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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Drink up, ladies.  Let the sweet escape of alcohol wash over you.  Happiness is only found at the bottom of a bottle.

“This place sucks.”

We all knew that kid in high school who griped endlessly about how awful the town you lived in was.   It was more or less a scapegoat for why life wasn’t exactly the way you wanted it.  The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t really matter where you live – the high school in Bakersfield, CA is not going to be that different than the high school in Jacksonville, FL.  Your happiness as a teen has a hell of a lot more to do with perspective and attitude than it does geography.

 “The 2000s suck.”

I have to be very careful writing posts at Retrospace that I don’t become that same whiney and annoying kid.  Indeed, the same can be said for time as it can for geography. If you’re a miserable wretch now, you’d probably be a miserable wretch in 1967 and 1975 as well, if you catch my drift.

So, let me state for the record that I am a very happy guy.  I’m gainfully employed, I have the leisure time to devote to blog posting nearly every day (I’m writing this on a plane to Massachusetts BTW). Most of all, I have a wonderful wife and wonderful children.  No complaints.

Things are good.  Things are real good.

Well, I take that back. I have lots of complaints, but, for the most part, they’re about things that don’t matter a whole lot. Who doesn’t enjoy harkening back to the “good ole days”? Sure, in the grand scheme of things, the fact that “Barney Miller” isn’t on Netflix streaming is a ridiculously small gripe.  But that’s what we do here at Retrospace – it’s part of the fun.  We don’t generally talk about wars, politics, or religion.  It’s not that I’m petty, it’s that there’s enough of that business thrust in your face without me having to add to the cacophony of misery.

Of course, now and again, Retrospace will touch on something that crosses the line into something that really does matter.  When I think about 2012 and I look back at the 1970s, certain things really are much worse than before (and in many cases, the reverse is true).  Certain things have crossed the line from being fun to being a real, genuine problem.  And that’s not the whiney kid you knew in high school talking – this isn’t a matter of perspective or attitude.  These things really and truly have gotten downright shitty.

Locally owned and family run - sadly, it's becoming an anachronism.

1. The Wal-Martization of America
The loss of mom and pop shops in every city and town is not just an aesthetic change for the worse – it has drastically altered our economy. When you take away family owned businesses, you take away the soul of America.  The character of each town has been lost and we are objectively worse for it.

A quiet evening at home celebrating the death of the middle class.

2. Gone Is the Living Wage
You used to be able to live on one modest income per household.  Now, most families have both parents working and still live paycheck to paycheck.  The once thriving middle class is now becoming extinct.

Sexual Assault - The Great American Pasttime

3. Rampant Crime
Kids used to roam free from sun up to sun down.  Now, they’re cloistered indoors playing video games and watching reality TV.  I’m thankful for the neighborhood I live in, but I know most areas are now devoid of the once ubiquitous sounds of children playing.

Whores and gambling - it's not the Old West, it's your politicians at work. 
4. Politicians Are Bought
God knows there were crooked politicians back in the day, but there’s never been a time where basically everyone in Washington is bought by somebody.  We were jaded by Watergate and Vietnam, but now it’s worse. Now we’ve thrown our hands up and accepted it.

That's right, sweetheart.  Turn your back on that TV.  You will be glad you did.
5. Americans Are Brainwashed
CNN is an embarrassing joke. Fox News is a Republican mouthpiece.  MSNBC is boring, redundant and leftist.  I could go on and on.  People have turned off their nightly news in favor of being voyeurs to a Kardasian – and the sad thing is, they’re probably not any less informed than regular news viewers.  Say what you will about Cronkite (Limbaugh would say he was a Commie homosexual), but the contrast is striking.  One day, one of these newscasters (maybe even a cute blonde on Fox) will have a moment of clarity, light their stupid puff piece on fire on-air, and proceed with things that matter.  (It won’t happen – but it’s therapeutic to imagine it happening.)

And there you have it.    Sure, some of these are inter-related, and there’s obviously a whole lot more going on in America that are worthy of complaint. But I’ll stop here before I get myself depressed.  Time to write a Miniskirt Monday post to cleanse.


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