Why were the 70s such a tacky decade?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by FedoraFan112390, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I think the difference is probably that I live in an area that was utterly eviscerated by American Capitalism in the '80s and '90s -- squeeze every cent you can out of the workers and then kiss them off with two weeks notice when you can break the union by going overseas -- and still bears the scars of that experience. And yet those businessmen were hailed and praised as great men, successful men, pillars of the community while they were here. Rob us blind, good sirs, and let us thank you for the privilege of being your vassals.

    That said, in the Era, nobody called small-time mom-and-pop operators "capitalists," or equated them with "capitalism." They had personal contact with their customers and if they had employees, they worked right along side them with little or no class differentiation. They functioned at a subsistance level, and were not involved in the accumulation of monopoly capital. These small operators -- the petty bourgeoisie, if you will -- had no more in common with monopoly capitalists than a biplane has in common with a Saturn V, and the distinction, in the Era, was well-recognized. It's only since the fifties, and a public relations campaign carefully orchestrated by the big-business-oriented Sloan Foundation, that such small operators have assumed themselves to be "capitalists."

    "Capitalist," in the thirties, was generally a term of opprobrium, and was generally preceeded in everyday conversation by "dirty" and followed by "SOB." The rehabilitation of the word into its current meaning of "someone who supports baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet," was one of the early triumphs of the Boys From Marketing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  2. I am sure this parallels many people across time really. My great grandfather had a store out here long ago and I have the ledger that STILL has unpaid accounts. I know the children and grandchildren of some of these people! One of them was a local councilman----not surprisingly he was the only one in our history who was impeached and removed from office. :doh:
    My great grandfather never pressed for collection......
    I also knew many people who had plenty good to say of my great grandfather as he sponsored their parents or did this good deed or another. It is just the way things are done correctly. The one thing that sticks with me that they made sure to stress was that charity was something you did anonymously. Anything else was advertising. So you never see or hear of their good deeds until they are dead----unfortunately. :doh:
     
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    The thing is, we never thought of it as "charity." That word, to us, implied noblesse oblige, a sense of something being handed down in a condescending way from a superior to an inferior. We simply called it "helping," the way you'd help someone pull their car out of the mud or lend them a ladder to get their cat off the roof. Anyone could give or receive help without any shame proceeding either way.

    That takes it back to my main point. People who "help" aren't valued in modern society. People who "achieve" get all the glory, all the recognition, and all the money -- no matter what sleazy methods they resort to in achieving it, it's "achieving," coming out on top of other people, that is really valued. And I think that's an inherent moral flaw in our culture.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  4. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Society should deeply and sincerely respect "help" or charity (without the condescension that some associate with it) and it should not laud achievement by any means (and should denounce and punish achievement by sleazy methods), but it should also applaud honest, hard work and genuine achievement as that type of achievement helps society and can inspire the best in people. From medical advancements to a brilliant author - I want to live in a society that respects honestly earned, genuine achievement, but one that also respects sincere "help" / charity.
     
  5. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    On the other hand, what do we make of a society that judges someone like James Patterson a "success" because he dishes up ground-out slop that sells in the millions, while a poet with deep insight into the human condition is judged a "failure" because she has to wait tables for a living?

    I think a competition-centered society is unavoidably a shallow and, in the end, immoral society. Its priorities are distorted, and its perspectives will always end up inhumane. Sorry if you disagree, but we're obviously separated by denominational differences on this issue.
     
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    That is fine and I agree we don't agree. I will argue that once we let some group / committee / anointed board choose what is achievement - even if the first one is of great virtue - eventually it won't be and we will lose our freedom and end up in a dictatorship of some construct or another. Once someone doesn't let Patterson write and makes us support a poet few would willing pay to read - we are marching toward dictatorship.
     
  7. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I don't consider the WPA Writers' Project in any way a step towards dictatorship. I think it, the Federal Theatre Project, and similar arrangements were very worthy things which made many lasting contributions to our shared culture. That such arrangements existed and enjoyed wide popular support are among the things I cherish most about The Era. So there you go.

    I'll also add that a society that bases its evaluations of what is "success" and "failure" on the propaganda ladled out by marketers is far less "free" than it thinks it is. So, again, there you go.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  8. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I stand by my last post and I'm out - I don't want to argue politics.
     
  9. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I didn't think we were arguing so much as discussing why we hold to opposing viewpoints, but in any case, thanks for an interesting conversation.
     
  10. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Thank you as well.
     
  11. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    Amen to that.
     
  12. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I came on here to throw my .02 about the 1970's and 80's until I read through Lizzie's posts.

    Lizzie, thank you for summing up something I can never seem to articulate.

    And to beat a dead dog, since when did an economic model, e.g. capitalism, necessarily become a place of worship? Personally, I get ill and leave a room when someone starts yammering about the virtues of capitalism. It always seems to linger around those concerned about how others' ought to spend their money - especially when those "others" are spending on things the capitalist doesn't approve.

    I think there is a vast difference between capitalism as economic model, versus "Capitalism" as a perverted political process. Unfortunately, I'm afraid capitalism died at the onset of the Gilded Age in America...and probably even earlier than that. After all, African slaves were part of that hallowed capitalist model, just as undocumented workers are today.
     
  13. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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  14. KILO NOVEMBER

    KILO NOVEMBER Practically Family

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    Chattel slavery didn't disappear in the United States until the modern capitalist system appeared. It still thrives in places around the world, even (especially) in places which call their systems "communist" or "socialist". I could list them, but you can probably think of several immediately without too much thought.

    Until human nature changes, exploitative institutions like slavery will persist.
     
  15. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    You could argue quite successfully, though, that many of the fortunes that formed the foundation for industrial capitalism were earned either directly or indirectly thru chattel slavery. We have many Fine WASP Families in New England whose lace curtains and fine tailoring hide a past filthy with the stink of slave-trade money.

    And I think the first guy on the left in the top picture has a head three sizes two large for the rest of his body. I think that was a style in the seventies.
     
  16. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I think you could argue if we have ever seen a true communist society, or ever will. Communism doesn't really mesh theoretically with dictatorships, much less ruthless ones. Many of the communist countries have a ruling "class" which is valued above the worker... which flies in the face of actual communism.

    One could argue the same with capitalism, but at least we've seen that system applied with various forms of government (even if not true democracy, but representative ones).
     
  17. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    I don't know for sure, but the thing about the 70's that makes it really 'tacky' for me is all the man-made fibers and 'artificial' natural products; vinyl with a wood print or marble effect. That sort of thing.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of lycra, gore-tex, cambrelle, thinsulate, vibram and I know that we have to stop cutting down trees, but I think that the technologies were very primitive back in the seventies, and in retrospect, it just looks so fake. Modern 'fake' wood/stone finishes are much harder to discern (sometimes until you touch them), and modern man made fabrics can be very comfortable in the right application, but in the seventies I think all that hadn't been worked out yet. A nylon or polyester shirt? No thank you please!
     
  18. Fake is a good word for all of the 70s. Everything seemed fake from the clothing to the "economic Malaise."
     

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