This article on CNN caught my eye this morning:
U.S. in 1955: 'Nobody is mad with nobody'. Author Bob Greene is writing about an article published in Life magazine on July 4, 1955. An article full of celebrations of an idyllic America. Sounds like paradise, but as Greene points out:
History tells us that the United States of 1955 may not have been quite the unblemished, unremittingly joyful land described in that issue. You're probably already checking off the things about America that needed fixing back then: Racial inequity was widespread, constrictive conformity was all around, intolerance of anything different was itself tolerated … your list could go on and on.
But here is what should give us pause:
If monolithic national happiness was, in fact, being sold as a commodity back then, a case can also be made that the commodity being sold to us today is national animosity. Just about every day, we are told how furious we are at each other. If Luce's Life magazine was endeavoring to promote the notion of consensus, what we are being relentlessly barraged with now is a message of anti-consensus. And that may be just as false an impression, in its own way, as the everyone's-joyful pitch was in 1955.
I think the latter part of his argument is extremely pertinent. The media, primarily the broadcast media, do seem over-filled with angry and aggressive voices. I don't see this represented at all in the society that surrounds me. Some people are going through hard times, but many are getting by, and getting by reasonably well. Not ecstatic, for sure, but certainly not with the sort of seething undercurrent of discontent that you might be forgiven for thinking pervades American society at the moment.
Things may not be great, but neither are they disastrous. Something, I think, to bear in mind.
Certainly, I don't feel filled with anger. The rare times I come into contact with the blow-hards of the TV and radio world, I scratch my head at their delusions and frothing-at-the-mouth. Much better to chill and live your own life as best you can.