A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday Morning Post (V.3, #4) – Name This Era


I believe many of us have figured out by now that we are living at the end of an era.  Up until the past year we were two or three generations into what should be considered the most leisurely prosperous time period of American history.  We have had a few watershed moments in the last few years which may be signaling the end of that prosperity: rise of domestic terrorists, a pandemic with its resultant harm to the global economy. 

Nothing major mind you, just a few minor watershed events.

I’m thinking this current era began when the Great Depression subsided: somewhere 1939 to 1940ish.  The era began with a major global conflict between nations and cultures.  Now the era ends with another conflict between humanity and those microbes who can be our friends or our exterminators.  In between there was a number of wars, a few police actions, punctuated here and there by probably the most rapid pace of technological development in human history.

Look at it this way: 80 years ago, we were getting comfortable with the horseless carriage and starting to use that technology not only for war, but also peace.  We were no longer entertained by the family gathering around the family piano in the parlor after dinner.  Advances in technology allowed us to venture outside the home, gather in one place with other members or the community and witness dramas on a large one-dimensional screen where we could see and HEAR the actors at the same time.  

A few decades later, this technology would be refined so that we could see these same dramas at home, albeit on a much smaller screen.  This retreat to isolation from the neighbors in our community to the privacy of our own homes had just begun.  Now many of us are isolated from everyone as we stare at pocket size screens, ignoring the fact that we may be among a crowd of fellow humans who are, likewise, engulfed in their own dramas on the tiny iPad screen. 

We have managed to come full circle from isolation to common good then back to isolation when we didn’t even realize we were moving.

Of course, this happened due to a stable high standard of living over the last 8 decades.  The family unit no longer needed to increase its membership just so we needed workers to farm the family crops.  No, we could just settle on two offspring, on average.  Many American families enjoyed so much economic prosperity that we discovered the concept of leisure activities, taking extended times away from our home toils to relax and enjoy some other activities which did not involve the everyday pressure of “making it.” Then some others just said the hell with it and decided that they were doing so well that they could afford to leave the traditional centers of opportunity (see cities; urban areas) altogether and settle in these new outposts called “suburbs”.

Of course, we must note that the arguably flawed traditional capitalist economic model doesn’t necessarily allow every member of society to experience prosperity at the same time as the majority population.  Oh sure, various ideological and political remedies were introduced and flirted with over the years, but overall, we are still existing in a society where the cultural elite look down their noses at the downtrodden, and those not as well off do what they’ve always done to survive in this modern world.

It’s all human nature with its expectant shortcomings in the end.  We all do what we can and did all this (and more which we would never think to mention to our mothers) in the era rapidly closing down on us now.  For whatever reason, those of us living now are the survivors of this vast era of ideological and technological innovation which may or may not see the end of the human race.

So, whither humanity?  I’m convinced that history is in my DNA, and so I like to think that I could put a label on the late 20th - early 21st century with all of its follies and foibles.  Maybe I’m biting off more than I chew in grabbing up all of the years from 1940-2020 with the demand that they be lumped together under one title.  Or most likely it won’t matter what I think.  It’s always the future historians who will get the chance to analyze and judge us with the times we are living in.

Future historians are such lucky bastards!

Anyway, I would call this last 80-year period the “Era of the Post War Prosperity.” *

Do you, dear reader, have any thoughts, suggestion or nominations for an era label?  

*Okay, admittedly my label isn’t as dramatic as say, “The Jurassic Era” or sexy like “The Roaring 20s”, but, to be honest, history is not meant to be sexy.  Honestly, what do we picture when we hear the word “historian”? Do we envision a stuffy old codger bent over a desk, analyzing primary resources at a newspaper archive?  Or do we ever picture this same old codger moonlighting as a pole dancer at the local Delilah’s Steak and Strip?  

(Thank you for your reading. Yes, waitress, I’ll have the strip steak special with a lap dance.)


Blogger Hot guys said...

I think you're right about that 💯

January 24, 2021 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

How about "The Boomer Era"?

January 24, 2021 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Perhaps The Era In Which America Learns Practically Nothing?

Maybe that's too wordy.

January 24, 2021 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

The great work begins!

January 24, 2021 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Dave R said...

I agree with most of what you say, except the timing. Technologically, this era began with the space race and the Japanese inventing transistors. As more and more countries aim for the Moon (even Israel is launching rockets), this era will continue until we begin colonizing space. When that happens, we will start a new era: The space age.

January 24, 2021 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you, Hot Guys.

That could work, Debra. Or it could be the name of a sub-era within the 20th century. For example we already have "The Me Decasde".

Actually Bob that title could work on any era, given our national ennui about the subject of history.

True, Spo, very true.

A good point, Dabe R. Keep in mind that Nazi Germany was developing rockets for warfare in the 1940's, and they were (supposedly) inspired by the work of America's Robert Goddard.

January 25, 2021 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger uptonking said...

A shame about that piano. My favorite hearth. People still flock around one now and then... I adore them.

Well, if Covid-19 is the period on this era... I guess it was time interestingly spent. But, no... I rather think this is not unlike the AIDs Crisis, and 911... milestones, for sure... but mere pylons in the road. It just goes one, dear. Until it doesn't. And the most wonderful thing is... I won't be around to find out how it all turns out. :)

January 25, 2021 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you, Uptonking. The pandemic could be considered a pylon, but it seems to be taking what we all understand as "normal" with it.

January 26, 2021 at 6:02 PM  

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