The past is a foreign country...

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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by JD » 30 Apr 2018, 17:26

Guess what year this was published in an editorial!

Image

(if the image has stopped working, it says "Women in bars mean trouble. Any policeman can testify that, even forgetting the unfemininity of it, women in bars are headaches. And how about the poor man who wants some escape from women?")

The answer is 1964, because women had been legally banned from bars in many New Jersey cities starting in the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. The NJ Supreme Court did not rule that the women-in-bars ban was unconstitutional until 1969, Hoboken lifted its ban in 1971, and Jersey City did not officially lift its ban until 1974.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by JD » 16 Jul 2018, 15:50

From 1953 through 1970, United offered men-only flights between New York and Chicago and between Los Angeles and San Francisco. No women (passengers, that is; of course the stewardesses were female), no children, complementary cigars.

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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by Warren » 16 Jul 2018, 16:49

I for one regret the loss of male camaraderie free of homo eroticism.
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by Mo » 18 Jul 2018, 14:43

Pretty sure a men’s only flight from Chicago to San Francisco today will have plenty of homo-eroticism.
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by Aresen » 18 Jul 2018, 14:47

Mo wrote:
18 Jul 2018, 14:43
Pretty sure a men’s only flight from Chicago to San Francisco today will have plenty of homo-eroticism.
Cruising at 35,000 feet.
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by Warren » 18 Jul 2018, 20:30

Aresen wrote:
18 Jul 2018, 14:47
Mo wrote:
18 Jul 2018, 14:43
Pretty sure a men’s only flight from Chicago to San Francisco today will have plenty of homo-eroticism.
Cruising at 35,000 feet.
Well struck.
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by Jennifer » 24 Nov 2019, 16:51

From the "random observations" thread:
Jennifer wrote:
23 Nov 2019, 17:20
I've been watching old Flintstones episodes (there's a big backlog of them on my DVR, since one of the cable companies airs multiple episodes per week), and one not-uncommon occurrence, which I've seen on countless other sitcoms and similar things from that era (though I can't recall any specifics) is: either Betty or Wilma will suddenly realize that whatever they've got cooking in their oven is burning or about to burn [cue mad dash to the kitchen]. Not that TV comedies or dramas (let alone the prehistoric Honeymooners) were ever intended as documentary slices of life, but I doubt the joke would be that common if there weren't some reality behind it.

And I realize: neither Jeff nor I have ever had that particular problem when making a recipe we'd made many times before -- not because we're time savants or genius cooks, but because we've always had plenty of timed noisemakers (sometimes built directly in to the oven) to remind us when a given recipe's recommended cooking or baking time had elapsed.

Were noisy kitchen timers actually, like, not a commonplace thing in the early 60s and before? Or was there something about ovens back then heating things more unevenly than nowadays, thus making burned/overcooked food more likely?

Or was this simply another pure-TV trope on par with "housewives back then often wore stockings, high heels and pearls while doing the housework?"
Aresen wrote:
23 Nov 2019, 17:56
I remember our oven had a timer that was purely mechanical. I think it could be set to control on/off, but I'm not sure. This was late 1950s - early 1960s.

The only time I remember food getting burned was on the barbeque - and that was dad's doing.
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
23 Nov 2019, 18:36
As I recall, my mother had a mechanical timer she would use when baking. Otherwise, she'd just note the time and keep an eye on the clock in the kitchen. I can recall television ads for ovens with built-in clocks / timers as a child, so obviously they were, um, selling point prior to being standard features.

Ovens are still notoriously undependable as far as I'm concerned, especially as they get older. Ours runs cool by 10-20 degrees according to our oven thermometer. *shrug*


Was discussing this with Jeff last night and initially he proposed it was perhaps a comedy trope/holdover from vaudeville -- standard ineptitude for comic effect, the old joke about "such a bad cook, I can burn water" and similar things, and brought up other examples such as the ur-comedy housewife Lucy, whose whole schtick was what a hilariously incompetent homemaker [among other things] she was.

Which led to other Flintstone-era comedy tropes you don't see much anymore, especially on "incompetent homemaker" themes: such as, the man's first clue that something's wrong with his wife is, his shirts all start getting black scorch-marks from where she did the ironing.

And I mentioned: "incompetent homemaker" was indeed a fairly common comedy trope for awhile, which you don't see much anymore... but in all seriousness, being a "competent homemaker" (not "Martha Stewart genius-level" homemaker, merely "competent") is a lot easier today than it was in Lucy Ricardo's day, or what the Flintstones parodied a decade or so later, especially if your home is equipped with a washer and dryer in addition to "standard" kitchen appliances. I'd guess any of us here, man or woman, even those of us whose housekeeping leans toward the "indifferent" side, could be a "competent homemaker" today, and I definitely include myself there.

But ... I don't know how many of my year-2019 Competent Adult/Homemaker life skills would carry over anytime before maybe the 1970s or 80s (depending on whether I'm "reasonably prosperous" or "usually close to broke").

Here's some basic CAH requirements: Feed yourself and your family nutritious food within your budget; keep everyone properly clothed, which includes not only acquiring clothes in the first place, but making everyone's dirty laundry clean and presentable; maintain a certain minimal level of household cleanliness, including "dishware and cookware needs to be clean before you use it"; and a few other things.

Affordable food? E-Z. You can manage it despite basically zero cooking skills (as I did my first few years of adulthood) -- canned or frozen heat-n-serve, Kraft mac-n-cheese dinner, cold cut or cold spread sandwiches on bread, etc. Of course, once I acquired basic 21st-century cooking skills I could feed myself far better for far less money -- but I use a lot of modern ingredients or conveniences Lucy didn't have and Wilma didn't parody: a microwave, two slow cookers, food processor, many of the aforementioned timers in addition to the one built-in to the stove, and a couple other small-appliance things. (When a certain package arrives from Amazon, I will also have two identical cold-brew coffeemaking pitchers.) Other people nowadays swear by their instant pots or sous vide kits or other recent things. Also, we all have access to modern western supermarkets or at least online ordering options, where we can affordably buy many ingredients and spices which back then we either couldn't get at all, or it would be ridiculously expensive.

Clean respectable clothing? Also E-Z, and quite affordable (even for new-retail shoppers) provided you're not determined to have all the newest trends and high-end labels. To avoid wrinkled clothing (at least in my experience), there's no need to spend time ironing and also run the risk of scorching a garment; I put almost everything in the dryer, in small enough loads so there's plenty of room for clothes to tumble around, and as long as I remove the wrinkle-prone clothes from the dryer and put them on hangers immediately after the dryer stops, everything is fine.

Back then, dryers and the electricity to power them were far more expensive, so more likely you have to spend time hanging laundry to dry, time taking it in, and time ironing most of it. And run the risk of scorching with the iron. And, since clothing was much more expensive in those days, you certainly needed some basic sewing/clothing-repair skills which for the most part aren't necessary nowadays (as we've discussed before).

And so on. Point is, while the specific "Oh dear; my roast/cake/bread is burning in the oven" problem may have been more of a sitcom trope than a real-life thing back in the day, the overall idea of an "incompetent homemaker" probably did exist more often in reality (though not to the hilarious extremes Lucy and Co. took it to).
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by JD » 25 Nov 2019, 10:44

Speaking of jokes with some basis in reality: I just finished reading Lenny Bruce's autobiography How To Talk Dirty and Influence People, which was published in 1967. It's most interesting as a kind of historical time capsule, because 1967 is just recent enough that it's not a completely unrecognizable world, but it's also different enough for some things to be really startling.

One of the topics Bruce touches on is pissing in the sink, and your roommate getting mad at you over this. And he doesn't really explain this, but it's clearly A Thing that he seems to expect his readers to get, so it was a little mysterious to me at first. Like, of course you could piss in the sink, but why is this particularly even a topic? And then I read a little further and got more of the context, and I realized: he's talking about a situation where the person who needs to piss is living in a one-room cold-water SRO with a roommate. They only have a sink in their room; the common bathroom is down at the end of the hall. And maybe it's the middle of the night and the hallway is freezing cold, or you hurt your foot or whatever. But the sink is right there...

And this kind of living situation is something he's talking about like it's common and well-known, but it is just not very much of a thing any more. (They do still exist, but apparently they were built in large numbers for returning veterans, and eventually NYC housing law started to really discourage them.)
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by Jennifer » 25 Nov 2019, 14:38

JD wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 10:44
Speaking of jokes with some basis in reality: I just finished reading Lenny Bruce's autobiography How To Talk Dirty and Influence People, which was published in 1967. It's most interesting as a kind of historical time capsule, because 1967 is just recent enough that it's not a completely unrecognizable world, but it's also different enough for some things to be really startling.

One of the topics Bruce touches on is pissing in the sink, and your roommate getting mad at you over this. And he doesn't really explain this, but it's clearly A Thing that he seems to expect his readers to get, so it was a little mysterious to me at first. Like, of course you could piss in the sink, but why is this particularly even a topic? And then I read a little further and got more of the context, and I realized: he's talking about a situation where the person who needs to piss is living in a one-room cold-water SRO with a roommate. They only have a sink in their room; the common bathroom is down at the end of the hall. And maybe it's the middle of the night and the hallway is freezing cold, or you hurt your foot or whatever. But the sink is right there...

And this kind of living situation is something he's talking about like it's common and well-known, but it is just not very much of a thing any more. (They do still exist, but apparently they were built in large numbers for returning veterans, and eventually NYC housing law started to really discourage them.)
Huh, there's a copy of that book on one of our shelves; I'll have to move it to the top of my to-read list.

Another example of what you're talking about: shortly after moving to Atlanta I learned one of our cable's on-demand channels had the entire run of "Good Times" available, so I binge-watched the whole series over the course of a week or so. It's set in a rough high-rise Chicago housing project, and the early seasons are so old that they told jokes about President Nixon and Agnew the veep. But I remember one episode where the family as usual is talking about how rough and unpleasant life is in the projects, and Florida the mom is telling her youngest son Michael (who, if he were a real person, would've been born sometime in the early to mid 1960s) about how much nicer their apartment is compared to where they lived when he was born -- IIRC, that was a one-room coldwater flat too.

On the other hand -- I've argued before (especially after moving here and seeing far more homelessness than in any region I've lived previous) that much of the homelessness problem -- especially "working homeless" who do have jobs but they don't pay enough to rent a full apartment -- could be alleviated if we did bring back boardinghouses with single rooms and common bathrooms. (And at least enough electrical outlets in those single rooms so residents could at least have a microwave and dorm fridge.)
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by nicole » 25 Nov 2019, 14:52

Another SRO in my neighborhood is about to get converted to "micro apartments" -- at $1,000/month for less than 500 sq ft!
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by JD » 25 Nov 2019, 15:08

Jennifer wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 14:38
Huh, there's a copy of that book on one of our shelves; I'll have to move it to the top of my to-read list.
There's some other good stuff in there relating to morality of the times - in the 1960s, you could still get in trouble for making jokes about the Pope on stage (although I suspect this was much more true in cities with large Catholic populations), and Detroit still had a "board of censors". And in some examples of things changing but remaining the same, Bruce describes how wildly unscientific and legally flimsy his narcotics possession trials were; for example, a doctor declared that he was a narcotics addict without making any physical examination of him and apparently based solely on the fact that (the police stated) he was in possession of narcotics. And there are a couple comments about priests and Boy Scout leaders molesting their charges too.
On the other hand -- I've argued before (especially after moving here and seeing far more homelessness than in any region I've lived previous) that much of the homelessness problem -- especially "working homeless" who do have jobs but they don't pay enough to rent a full apartment -- could be alleviated if we did bring back boardinghouses with single rooms and common bathrooms. (And at least enough electrical outlets in those single rooms so residents could at least have a microwave and dorm fridge.)
Political attitudes towards SROs seem to have swung wildly back and forth with time - as usual with politics, "just leave people alone to work out what they need" never seems to be an option. Lots of returning soldiers are coming back and need places to stay? Build SROs for them! Dirty immigrants are staying there? Close the SROs! Oops, now we have a homelessness problem? Build SROs again!

Right now it does look like people are starting to look at them as an option again (for instance https://www.oregonlive.com/business/201 ... using.html) although I doubt we're likely to see a return to the mid-20th-century attitude that they were fine even for clean, middle-class employed people.
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by Hugh Akston » 25 Nov 2019, 15:28

nicole wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 14:52
Another SRO in my neighborhood is about to get converted to "micro apartments" -- at $1,000/month for less than 500 sq ft!
There was a place for rent here with a dorm fridge and a hotplate for $1200/mo for maybe 398 square feet.
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 25 Nov 2019, 15:29

It's still probably quite common in older, cheaper hotels in much of Europe and, I suspect, the rest of the world. Sinks with running water in one's bedroom were a step up from wash basins, after all. There are many old B&W TV shows from the same time frame that will show SRO type hotel rooms with a sink and mirror in the same room as the bed. As a touring comedian, Bruce would have seen hundreds of such rooms even when he was starting to make decent money.

If someone much younger than I am looks at sit-coms and dramas on TV from that era, most of them portray a suburban or urban lifestyle that was completely out of reach for most of the original audience. Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, pretty much every sit-com of the era with the rare exceptions of Life of Riley and The Honeymooners presupposed college educated, white-collar parents who as likely as not belonged to the local country club where the dad would go golfing on weekends. Even those shows set in an urban area would typically show far more spacious apartments, typically with good, high-rise views of the city. They weren't the fantasy palaces of, say, 1930s Art Deco suites where Astaire and Rogers would bump into one another, but they were spacious by comparison to the houses in my childhood neighborhood and the apartments where some of my friends lived, and *that* was in the solidly middle to upper-middle class suburbs of Northern Virginia in the 50s and 60s.

I have a sneaking suspicion some of the generational angst comes from younger people imagining that was how most people actually lived then, but like things in the Bible, it ain't necessarily so.

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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 25 Nov 2019, 15:31

Hugh Akston wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 15:28
nicole wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 14:52
Another SRO in my neighborhood is about to get converted to "micro apartments" -- at $1,000/month for less than 500 sq ft!
There was a place for rent here with a dorm fridge and a hotplate for $1200/mo for maybe 398 square feet.
But hardwood floors!

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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by Jennifer » 25 Nov 2019, 15:58

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 15:29
Even those shows set in an urban area would typically show far more spacious apartments,
To be fair, I understand THAT is pretty standard for all television shows, because a stage set had to be a certain minimum size to make room for all the cameras and lighting and such. One example I recall off the top of my head is Roseanne/The Conners: look at the size of their kitchen, living room, basement etc. compared to exterior shots of their house, and it's like they live in a TARDIS.
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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 25 Nov 2019, 17:07

Jennifer wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 15:58
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 15:29
Even those shows set in an urban area would typically show far more spacious apartments,
To be fair, I understand THAT is pretty standard for all television shows, because a stage set had to be a certain minimum size to make room for all the cameras and lighting and such. One example I recall off the top of my head is Roseanne/The Conners: look at the size of their kitchen, living room, basement etc. compared to exterior shots of their house, and it's like they live in a TARDIS.
If anything, most traditional three camera sound stage sit-com interiors are significantly smaller than they appear to be on camera. Nor does the interior space for the Rosanne set strike me as all that large or, rather, it strikes me as proportionate to the size of the house shown on exterior establishing shots. But more than merely the apparent size of the house or apartment, most of those series' sets were nicely furnished, the family ate meals in a separate dining room, etc. Rosanne, like Life of Riley and The Honeymooners before it, at least tried to show working class family housing. People are, I again think, inclined to look at old Honeymooners episodes -- and, yes, it was really a sketch series on Gleason's hour-long variety show -- tend to think the sparsely furnished two room apartment was an exaggeration, but many working class families probably lived in not terribly dissimilar housing in early post-WWII cities.

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Re: The past is a foreign country...

Post by Andrew » 25 Nov 2019, 22:08

Hugh Akston wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 15:28
nicole wrote:
25 Nov 2019, 14:52
Another SRO in my neighborhood is about to get converted to "micro apartments" -- at $1,000/month for less than 500 sq ft!
There was a place for rent here with a dorm fridge and a hotplate for $1200/mo for maybe 398 square feet.
Hey, that's my life, and I'm not even in Cali. Although I do have a full sized fridge.
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