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Old 06-28-2009, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Miami
888 posts, read 651,171 times
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OK, I was inspired about a similar thread (1990 vs. 2010).
I really couldn't tell you what the US was like in 1975, but I love to listen to classic rock from the 70s, and watch movies from that era, and it seems like it would have been really cool to live back then as an adult.

Plus, I have some neighbors who were like 25 years old back in '75 and they always talk about how much better the US was back then.

So, for all of those who remember, which era is better?
Mid 1970s or 2009?
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.
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I wasn't alive then, but I know NYC was definitely way worse then in terms of crime and the economy.
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:49 AM
 
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I think people will always be more nostalgic about times when they were young.

There was much less entertainment to choose from - movies, TV shows, bands - so things were more of an "event" - "Star Wars" played forever in the theaters; virtually everyone in America watched "Roots" for a week on TV; rock stars were rock stars because there were so relatively few of them. Today, even a hit record is only #1 for 3 weeks if it's popular. There are 200 cable channels to choose from. Hollywood pumps out hundreds of movies a year. Nothing is really "big" any more.

This is why people are mourning Michael Jackson. He probably was the last megastar of music. No one will be able to outdo him only because there are so many choices and outlets for music these days, no one will ever command as much attention as he did. Also, Michael Jackson had a very long career. If you are in your 50's, you remember him from the Jackson 5. If you are in your 40's, you remember him as a cute young disco star. If in your 30's you remember Thriller and "The Glove." (If in your 20's you probably just remember the weird stuff.)

The Seventies were nice. America was still respected in the world. You would have been afraid of nuclear war though. As a kid in the Seventies I was kind of fatalistic about my future because many people expected World War III with Russia, which no one would survive.
This fear got even worse in the early 80s and then suddenly when the Iron Curtain fell, everything changed.

As mentioned... NYC was in deep financial doodoo in the 70s... lots of crime and violence... however there are some people who are nostalgic for the "grittiness" of the old NYC. (if you have ever seen the movie Escape from New York - it reflected some real fears that people had about what NYC was becoming!)

Bad things about the '70s compared to today? Minorities and gay people faced a lot of discrimination. Less people could go to college. The aforementioned fear of nuclear annihilation. All in all though, for every advantage gained through technology and such, we have also lost a similar amount of good things we had in the '70s. a slower pace of life and more of a communal feeling to society.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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The country was in a major recession back then, too, but we also had high inflation and a major shortage of gasoline (many areas had to ration the sale of gas). The feds had set a national speed limit of 55 (UGH) to help with the gas shortage, and the a/c in federal buildings was set at high temps in the summer and low temps in the winter. It was mighty uncomfortable to work in a federal building back then.

Most Americans didn't have color televisions or air conditioning, and few American homes had more than one full bathroom. Very few Americans could afford to travel overseas. The US was still hated in many places in the world (remember all those anti-America rallies in Germany?). Vietnam War veterans were despised. Cities had nuclear fallout shelters ready in case of a nuclear attack. Skyscrapers were ugly. Shopping malls were destroying Main Street (waaaayyy before Wal-Mart). Long distance phone calls cost as much as a dollar a minute. Television stopped broadcasting at 1am. Stores closed before 9pm, and almost nothing was open on Sundays. The interstate system had large gaps. You couldn't buy yogurt except in trendy health food stores. Nachos didn't exist. If you had a heart attack, you died. Only the super rich had car phones.

On the other hand...

AIDS didn't exist. There was a lot less obesity and a lot less diabetes. There were a lot fewer fast-food restaurants. Soft drinks were still sweetened with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. It was ok to be edgy and politically incorrect on network television (think the Jeffersons, Good Times, MASH, All in the Family, One Day at a Time, Sanford and Son, Maude). Professional athletes were heroes. We didn't care what movie stars thought about the environment. Families ate dinner together. American factories supplied the world. Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Orlando were pleasant small cities. Christmas vacation was called Christmas vacation. Bob Newhart was on TV.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:55 AM
 
4,570 posts, read 6,544,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
The country was in a major recession back then, too, but we also had high inflation and a major shortage of gasoline (many areas had to ration the sale of gas). The feds had set a national speed limit of 55 (UGH) to help with the gas shortage, and the a/c in federal buildings was set at high temps in the summer and low temps in the winter. It was mighty uncomfortable to work in a federal building back then.

Most Americans didn't have color televisions or air conditioning, and few American homes had more than one full bathroom. Very few Americans could afford to travel overseas. The US was still hated in many places in the world (remember all those anti-America rallies in Germany?). Vietnam War veterans were despised. Cities had nuclear fallout shelters ready in case of a nuclear attack. Skyscrapers were ugly. Shopping malls were destroying Main Street (waaaayyy before Wal-Mart). Long distance phone calls cost as much as a dollar a minute. Television stopped broadcasting at 1am. Stores closed before 9pm, and almost nothing was open on Sundays. The interstate system had large gaps. You couldn't buy yogurt except in trendy health food stores. Nachos didn't exist. If you had a heart attack, you died. Only the super rich had car phones.

On the other hand...

AIDS didn't exist. There was a lot less obesity and a lot less diabetes. There were a lot fewer fast-food restaurants. Soft drinks were still sweetened with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. It was ok to be edgy and politically incorrect on network television (think the Jeffersons, Good Times, MASH, All in the Family, One Day at a Time, Sanford and Son, Maude). Professional athletes were heroes. We didn't care what movie stars thought about the environment. Families ate dinner together. American factories supplied the world. Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Orlando were pleasant small cities. Christmas vacation was called Christmas vacation. Bob Newhart was on TV.
It very well could have existed in the 1970s, just not a pandemic as it was in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,673 posts, read 33,676,768 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyDaysCopenhagenSkoal View Post
OK, I was inspired about a similar thread (1990 vs. 2010).
I really couldn't tell you what the US was like in 1975, but I love to listen to classic rock from the 70s, and watch movies from that era, and it seems like it would have been really cool to live back then as an adult.

Plus, I have some neighbors who were like 25 years old back in '75 and they always talk about how much better the US was back then.

So, for all of those who remember, which era is better?
Mid 1970s or 2009?
1970s - Worst fashion ever! I can look at 1950s and 1960s and 1980s clothes/shoes styles and hairdos and not cringe like when I look at old photos from the cartoonish mid-1970s. What in God's name were we thinking?
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Key West
767 posts, read 1,149,020 times
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1975 -socially, musically and television wise we were a MUCH better nation.
In many places, people actually talked with their neighbors and looked out for each other.
There were no cell phones and I pods and people on the streets actually said hello and struck up small talk with each other.
Drugs, while still a problem, were much less of a problem than today
Like today, the specter of nuclear war threatened
Like today, an unpopular war was winding down
People were not faced with nearly as many lies and fearmongering tactics (both major parties are VERY guilty of this now)
A working class family could actually survive and do ok in 1975

Pretty much everything seems better back then

One thing is better now..... the mountaineering equipment is better now
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Old 06-28-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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Email was only four years old back then. Computer use was mainly limited to scientists and universities, specialized hobbyists, or high-level business operations. HDTV was still a novelty being played with in development labs.
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Old 06-28-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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Lived through the '70s (and 60's and part of the '50s) and there are things I liked better in the '70s than now, and vice-versa.

Someone above talked about how respected militarily we were then...don't know I'd agree entirely. We'd just left Vietnam, and despite Nixon's and Kissenger's "peace with honor" line, it didn't feel too much like it--it felt like a defeat. Morale in the military was terrible then and quality of the soldier was not what it is today. We also were made a laughingstock by Carter in the Panama Canal give-away and the US Embassy takeover in Iran and the hostage crises and the horrible tragedy of the aborted hostage rescue.

We appeared at times as weak and ineffectual.

We were still under the threat of a real nuclear war with the USSR; it was a world of two superpowers. Terrorism as we know it today was still in it's infancy.

The economy struggled through most of the decade with inflation, but in general, people were better off at the end of the decade than at the beginning.

Personally, I preferred what I guess you could call the "social norms" of the 70s to today. IMO, we as a society have been in a long slow slide that is just picking up steam as time goes. But, obviously, some things are better today than then...race relations, more equal treatment of women, etc.

It's funny, crime was at higher rates in much of the country than today, yet children were freer then...not every waking moment scripted, scheduled and supervised as they seem to be today. Back then, children ran neighborhoods, roamed the woods, fields, countryside during the summers from light until dark, and if you were lucky, didn't hardly even have to see an adult, much less have one constantly warning you of "stranger danger" (which in many ways is just sad). But in the '70s you just didn't hear, or rarely heard, of the pervy dangers that seem more prevalent today.

Children seemingly were more capable of entertaining themselves than today and no one had the 24 hour cell phone umbilical cord. If you were with your friends, you were with your friends. You weren't beside your friends texting someone else while the friend you are physically with played a video game existing in your own separate, yet weirdly parallel worlds. It is weird to me to see a group of young people together/yet not quite and often they are paying zero attention to each other but are focused on their phones "talking" to someone else out there in the ether while madly clicking buttons.

In the '70s many cars still didn't have seatbelts, most kids rode standing up in the back seat, drunk driving was a national sport and children were issued cartons of cigarettes at birth. Ok, maybe the last one isn't true, but smoking was much more common and smokers hadn't yet been relegated to being treated as if they beat puppies.

There weren't as many governmental intrusions into personal freedoms yet, taxes were lower and the huge majority of people were still church-goers. People in general seemed to be more trusting, open, friendly, helpful, courteous and less cynical and sour.

But that may be my filter on things.

That being said...I loved the '70s. I was young, healthy, single, had money, few responsibilities and absolutely, positively loved just about every minute of it.

...and I wouldn't go back to it for anything. The past is the past. Each time has it's own troubles, and as Solomon said, "there is nothing new under the sun." I've always been pretty happy and content no matter where or when I was.

Last edited by skinem; 06-28-2009 at 04:39 PM..
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Old 06-28-2009, 04:50 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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At the beginning of 1975, I was 25 years old, turned 26 later that year. I agree with skinem. I'll try to cover a few different points.

The Viet Nam war was barely over; we had the final, messy pullout that year. It was embarassing for the US. We had an unelected president, b/c the elected one had resigned in August of the previous year. The unelected was considered a buffoon by many and the person he replaced was considered a crook by many.

No cell phones (a few car phones), FAX machines were not in general use. No surfing the web, ordering online. You got a paper airline ticket. You'd better not lose it before your flight. People didn't pay for quite so many things with credit cards. Debit cards were in their infancy where I lived.

Good points? I don't remember anything special. Not to say it wasn't good, but I have never thought the "good old days" were really that good.
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