684 Comments
Jan 24Liked by Ben Krauss

Nothing annoys me more than the meme that everyone was somehow richer/better off in the 50s. It’s always such a stupid apples to oranges comparison (ignoring that houses are larger and higher quality, all of the gadgets we have now from phones to washing machines, the low quality of food in the 50s etc) - not even accounting for the fact that huge swathes of society were denied crucial civil and political rights.

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The food is what always gets me. I guarantee you that (at least in the US) all of these people pining for “the good old days” appreciate having easy access to tasty Mexican food, which certainly wasn’t the case in the 50s. (For the UK, I suspect you can just swap in “Indian” for “Mexican”). Oh- and dentistry. When I was growing up, it seemed like every third TV ad was for a denture cleaning product- most old people had lost all their teeth!

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author

It's the most delicious time to be alive in the US if you enjoy eating a variety of food.

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Jan 24Liked by Ben Krauss

And even if you don't, the traditional staples are still there for you to get if you want.

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Perhaps, not coincidentally, the obesity rate is now the highest it's ever been...

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No. The French and Italians have delicious food and much lower obesity rates than the US. A lot of the food that makes us fat doesn’t even taste that good, unless you want to argue that Pringles and Twizzlers are the pinnacle of culinary achievement.

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"Pinnacle of culinary achievement" is subjective, but it's undeniable that a lot of junk food tastes delicious. That's the whole point, it's been scientifically designed to make you want to eat it. Admittedly it's a bit of a cheap, artificial deliciousness that doesn't quite satisfy the same way as a high-class meal, but it still makes you want to keep eating it.

Meanwhile the obesity rates in France and Italy, and every other country, just keep on rising. Most of them aren't eating fancy high-cuisine for every meal either, they're gorging on Mcdonald's and Potato Chips these days too.

Anyway my point was that it all adds up. Maybe you don't like junk food, great. But there's going to be *some* sort of food you find delicious. It's all available a short drive away or at the touch of a button, so it's a constant struggle of will to not overeat. I feel like it was easier in the old days because food just didn't taste this good, so we didn't *want* to overeat so much.

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founding

The most delicious time *yet* - I dream of the food riches we will some day get to experience.

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I'm generally on the same page, but I wonder how our food is going to get better since it seems like we've largely tapped out different ethnic cuisines and higher quality ingredients. Like friends, I'm not sure you can make new old cuisines. Someone should get cracking on this right away.

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Jan 24Liked by Ben Krauss

Every so often you’ll see on Twitter excerpts from old 50s cookbooks. You’ll see a lot of making fun of said recipes and how gross they sound. And yeah they do.

But a lot of those cookbooks were written at a time when food was way more expensive. Or at least more expensive part of a family budget. A lot of those recipes are about a) trying to make tasty recipes out of pretty limited ingredients and b) helping families (and let’s be real wives) maximize every ingredient in the house or how to creatively use cheap ingredients. Like sorry, cumin and paprika were probably not spices easily attainable even for middle class families.

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Casserole culture likewise was considered an amazing innovation -- instead of slaving over a dish for days, you could toss a bunch of the newly-released canned goods into a pan and have them ready in an hour or so. It was so popular with Middle American housewives because it freed up SO much freaking time!!

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Casserole culture needs to make a comeback, IMO.

I don’t like my current options of microwave dinners or three hours of pretending to be a chef.

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Isn't that what instant pot recipes are, now?

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What I find kind of hilarious about insta-pots is that the Russians have been making them for years. In my Peace Corps country in Eastern Europe everyone had them. Some were older and simpler, others were newer and could be programmed.

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I've tried to get back into casseroles, but they are SO bad for you. You can maybe make a reasonably healthy squash/zucchini casserole.

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Not so! There are tons of healthy, plant -based casseroles. I recommend googling “whole food plant based.”

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Everything, into the pot.

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Try “sheet pan dinner” as a compromise option

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Anything that uses cream of mushroom soup in it is sus af

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Those cookbooks were carried over from the Depression. I remember reading a recipe for squirrel in my mother’s edition of The Joy of Cooking (the one with the silhouette illustrations, probably published in the 1940s). In the meantime, a gringo version of tacos came on the scene in Southern California sometime in the 1960s.

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I saw it first hand with my grandmother. So much of how and what she cooked was about not wasting anything food wise. She grew up in East London in the 30s.

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My husband grew up on a farm and ate squirrel occasionally, but I doubt he or his mother got the recipe from the Joy of Cooking. He said it was decent enough but a lot of work for the meat. Snapping turtle on the other hand. . . Once was enough for him.

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Grew up in north central Florida. Alligator and rattlesnake were a thing. Tried them once. Did not try them again.

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Alligator gumbo is good.

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deletedJan 24
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I grew up in California and lived with my grandparents, who themselves lived through the Depression. My grandpa moved there from Nebraska when he was a kid because his dad found a job in a printing press in San Francisco. Not exactly Okies, but they would serve you cold leftovers for breakfast if you did not clean your plate a dinner, no matter what it was. They hunted and fished for everything you could get a license for. (I fondly remember the sound of lead shot hitting plates at dinner.) And they would cook roadkill (pheasant and deer) because it was unthinkable to let anything go to waste.

It wasn't much better on the other side of the family, which were immigrant farmers who would take the scraps (and organs) that the butcher would otherwise throw away and make (admittedly pretty darn good) meals from it. Even when my grandparents were older and had plenty of money, my grandpa would wear clothes that were literally falling apart because, as far as we could tell, it just didn't occur to him that buying new cloths was a thing that people could do.

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My mom’s dad was like this. I was a super picky eater and I hated him. Thing is I’m not that picky an eater I just didn’t like vegetables until college bc all my grandparents would do is boil vegetables to death and that’s still gross af

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deletedJan 24
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Didn’t meet any Okies; can’t speak for my dad. My grandfather, who’s family had come from Nebraska in the 19th century, was building beach front houses in Carlsbad in the 20s, lost all the property in the depression (why aren’t we rich Daddy?) But they still managed to climb back up into the middle class.

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Maybe. But I'm not sure the putting of tiny marshmallows in your Jello was because quality food was so expensive. I think sense of taste was just a lot worse then.

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founding

Oh, it absolutely was! Gelatin was incredibly expensive until the middle of the 20th century, because it involved hours of labor boiling bones to extract the collagen, and then making it congeal, and only the wealthiest people who could afford to pay kitchen staff to work on it all day would ever have it. But then Jello was introduced, and suddenly a middle class family could serve something with gelatin.

It was like the truffle fries of its day - a food that connoted expensiveness, because of the cost it would have had for a previous generation, and therefore got served much more often than its actually tastiness justified.

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But the damn tiny marshmallows, man. The marshmallows!

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founding

I don't know the history of marshmallows. I assume that they were a cheap gelatin imitation of some food that would have been derived from a mallow plant that one harvested from marshes, and thus would have connoted some sort of luxury too.

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Hmm. My mom was using those and many more spices in 1950’s and 60’s Detroit. I’ve never researched differences between the cost of various ingredients between then and now but do recall that fresh produce was harder to get and sometimes expensive then, at least in places like Detroit. Families may have spent proportionately more on food back then because no one could afford to eat out, take-out and prepared foods (other than delis) didn’t exist and both kids and adults with jobs outside the home brought their lunch from home.

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Interesting data point. I do wonder if there is a difference between growing up in a major city vs. growing up in smaller cities or suburbs that was more pronounced back then in regards to availability of different ingredients. Also, probably worth considering that the period from 1945 to 1965 is the exact time when a lot of different ethnic foods not previously available to people (outside the ethnic neighborhood) started becoming more popular and widely available. Good article about this regards to pizza. https://www.seriouseats.com/a-slice-of-heaven-a-history-of-pizza-in-america

May in fact be worth differentiating between the world in 1947 and the world in 1967. Feel like a good comparison today is with Thai restaurants. When I was a kid I remember it being quite difficult to find real Thai places (as opposed to Chinese places masquerading as Thai places) outside of major metros. Nowadays Thai restaurants are pretty ubiquitous everywhere (despite what David Brooks tells you).

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My dad still remembers eating his first piece of pizza. He was at the Seattle's World's Fair Italian booth and they had ordered spaghetti and they waiter brought pizza by mistake. They thought it was a free starter and ate and he said he was utterly blown away. My parents are in their late 70s and Progressive. If asked to make a short list what is better today than when they were kids they would definitely talk about civil rights for POC, women and LGBTQ first but if they were asked to make a long list at least half of it would be about being able to get great food from around the world and not having to eat ambroise salad. They both also grew up poor and are not poor anymore and they like that too. They still do weird cheap stuff like bargain hunting for groceries and buying stuff at garage sales for the thrill of the bargin that clearly comes from old habits but they don't have don't seem to have any nostalgia for the political economy of their youth -- just the music.

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And yet cumin and paprika are rather cheap compared to fresh, organic ingredients whose taste needs no augmentation

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Fake news. Every immigrant culture knows how to cook good dishes out of extremely humble ingredients. 1950s bland jello-everything culture was aspirational and wannabe posh.

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Gross recipes from the 50’s have nothing on what passes for cooking on TikTok (except for Jacques Pepin, whose short videos can make you fall in love with simple but classic French recipes for quick meals).

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Seriously, food is one of the biggest advancements we've made over the past century. In this aspect it's undeniable that the best time is here and now.

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Nobody gets nostalgic for jello molds with Vienna sausages in them, I note.

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And yet everyone complains about food getting worse as they gobble more and more of it….

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Food in America today tastes better and is cheaper and more convenient than ever. Has this made Americans' lives better?

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Yes. Has it made Americans happier? YMMV.

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Jan 24Liked by Ben Krauss

I get pretty damn happy when I consume a banh mi sandwich, a poke bowl, and so much more that I didn't eat when I was younger.

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I feel the same way *I say with a mouth full of Sushi Burrito*

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“Let’s ask this Yale grad living in Manhattan who spends all their money on GrubHub about student loan debt.”

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There wasn't even Italian food in the 1950s. Pasta was so unknown that the BBC was able to do their famous "Swiss spaghetti tree" hoax in 1957.

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Can I interest you in some Minnesotan Hotdish?

https://youtu.be/oiSzwoJr4-0?t=830

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Or fresh fruit and vegetables year round. Or high quality meat on a near daily basis.

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I agree. I’m 61, and young people often say that my generation ruined it for them. And these guys go on bachelor parties to Las Vegas and Cancun. Those places were outer space to me and my set. We got two weeks of vacation - Period. They drink craft beer, eat all varieties of ethnic food, live in bigger and better homes, and whine about it.

I want to point out that most are not this way. It’s just a whiny minority.

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I am just glad car exhaust is cleaner.

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Still not clean enough, as I usually witness at some point in the winter here when an inversion strikes...

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That lead really turned out to be a problem, heh?

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Not really. Bute the gases did.

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I mean as recently as 2003-4 I had two weeks vacation and 5 holidays.

These days it’s 11 holidays and two plus weeks of personal time on top of vacation which starts at 3-4 weeks in many cases. Life is definitely better.

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I'm 34 and I'm not sure I've had more than two to three weeks' vacation per year at any job in my lifetime. Most of the time that's unpaid.

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You really need to change jobs. Seriously.

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Sadly, jobs with paid vacation are still much rarer than they should be. At least as of last year my state requires that every employee get an bare minimum of paid sick leave, but that also isn't true most places in the US. So that is why people go to work with COVID.

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I just changed jobs for a promotion a few months ago but yeah this time my position came with a contractual four weeks of paid vacation. Really nice upgrade, in theory, even though actually taking that much time is, hmm, discouraging to career advancement.

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You're not wrong, but I will note that this is a very different complaint than the one the article is talking about. It is possible (but debatable) that the choices the generations around your age made (see: the zoning laws Matt is always writing about) are a central reason things haven't been getting better faster.

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No doubt that is possible. Those decisions are also part of the reason things are so damn good, because they are.

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It is such a lie. So many comparisons about cost of living today vs the past completely ignore the expectations and lifestyle creep.

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Probably the most glaring examples I see of this is when you see people complaining about pickup truck prices. People will go out and drop $80k on an F-150 more luxurious than the back of a Benz limo from the 1990s and complain about how you can’t get a decent truck for less because of all the regulations. This despite not even looking at the $25,000 Ford Maverick that is still better in every way than the old trucks they are nostalgic for.

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As a guy who is currently complaining about truck prices, a big part of the problem is those luxury features. Needless infotainment centers are the most obvious complaint. The ballooning size and 'fluffyness' of the body is another. Quad cabs and shorter beds being standard. The new Tacomas are as big as a Tundra from 8 years ago. I don't know anyone who complains about' the regulations'. Is the complaint about CAFE or crash standards? I would be interested to hear an example of what you mean.

The Maverick just came up in a meeting at work as an option for a utility truck, so we looked at the specs. 260 Max HP? It weighs 3600lbs! 2000 lb. towing? No 4WD?

It does nothing better than an old square body except MPG and safety features. It's not a decent truck, it's a huge sedan with a bed.

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Overlap with your comment downthread about wanting to emulate the aesthetics of a working class lifestyle without the commensurate utility. People in Dallas (and the American South generally) don't actually need pickup trucks for utility, they just want to be driving a pickup. "A huge sedan with a bed" is arguably exactly perfectly targeted to a well-heeled portion of the market who want something that's nominally a truck on the outside but that they also actually use as a daily driver (hence quad cabs).

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Musashi said "It is bad when one thing becomes two".

I'm going to channel a bit of FrigidWind and say that we need more gatekeeping assholes. I like a good truck. I'm looking at buying a good truck. But I drive a 15 year old Civic on the daily, and the truck is going to be something like a 1996 Toyota T100 or an early 2000s Tacoma because I need it to be small enough to get on class 4 roads, it's going to get scratched up, I'm going to put my dirty gloves on the dash to dry out, and I'm never going to tow anything bigger than a canoe. I have little patience for full size trucks for daily personal use. It's ret.....diculous.

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Yeah. We can’t afford to switch out our cars bc we own them outright, but if I had my druthers we would have an electric car for my husband’s commute and a truck that I could use since all I go is to the store, but that we could use for dump runs and to pull a camper

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Minivans in disguise

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1) The vast majority of truck users have no need for either 4-wheel drive or to tow anything. They might need something a little more beefy if they have 2000lb of plumbing supplies to haul around.

2) They could get a base F-150 for $35,000k.

3) The complaints about regulations are a constant anytime the subject comes up, which almost invariably involves people pointing to very stripped down small trucks overseas. And those trucks almost always have tiny-low powered engines, essentially no towing capability, etc.

The bottom line is that the $80,000 F-150 exists because people want to run their luxury vehicle purchases on the corporate books to game the tax code and don’t actually want cheap trucks, which are readily available.

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I think we generally agree. Most truck owners don't actually need or use the features that make a truck different than a crossover SUV. And while the luxury features are in theory optional, I'm looking at new dealer stock right now and there isn't a bare bones option on two of the three dealer sites near me, with low end advertised prices starting around 50k.

I guess what bothered me about your comment was the idea that the Maverick is anything like a replacement for a 70s-90s pickup. Maybe for a circa 90 Toyota 22r, but it's nothing like a F150, let alone better in every way.

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I think it’s often nothing more than the clothing is what we associate with being dressed up and therefore must signify wealth.

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I've read theories that middle class people started dressing in athletic wear in the 70s and 80s because it was a symbol of the leisure class. I think part of the reaction you notice is more about taking care with your appearance than 'dressing up', but we kind of conflate the two, especially if you're going to have your picture taken you probably would have fixed yourself up.

I also notice a lot of Left counter culture trying to emulate working class style without really getting any of the details right. Like, they will wear Doc martens because that's what *used* to be a work boot, instead of wearing what a worker wears today (Redwing, Chippewa, Carolina etc.), probably because that kind of worker is left coded in their memory and today's work boot guy is right coded. It seems that the revolutionaries are locked into a romance with that time period as well. Strong unions, lots of protests and civil rights activism. I can't really fault them for that, but it does seem to ignore some of the gains that have been made as well.

Interestingly, Carhartt is becoming a brand I see in young urban style more and more, a la Timberland in the 90s.

Sorry, this comment really drifted!

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

The trouble with dressing up is that there's an actual-factual tradeoff in convenience and comfort (and in some instances utility. Zippers are pretty much strictly better than buttons on any non-aesthetic axis) that's so acute that IMO there's more mileage to be gotten out of making athletic wear look nice than on trying to but the toothpaste back in the tube on formal clothing. Also, of course, the ease and expense in money and time of washing vs. drycleaning.

Whenever I wear a suit in the summer my mind immediately goes to "This is a terrible idea on every conceivable level. Why has this been tolerated for so long? Did people in the past just not sweat and now this tradition hangs on as an atavistic exercise in masochism?"

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The big advantage of buttons over zippers is that they are much easier to repair. If you lose a button, you can just sew a new one on. Even if you're not much at seqing, you can do that in a few minutes. If you lose a couple of teeth from a zipper, you have to unpick the whole zipper and sew a new one in, which is a lot of work (the unpicking will take hours). The only repairable fault with a zipper is if the pull tag comes off the slider - you can get replacement pull tags.

The modern era doesn't repair clothes, though, which would explain why people don't care.

As for a suit: you shouldn't wear a heavy wool suit in summer; you should be wearing either a linen suit or a cotton suit, both of which will have significant internal air circulation and can stay cool. If you're somewhere actually tropical, though, then there's a reason that Bermuda shorts were invented.

The problem is that a nineteenth century summer suit was a handcut, fitted item, made from a very light, breathable fabric, and shaped to have internal air circulation to keep you cool, and a modern suit is an off-the-peg design and probably has a ton of polyester in it. If it's tight anywhere, that blocks the internal air circulation there, while polyester isn't really breathable and it will retain heat and sweat.

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Lack of affordable tailoring is another facet of cost disease.

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Indeed - but when we're comparing styles of clothes designed to be tailored to styles designed to be worn off the peg, then it's hardly surprising that the off-the-peg version of the style designed to be tailored is going to suffer by comparison.

Just for an example, a traditional shirt is made from a woven fabric, and any part of the shirt that doesn't fit perfectly will be tight or loose or short or long. A T-shirt or a polo shirt is made from a knitted fabric, which has more natural give or stretch and a generic-shaped off-the-peg T-shirt will fit much better than a traditional shirt.

Also, my mother used to sew clothes herself - she bought fabric and cut to patterns and sewed it. As soon as she could afford to just buy clothes, she did, as it's an enormous amount of work.

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Linen and cotton suits are kind of Not a Thing at least in much of the U.S. (also AIUI linen is super wrinkly albeit breathable, right?)

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At one time, seersucker suits were pretty common in the summer but not considered suitable in some more formal settings. In the last 30 years or so, a combination of air-conditioning in homes, vehicles and most workplaces probably reduced demand for cotton or linen suits. I always wore a very light weight wool suit, which wasn’t too bad, although I will sweat through anything if it’s hot and humid enough.

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Linen is notorious for wrinkling in a humid climate, it's fine in dry heat.

British civilians in India during the era of the empire adopted linen suits in the dry season, cotton in the monsoon, and wool in the cold season.

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Linen is super wrinkly, which is surely part of why it's pretty rarely used for men's suits these days (air conditioning being another). More commonly, if you want a warm-weather appropriate suit, you would get one made with a "tropical weight" wool.

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Linen is a thing in the South among well to do folk. Think straw hats and mint juleps.

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Man, there's a very famous drystone waller named Andrew Louden who still dresses in the old style, which is to say suit and vest with an apron for protection. It kinda makes sense because I'm the UK the weather calls for it, but watching him sweat in the sun in a New England summer is pretty funny. But if you look at photos, the old field stone wallers used to dress this way every day!

I think manufacturing improvements get the credit because we can now mass produce clothing in different shapes and textiles (with zippers!) so your casual wear doesn't have to be the same general shape as your business wear. And cultural standards have moved so that showing more skin is acceptable. My grandfather didn't like that my dad took his shirt off to split wood, for instance. He thought *that* was atavistic!

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WRT to wearing heavy, old-fashioned clothing in the summer and showing skin, I always wondered why people in old western movies wore heavy clothing with long sleeves and long pants; surely shorts and a t-shirt would be more pleasant! It wasn't until I spent time in the desert that I realized that, without sunblock, you either cover your skin with high UPF clothing or you get burnt to a crisp (and can get skin cancer).

This is less of an issue in New England, but even there, if you're out in a field all day without skin-covering clothing or sunblock, you may well regret it (altho you can get away with it for longer periods of time in New England than you can in the desert).

In short, I think that the cultural standard of not showing skin had a practical basis. Chesterton strikes again!

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Having defended the suit, I will say it makes zero sense as workwear and modern workwear is vastly superior.

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The only downside to modern workwear is you can't really repair it yourself, it's essentially disposable.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

I think I may have accidentally convinced myself in this thread that "Star Trek" uniforms are the best approach to combining professional standards for dress wear with something that actually accommodates a need for physical motion beyond "walking slowly in a cold climate."

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Modern suiting of the type that the average person would own or come into contact with is vastly worse than old suiting, actually!

If you’re interested, I can get more into it (I helped in the process of creating a suit from the ground up a couple years ago) but this isn’t a situation that’s as cut-and-dried as other comparisons with older time periods.

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Yes, interested to hear why this should be.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

I feel like the Doc Martens resurgence is just coupled with all things 90s style coming back and we wore them back then from the British punk scene. So that at least makes sense to me.

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That makes sense, I remember the same things, I wore them too for mostly the same reasons. I remember when Docs started being shitty and expensive at the same time and I just wore combat boots. But it's a nesting doll of cultural memory and reference at this point.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

Huh, yeah that is a pretty interesting point of comparison. When the average American today is going out in public wearing pajama pants and crocs, but with a $1000 computer in their pocket, I guess we have some pretty knee-jerk assumptions about wealth.

It's amazing and pretty insidious, the amount of lifestyle creep that has accumulated in the 21st century. Growing up, we never ate out, didn't pay for cable tv or internet (which wasn't a thing ofc), had one family computer and one tv, one 10+ year old car. But we were very solidly middle class.

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That's an interesting point

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Houses are not "better quality." Our first house was a 1949 cape and that house was small, but it had beautiful custom built inside and solid wood paneling. It was square and indestructible. Our current house was built in the late 90s and is far lower quality (we tried to find another 50s house in our new town but couldn't). Houses today are cheaply built and have little character. Often the floors aren't even real wood but that vinyl wood appearance stuff.

Have all our gadgets really improved our lives, or gave some possibly deteriorated our cognitive, physical, and social skills?

And food? If it was so low quality back then compared to now then why has everything from cancer, heart disease, and obesity skyrocketed?

And the massive deterioration in family life, community bonds, mental health, the quality of everything from appliances to clothing to educational institutions and media and arts and entertainment has become intolerable to the point where it's just easier to watch old shows and opt out of modern institutions to the degree that it is possible.

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Housing quality is survivor bias I think. A lot of crap housing was built in the past but it didn’t last. The only stuff that still exists was the high quality stuff. But even the “poorly built” stuff of today has way better electrical and plumbing just because the codes are so much tighter.

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I think that you are correct, having grown up in a place chock full of 100+ year old houses. The bones are usually very well built, with larger beams, and thicker boards, but the foundations could be poorly laid stone with rotting mortar, and trying to electrify and insulate these houses is tremendously expensive.

I will say that finish carpentry has clearly suffered from Baumels Cost Disease, and it's much less likely that a median modern home will have anything like craftsmanship applied to the interior. People buy factory built cabinets, there's little to no work put into trim in living spaces, furniture is often plastic. Most rooms are painted drywall, which is uninspired to say the least.

But they function fine! Modern window and door systems are amazing! Stick framed houses are easy to insulate, wire and plumb! Lots of heating and HVAC options! Whatever shape table and chair you want!

So I get that people itch for beauty and quality, and it's somewhat hard to get on a middle income, but you can have a really fine place to live by any historical standard.

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Very true. I recently moved from Atlanta to NYC. Atlanta’s housing stock is significantly newer than New York’s - and where this most clearly manifests itself is HVAC. Window AC units are RARE in Atlanta because almost everyone has central - even the very low end apartment complexes. So yeah, beautiful finish carpentry is nice and all, but what you are going to really appreciate in your daily life is quality HVAC and plenty of electrical outlets everywhere.

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It’s why we need to stop using Baumol’s as an excuse and import cheap ass temporary labor from dirt poor countries, house them in barracks, and pay them minimum wage

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

"I will say that finish carpentry has clearly suffered from Baumels Cost Disease, and it's much less likely that a median modern home will have anything like craftsmanship applied to the interior."

I still think there's some selection bias here. I have a 100+ year old house, but the builders were clearly looking to cut costs. I'm pretty sure that the right angle was invented prior to the construction of this house, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the trim! (And all of the strike plates for interior doors were installed at the wrong height --- sometimes comically so.) Small (cheaper) old houses in the neighborhood sometimes suffer from the same non-euclidean geometry, so it's not a one-off. The bigger houses are more likely to have right angles.

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Your house was probably built before a lot of improvements in lumber treatment and processing was common, and settlement of the foundation, inevitable over 100 years, is often the cause for angles to come out of true. Striker plates were probably handfitted to non standard doors, and were correct until the door was replaced. Larger houses have more structural tie-in, and probably cost more and commanded the services of better builders, so it's not surprising that they have aged better. Probably better maintenance over the years for the same reasons. But yeah, survivorship bias absolutely contributes to people thinking "they don't make em like that any more".

But that section of my comment was directed at things like crown moulding, base boards, chair rails, cabinets, custom doors, railings and stair treads. That's what I mean by finish carpentry.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

Trim is finish carpentry, and while settling is often the cause of things to be a bit out of alignment, settling is not the cause of the trim on the left side of a door being 3/4" taller than the trim on the right side of the door (while the floor is level and the plaster uncracked!). Likewise, settling didn't cause a strike plate to be 3" from where it should be (in the most extreme case) when paired with an original door. Nor does settling cause a house to be built without a sill plate (on top of an uncracked poured concrete foundation) or a number of other obvious hallmarks of shoddy craftsmanship.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

AIUI certain classes of high quality wood used in housing construction in the past are also difficult to impossible to obtain these days because they require old-growth forest growing conditions and thus can only be economically logged once, so older homes really may just have better bones than newer ones because they're using better materials no longer available. No expert on it though (nor am I trying to take a potshot at sustainable logging practices.).

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Yep, the houses in my city built in the 40s-60s almost all have this sort of narrow board solid oak hardwood floors that are almost impossible to even find today, and are murderously expensive if you can.

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Probably true, and also probably true that those woods wouldn't be that much better in a conventionally built house in 2024. If you want to timber frame or something, you can still find large hardwood timber for that, but it's either reclaimed stuff from old farms and barns, or you have to get it from small artisanal mills because there's no commercial scale demand. This isn't on the face a bad thing, but the demand for fast growing conifer plantations is probably a bad thing in the long run.

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We should invade British Columbia and take all their wood

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Why a bad thing in the long run to use fast growing conifers? Build longevity?

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I think this is all part of the trend of rising wages making things that require craftsmanship or even just touch labor a lot more expensive than they used to be.

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Yes, that's Baumels Cost Disease.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

Yes as someone who has been house hunting - old homes are either really nice in historical neighborhoods and probably not meant for the middle class OR tons of homes pumped out for the postwar boom that now have tons of issues

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Correct.

Thanks to building restrictions, you can still get a workman’s special in the Bay Area for anywhere between $500k and $2M. They sucked then, they suck now, and in both times people buy them because of a housing shortage. At least in the ‘40s and ‘50s it was a shortage caused by transitioning off the wartime economy.

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Electricians always have horror stories about DYI vacuum tubes.

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Let me tell you about Bakelite and ceramic insulators....

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Knob and tube, baby. What a nightmare.

I once owned a rowhouse in Delaware that was like a living museum of wiring standards: Romex, BX armored, knob and tube. The oldest stratum was pre-electric: literal gas-lighting, where the conduits had not been removed, just dummied off and disconnected from the natural gas.

Horrible. I am not nostalgic for old wiring. Or old plumbing.

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The law firm that I worked at early in my career did a lot of fire subrogation claims. I remember one of the other attorneys seeing the knob and tube wiring in our common laundry room and telling me it was a fire waiting to happen. Those guys tended to be paranoid so I just rolled my eyes. Our laundry room caught fire a few months later. No one was hurt. When I bought my house, the knob and tube was the first thing to go.

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My friends family owns a huge 120+ year old house that was an inn, and then a girls summer camp. It's been in the family for generations and they still summer there. But it's still, *STILL* got knob and tube staples in under the floorboards, one central wood stove for heat, and I didn't want to know about the plumbing. We don't drink the water.

The most recent electrical upgrades circa 80s ran new wires along the same staples on the beams and replaced the 50s era outlets in the same spots because the walls are plaster and lath.

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don't forget insulation and windows and heating and air conditioning and attached garages and....

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That’s a really good point.

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1. Housing is absolutely higher quality today than in the 50s. Most housing from then didn’t have plumbing and was poorly electrified. Now building codes require a much higher standard of housing with things like insulation, quality plumbing and electrical and a robustness to fire and natural disasters. That is not to say all housing today is better than all housing from the 50s, but the average house today is absolutely and u questionably better. It is likely only the best housing from the 50s survived 70 years so your probably falling victim to survivorship bias. Similarly it sounds like you might’ve bought a particularly bad modern house.

2. Maybe you could argue the internet/smart phones have some downsides but are you seriously claiming you’d prefer to live without a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, fridge or any other modern convenience? That would mean spending 5x as long doing basic household chores, not to mention much more manual effort. I am also certain you wouldn’t enjoy having only a singular and spectacularly crappy 50s care instead of a modern SUV. With regards to the internet and smartphones I’d not you can make a choice not to use these things or to moderate. For those of us who use these tools sensibly - having access to the combined knowledge of all of human history at our fingertips is of immense value.

3. There are a number of reasons such issues have increased:

-people in the 50s often didn’t live long enough to get cancer. Cancer is what kills you when other things (crime, war, disease) don’t. It’s a sign of our success.

-Access to food is much wider now. Obesity is a problem for societies so rich overconsumption is an option. Less obesity in the 50s was a reflection of good scarcity and poverty.

-you could go to say whole foods and buy a much wider variety and higher quality set of produce than anything available in the 50s and cheaper. People forget how much people are canned and processed food back then. Some people still do that - but it’s easy not to!

4. Again a lot of these things are just a function of more choice. Fast fashion provides clothes at unbelievably low price points allowing people who otherwise would go without access to clothes. We still make high quality stuff though. You can buy high quality clothes once and wear it for life if you prefer (I do!). There’s plenty of “shit” art now (at least in my opinion), but there’s also plenty of great stuff I love - plus easier access to all the old art that’s been made.

Community, family life etc are what you make of it. You can opt into communities that do things the way you want.

I wonder how much of mental health is a combo of more openness about problems that always existed + social media driven perceptions it’s fashionable to have some kinds of mental illness.

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>And food? If it was so low quality back then compared to now then why has everything from cancer, heart disease, and obesity skyrocketed?

This one, at least, is easy. Food is both tastier and cheaper, which is why people are eating more of it. Overeating is very bad for you. Obesity is not a consequence of "unhealthy" food, it is not a consequence of low food standards, it is not a consequence of some kind of chemical or whatever. Obesity is and always is a direct consequence of eating too much, which is something you do in an era where both the quality and quantity of food available is rising.

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"Obesity is not a consequence of "unhealthy" food, it is not a consequence of low food standards"

I'm at least sympathetic to the argument that the macro nutrient composition of some fast food items could be considered "low quality" (e.g., high calorie, low fat, low GI) in a way that didn't exist back in the 1950s. Also ... sodas. While not a modern invention - just look at the growth rate of PepsiCo...

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We’re blind to the food industry’s development of processed foods, which are literally designed to be addicting. I think sweetness is itself something that we crave to increase, so it’s been easy to make sodas addicting. We don’t notice the ways the food industry is exploiting us partly because we’ve been frogs in the pot over time, and partly because it affects the less-privileged more severely than most of us. We (at least those of us who prepare food for ourselves and others) can afford to pour over labels until we find tasty, less-addicting, more healthy and more varied food that is still convenient to prepare. Some here eat what others put on the table and in the pantry.

I think it’s also a matter of reading more and possessing a degree of self-reflection that might come from education: whenever I find myself gaining weight I survey all the information out there and try things out until something works. (And yes, this often includes spending more money for food.) I refuse to blame people whose lifestyles I can never understand for lacking self-discipline and eating too much. Most of us have never had to sustain long days of physical labor on cheap food from food carts, for example, perhaps followed by enough beers to deaden the aches, pains and fatigue until the next day.

Nevertheless, my insights are based on personal experience. First, many years ago I found myself adding more and more sugar to my coffee until I finally noticed this and just went back to drinking it black. Second, once upon a time I came across a version of Cheez-it called “Snap’d” that I couldn’t quit eating until the box was gone. I never bought a second box and went back to regular Cheez-it, which is only mildly addicting when I want comfort food. Underlying all of it is my early rebellion against Lay’s advertising slogan “bet you can’t eat just one.” This inspired me to train myself to be able to yes, only eat just one. If my pants still fit (kind of) it may be due only to coming into the world with a contrarian nature.

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Very good point, I'm really on the Michael Pollen train here. I like his food rule, that if your Grandma can't recognize what the food is (due to it's incredibly processed nature, not cuisine unfamiliarity) then it's best not to eat it.

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For me it was the 'extra toasty' ones. Who knew baking them for a few extra minutes would take them from, perfectly ok, to, I almost literally can't stop eating these things?

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But soda consumption has tanked from its high from about 20 Yeats ago and obesity has kept rising.

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20 centuries of stony sleep?

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I'm not saying soda is the main driver of current obesity - but it's a major difference in diet vs. the 50s and while soda consumption has dropped just look at PepsiCo's growth rate. They just expanded into other sugar based drinks.

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My point was that we've clearly started consuming fewer of the completely empty calories we did not too long ago without much difference in weight. It's just general overconsumption

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Even *I* wasn't around in the 1950s, but in the 70s/80s my not-especially-health-conscious parents didn't buy soda to keep around the house. Fast food and junk like french bread pizzas were definitely a thing - my mom owned a small business and hated cooking - but portions were much smaller.

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In the mid-90s my brother and I used to have RC Cola-chugging contests to see who could finish a can the fastest.

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There has undoubtedly been a lot of R&D into making the panoply of tasty but not very nutritious snack foods that are now ubiquitous.

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>>Houses are not "better quality."<<

Yes they are, unless the old houses you think are superior have had thousands in maintenance and updates plowed into them over the years. If you buy a house today with 1952's heating or AC (usually nonexistent) or insulation or electrical wiring (inadequate)...well, you know where I'm going with this: if you buy a house built 70 years ago but upgraded and fit for today's market, you're not *really* buying a 1954 house.

Houses were much smaller then, too, and, while it may not matter to you personally, some people find "adequate space" a very important attribute of quality.

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and such luxuries as multiple full bathrooms and closets!

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I live in a 1200 square foot craftsman bungalow with my two other family members. I also run a five person business out of it. It is lovely with built in woodwork and charm. All our clients remark on its charm. It also has zero closets. That is partly our fault because we converted a small closet into a powder room to have a second bathroom. We have wardrobe cabinets and dressers for clothing and that is it. I love my house but I haven't seen a full size closet at a friends place that hasn't made me drool.

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On the community front, remember that the 50s were the era of "The Feminine Mystique." A lot of that community was built off of women being shut up in the house to a greater extent than their mothers and grandmothers had been, whom had often worked outside the house.

"If it was so low quality back then compared to now then why has everything from cancer, heart disease, and obesity skyrocketed?"

Some of this is likely better measurements of public health issues. Some of this is farm subsidies for corn making it too cheap to put extra sugar where it doesn't belong. Some of it might be that we are exposed to chemicals (flame retardants) on a much higher basis before that do save lives, but also have seem to cause people to have trouble shedding fat.

https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2016/01/strong-link-found-between-flame-retardants-and-obesity

These things can all be true, while it also being true that the exposure of the average American to cuisines from India, Vietnam, Ethiopia, etc. is much better than in the past.

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Lol. This absolutely isn’t true. For example, older houses were often built with cheap aluminum wiring-a fire hazard that isn’t even possible now.

Or even somethings people perceive as better/more durable are objectively worse. An example is cast iron pipes, which start failing in 40-60 years. Which is essentially now for the period it was commonly used.

There were lots of cheap, poorly constructed homes in the 1950s-1980s. They are falling apart.

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I live in a 1961, straight middle-class of the era, home. Sure, custom wood trim was cheaper then. In general "back in the day" (any day) labor was cheap and stuff was expensive, now it's reversed. However, the mid-century overall crap materials and code-standards have cost me $100k's to bring up to modern standards. It still lacks good exterior wall insulation. It is in a good location and has a nice large lot (which is why we live there). The original oak floor is nice, but squeaky (poor quality sub floor!)

Examples: poorly insulated walls, small/leaky windows, ungrounded electrical, funky plumbing, lower ceilings, useless attic, lack of climate controlled storage space, heat via wood-burning fireplace? Ugh. (It is NC, but still, it was colder 60 years ago!)

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Heart disease rates have plummeted, stop making stuff up

https://www.prb.org/resources/u-s-trends-in-heart-disease-cancer-and-stroke/

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I would rather live in my sterile post-industrial all-stainless and chrome apartment than in some godforsaken 1940s shoebox of a wood house.

I would rather use my iPhone than pick up some handset and say "Central, are you on the line? Connect me to Klondike-54."

I would rather go to McDonald's than eat some of the slop they had back then.

Modernity is good. Let's drive a stake through the heart of the past. It's stupid and over.

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Move to Tokyo or Rotterdam and keep your cramped, robotic paws off California!

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"And food? If it was so low quality back then compared to now then why has everything from cancer, heart disease, and obesity skyrocketed?"

I don't have data but my sense is the massive death rate of the wars creates some population skewing for the cancer rates over time. I'm with you on heart disease and obesity. Both are embarrassing stats for us right now.

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My house was built in 1930. The original stuff was in good shape. Repairs and improvements likely done in the 1950s are good. The stuff done in the 1970s is complete crap. Luckily, we seem to be going back to better quality now. But things like hardwood just aren't available anymore.

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I think the main thing people miss is the conformity and sense of collective progress. That's gone. The boomer liberal adoration of John F Kennedy is a great example of a way people can miss the aesthetic of the 50s without explicitly calling it that. Yes, there's the culture. The vast majority of people had larger extended family networks and fathers in their households, often for better and sometimes for worse. Deaths to fentanyl were much lower, and health expectancy was mostly going up because better food nutrients, antibiotics, vaccines, and sanitation technologies were transforming people's life expectancy.

But it was also liberating. Automobiles were regularly used by a massive middle class that could regularly dodge social authority of the small town whenever they felt like it. The car would put the sexual revolution on steroids even as people buttoned up and settled down compared to the 40s. The enormous household toil of cleaning and washing was now both motorized and available to most people, like smartphones. People (ex-military white men) were entering college en masse by the tens of millions for the first time to become more educated. Segregation, which had become de jure since the end of Reconstruction, was starting to fall apart as a richer South received more attention and legal pressure by a black middle class, including those returning from serving in France and living in Northern cities.

Most importantly to people, there was a clear mass culture. You tuned into a handful of TV shows and you'd get the news about the latest threats by the Soviets with everyone else. You might have opposed entering WW2 until Japan or been skeptical of NATO like Bob Taft (R-OH), but that handsome Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. really knows how to hand it to the commies in the UN delegation. The country made sense, and enormous new technologies were being deployed at scales never seen before. Congress ordered new housing, it was built. It ordered new highways, they were built. It all happened and it was clearly getting better even if things weren't always good.

The 50s are basically a mix of what people adore about the actor Reagan and the wartime leader FDR. They will come back again, as all things do, but for now we are in the 1910s-20s. A time of uncertain war abroad and global political economy shifts. Strange new ideas and fragmented men. Eccentric new fortunes manipulating press outlets and allying with politicians for a cut. Race riots, ethnic machines and favors in politics. Lots of anti-social behaviors emerging in our cities, foreign languages everywhere. We have been here before. We are here again.

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Matt's done a great job repeatedly observing that this is wrong from a factual standpoint of wealth. But every time I see versions of this meme I just viscerally want to see the blatant sexism in it called out.

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I dunno. That little house is over $500k here

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Yes, in major metro areas LOTS of young people would gladly buy a small house without a garage - like we did in 2004 near DC. It definitely would have been more affordable in the 70s-90s, so maybe that’s where the nostalgia belongs.

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Yeah the 90s were objectively the best

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Stop denigrating the 50s. Polio, man -- good times.

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If it was good enough for FDR, it's good enough for us!

Whereas that Salk guy -- he was worse than Fauci!

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Can you imagine: mobilizing children and collecting dimes in order to mass vaccinate the entire country?! This is the past that conservatives want to go back to?

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"...mobilizing children and collecting dimes...."

Pure collectivism of the kind that Ayn Rand warned us against.

"March of Dimes," you say? More like march of sheep.

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I live in a house that looks pretty much like the one in the picture. 1,000 square feet. no garage. Given the increase in housing costs in my area, it would now sell for more than $1 million. Definitely beyond the purchasing power of any single wage worker in the manufacturing sector. But much to Matt's point, that is in part because of housing regulations. Our area just got rezoned from single family homes to being able to have at least three units (four on a lot my size.) Lots of less well maintained homes are being sold and torn down and having three multi-story units with collective square footage of at least 6,000 and one of them is usually an ADU with about $1,200 square feet. They aren't sold separately but they rent for a hell of a lot less than a $1 million house would. So part of why no one with one middle class income can buy a house "like" mine now is that we have used zoning to make them unaffordable. But at the same time, a family of three living in 1,000 square foot used to be typical and would not seem pretty small to most people in most areas. Expectations about housing size have changed a lot. When we make repairs in can be hard to find appliances or plumbing fixtures that actually fit our spaces anymore and ofter have to pay more to get European or Japanese versions that come smaller. Lot of my parents friends grew up in similar sized homes but can't imagine how we live in one. It's a weird collective mind shift.

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Most of the out-of-control cost of housing is land. It’s true that square footage and amenities have also improved! But appliances cost, like, a few thousand dollars. They didn’t get hundreds of thousands of dollars better since 2019.

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My boomer parents had much less off-season produce available when they were growing up. Normal people were not going to get fresh strawberries in January because you would have had to grow them in a greenhouse or fly them in from Florida and either was expensive. Off season lettuce was... iceberg lettuce. They ate a lot of canned fruit and vegetables. I'm very glad that I can get fresh sugar snap peas at my local grocery store for $4.

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Try shifting the comparison from the 1950s to 1964-69. With a political "consensus," integration was the law of the land and "Skin color doesn't matter" was the watchword. People were experimenting with sexuality and psychedelics; "gender identity" was becoming blurred (rather than promoted). We moved from a cramped 3-room apartment to a modest ranch house on a quarter-acre (yes, with a washer and dryer), 10 minutes' drive from the Walt Whitman Mall.

As I lament to my cat these days -- "Lucy, I don't think we're in Woodstock anymore."

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A house like the one in the picture, in my metropolitan area, would be unaffordable for all but the wealthy.

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Nostalgia politics is not a dead end: it's a way to get things done.

1) appeal to nostalgia

2) win elections

3) drain the US Treasury into the pockets of rich people

4) profit!!!

Republicans are the opposite of the underpants gnomes. They always know what step 3 is, and it is always "drain the US Treasury into the pockets of rich people." Every election is a heist movie where a plucky band of billionaires sets out to rob Fort Knox. And nostalgia helps them do it.

Political dead end? That's a better description for high-minded wonkery. If it gets votes, it's not a political dead end. If it doesn't get votes, it is.

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I’d add ”appeal to racial prejudice and resentment” as 1b but otherwise this is spot on

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"I don't feel any racial resentment, just nostalgia.

For the days when those people knew their place."

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Pepperidge Farm remembers. (Couldn’t resist a meme)

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I'm nostalgic for the days when the voice of nostalgia came from somewhere between a Vermont dairy farmer and a Down East Maine lobsterman.

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The true voice of nostalgia is two hundred miles of wilderness.

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Huh? At this point, "racial resentment" starts with a capital "B."

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I get a sense that resentment about feminism is the main driver this stuff, am I wrong about that? Like in the tweet above, you can spin a story about the housing market and racial politics that could be relevant there, but the tweet is pretty clearly about the wife working at home as much as economics.

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The explicit references in the tweet to "mass immigration [and] widespread racial . . . activism" suggest there's also a fairly heavy racist component to me, and I'm someone who finds most accusations of racism these days to be overblown or based on mischaracterizations of what was actually said.

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lol should have checked

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You are right, though, to mention feminism. My impression, actually, is that rage over changes wrought by feminism are responsible for a much larger share of male resentment and conservative policy positions over the last half century than is usually acknowledged.

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I think this is true, but a little bit of just being the opposite side of the same coin. There are a lot of people that believe the reason women work is that they are forced into it by the declining real incomes of their husbands. And they also kind of believe that the declining real incomes of their husbands comes in part from more women working, resulting in an oversupply of laborers.

There’s a lot wrong with these beliefs. But for some they might be economically focused, just misinformed in a lot of ways.

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>Political dead end? That's a better description for high-minded wonkery. If it gets votes, it's not a political dead end. If it doesn't get votes, it is.

And what we have seen across the world is that the public often does not course correct away from reactionary nostalgia politics when those politics fail to deliver. Instead there is a vicious cycle of various liberal and pro-growth forces banding together to resist reaction, which leads the reactionary to say 'the reason things suck worse now is because of those guys, that's why you need to give me more power' and then that cycle keeps flying until things finally get so bad that you can coherently run a grand coalition of every element of the political spectrum on "anti-that-guy-ism" (or alternately, until that person is able to chip away enough at institutions and democratic character to cement dictatorship). See: Poland, Hungary, Argentina, etc.

Fortunately, Donald Trump will be dead by 2030 and has no heir apparent, so at least there's that.

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Came to post basically this. It might be a 'dead end' for societal progress, but it certainly isn't for Donald Trump's political career.

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Maybe in the primary, but I'm not convinced it's the best way to win voters in the general. But I guess we'll all found out on this season of American politics!

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I love the Republicans' message: "We're nostalgic for the glorious American past, and Joe Biden is too old."

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So in some sense, they'll be appealing to the 1980s, when a big slice of Baby Boomers/Gen X was in early adulthood. There are simply not many votes to be had in appealing to Biden or my grandfather's teenage years.

In quite literal terms, they'll be appealing to 2019, when wages had steadily grown for many years in a row and the world had less foreign policy chaos going on. They'll say yes the news was full of crazy domestic stuff, but that's basically always true now.

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>the world had less foreign policy chaos

Trump moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, defunded UNRWA, and assassinated General Soleimani! His term didn't have *less* foreign policy chaos; Americans just cared less about it (and can go back to caring less any time they please).

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What was Iran going to do, nuke America in retaliation? They called Trump and asked him to move soldiers so they didn't hit anyone with the missile volley they sent to save face. He completely called their bluff.

Biden by contrast, deliberately soured relations with Saudi Arabia because his staffers are obsessed with creating a multipolar Middle East between them and Iran no matter the facts or changing situation. It's like Merkel convinced Ukraine will be fine and soon in EU markets in 2015, Putin literally invaded and it didn't change her mind. She was already set in her ways no matter what.

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founding

The 1980s is also the time that Donald Trump was a fixture in the newspapers, first for being a billionaire and then for being a negative billionaire and then whatever else he did!

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And prices at supermarkets and restaurants were much lower.

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"...I'm not convinced it's the best way to win voters in the general."

From your mouth!

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Dems should probably get in on the game rather than stay "above" appealing to any voter over 40

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One reason Biden is in trouble on the economy issue is his political coalition really does believe it's worth increasing inflation a little if it's to satisfy interest groups through cash transfers or other costly demand-side stimulus. It's hard to be something that you're not, but then politics is all about the art of the possible.

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Haha, yeah “Republicans”. Democrats aren’t doing that with their Ukraine funding, China graft, Silicon Valley grifting, etc. lol.

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Ryan, welcome to the Slow Boring comment section and I hope you'll enjoy your brief stay.

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I hope not. That would surely make it an echo chamber, lol.

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Stick around! Everyone literally disagrees all the time.

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"Everyone literally disagrees all the time."

Do not.

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There are plenty of people here who disagree with Matt, the Democrats, the Left et. al.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

i am sorry i don't peruse right wing media so i have no clue what in the world you're on about.

what do you mean by those three planks

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And YOU are the problem, Kade. If you don’t understand that then you are in an echo chamber. This is our problem in America. We have these two echo chambers in which most of the left and right are stuck. They are living in two false realities. And if I believed as they do I’d probably be a nut too. Fortunately those are not the realities. You are obviously a leftist. Fine. But do you read right wing opinion editorials? If not you should. I’m right wing, but I read Yglesias and subscribe to The Atlantic. These people are not fools even though I think they are ultimately wrong. And by testing myself against them I sharpen my arguments and abandon some of my more hastily donned opinions. I wish you would too.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

I am legitimately not a leftist, which refers to socialists and progressives who are frankly a lot more likely to share your apparent skepticism of US national security policy.

I'm an old school liberal internationalist which is somewhat unfashionable these days but is still approximately as correct as it was in the 90s.

I genuinely do not know what the allegation you are putting forward is. Do you believe that American support for Ukraine is based on a desire to enrich American defense contractors? I think that's just completely false and conspiratorial. America is supporting Ukraine because we legitimately believe that the norms and structures of the liberal order are good for America and worth upholding. I understand rightists like Tucker or apparently yourself are very skeptical of this idea on the merits, which is fair enough, but this is the first time I am hearing someone accuse Democrats of holding this opinion insincerely to enrich the wealthy.

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I do not think the Ukraine policy (which I support) is simply to enrich defense contractors. I do believe that it is happening, though. You see, you have read into my opinions that which is not there and was never expressed. You are stereo-typing. Perhaps I am too. In fact, your description of yourself in your second paragraph could be my description of myself.

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You: "You are obviously a leftist"

Also you: "You see, you have read into my opinions that which is not there and was never expressed".

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Aren't you doing a lot of stereotyping and leaning heavily on assumption here?

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Are you actually named Kade? If so everyone probably thinks you consume a lot of right wing TV media regardless.

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I am a white guy from the South so it's really not a bad bet, sadly I was born a contrarian.

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It would be helpful if you would take a moment to explain Ukraine funding, China graft, Silicon Valley grifting, etc. What exactly do you mean by those words?

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Are you aware that huge amounts of the Ukraine funding is unaccounted for? When money is unaccounted for it has been stolen most of the time. Surely you are aware of the huge payments the Biden family has gotten from Chinese businesses and Ukranian ones. The art sales of Hunter originals? Bankman-Frieds connections?

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I'm not necessarily aware of all of this. What precisely is the argument? That there is endemic corruption on aid to Ukraine, and that the Biden extended family is receiving corrupt money from Chinese and Ukrainian businesses? That Democratic donors/office holders were invested/involved with Bankman-Fried? I'd first want to quantify/describe the alleged connections, then ask what the implications of that are. Suppose I grant that all of what you say is true and involves significant sums. What do you think should follow from that?

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Please keep in mind that I was answering someone who was alleging that Republicans are all about enriching themselves. I'm just pointing out that human nature doesn't slink on one side and preen on the other side of the political divide.

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From a logical perspective, you haven't countered the claim that Republicans are all about enriching themselves. Saying Democratic politicians may be involved in corruption says nothing about the state of corruption for Republicans. Is your point that many actors are corrupt, so that one must choose who to support on other factors? I'm still not sure what point you are trying to make here.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24Liked by Ben Krauss

Looking forward to waxing nostalgic about the stuff I listen to now in my middle age. I have no clue who any of these bands are.

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Jan 24·edited Jan 24

Will I be arguing with people that Lorde's Melodrama (2017) is in fact the perfect encapsulation of 2010s pop music? It's disturbingly likely.

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“Now what do you young bucks know about Tha Carter V?”

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Mark my words Milan, you will miss this comments section and find that internet discourse has gone totally off the rails.

GenX remembers usenet and irc... You'll have your own version of online nostalgia.

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