whether as natural parents or adopting ones. I can't remember women writers not existing; women photographers were also pretty successful during the 50s and 60s. Why do you insist in seeing the "housewife" as some kind of downtrodden drudge? That woman can be just as well - or better - educated as or than yourself; it's her choice, or at least, in the G.O.Ds it was!

But hell, I've been through all this stuff already, and if anyone refuses to read it or absorb it, there's little point in my doing it all again now. I'm not interested in creating another Trump-style thread, believe me!

So yeah, the G.O.Ds of my own vision/definition have been defined by two decades where I believe they came to pass; I think they were subsequently destroyed because of greed. It was never my stance that the times before the end of WW2 were wonderful for everybody; no time has ever been wonderful for everybody because as we all know, people are all different and some destined to failure. It just is. It wouldn't matter where in life they began; they'd still screw up and lose it all. And those with the opposite gift will come out of nowhere and do well. You'd be surprised just how much money resides in relatively illiterate hands. Great education may help some; others don't need any of that because they have a nose that reads the scent of the street and takes them to that crock of gold, with or without rainbows.

It seems to me, on rereading your post, that your real concern is not with the existence or otherwise of any G.O.Ds, but of some mythical equality that never was, never can be. We do not all come out of the same mould. We are as different in abilities, desires and emotional makeup as can be imagined. How in the name of anything you think holy can equality exist? And please, don't sell me equality of opportunity; it's exactly the same thing.
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