I’m reading a terrific book titled, The Good Old Days–They Were Terrible! by Otto Bettmann (creator of the Bettmann Archives).
The final paragraph from his introduction explains the book’s purpose:
“Even if we cast but a cursory glance at the not so good old days and bring them into alignment with our own, we will find much to be grateful for. We are going forward, if but slowly. This fact should move us to view the future in less cataclysmic terms–the future that will see man, in Faulkner’s words, ‘not only endure but prevail.'”
I’m impressed with Bettmann’s rosy view of the human condition in 1974–the year the book was published–which seems like quite a leap of faith given the news of the day. This was a time when the US was finally extricating itself from Vietnam, and Watergate rocked America’s faith in the presidency.
Later on I’ll share more gleanings as I read. Here’s one for now: pollution. Many people seem to think that pollution started with automobiles in the 20th century. Ironically, cars reduced a significant form of pollution: horse feces. With millions of horses in the streets and roads across America, millions of tons of horse excrement littered the ground. You think cars emitting CO2’s a problem? How ’bout horse shit everywhere?