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Missive #8

Yesterday morning was COLD. The forecast was for it to be 26° but we got another 21.7. This happened after we had completed half our usual walk but the longer I was out there the more painful my hands became. It was probably only 22-23 while we were doing the walk.

This morning was not as bad with the forecast low to be 37 we got 35.1. That happened in the early hours of the morning; it was 39 or 40 while we were doing our walk. So much better!

Starting December 5th, Customers will be required to to unload the Semi-Trucks at Walmart. This will be in addition to your Self-Checkout duties.

The Coarsening of Society and the Decline of Morality, or
Stop Whining and Read Your History
By John Ross

Copyright 2003 by John Ross. Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given.

Recently, someone on a discussion board I frequent pointed to a link as evidence that we were now living in a sewer of depraved behavior. Several others chimed in with their agreement (only one fellow admitted he liked seeing pretty girls kiss each other on the mouth.)

One chap pointed us to the 24th chapter of Matthew. He said he believed that we have reached the point where what is right seems wrong, and what is wrong seems right. Our morals are gone, he told us, our churches are empty, and no one cares. He told us that we could watch what we wished, as that is our God-given and Constitutional right (very tolerant of him), but that he himself was watching the daily news and continuing “to look and long for that very special appearing of the Day Star that will appear in the east over Jerusalem some day, and soon, I pray.”

This kind of sentiment is not isolated. I hear it a lot, that people’s morals today are in the toilet, and why can’t things be like they used to?

Whenever I hear this, if the person saying it is older, I wonder about his memory. If he’s younger, I wonder if he ever reads anything other than the sports page.

Let me ask these questions:

Assuming you don’t live in NYC, when was the last time you walked a few blocks from your home and passed a brothel? In most American cities and towns 100 years ago, this was common. In 1890, the town of Aspen, Colorado (where I now vacation) had six full-time brothels, each one a stand-alone building. The population of Aspen was less than 20,000 during that era, so that should give you an idea of how common (and commonly accepted by the public) it was in days past to drop by the cathouse for a quick one.* Divide your hometown’s population by 3,000 to get an estimate of the number of brothels your hometown could support if we went back to the good old days, before we lost our morals and the churches became empty. And if you don’t think they took pictures of what they were doing back then, including women being intimate with one another, think again.

When was the last time you witnessed a lynching? In some parts of America up until WWII, lynchings were almost as frequent (and well-attended) as public fireworks displays are now. There is a photo taken after the 1917 race riot in East St. Louis (10 miles from my home) where a dead black man was hanging from every lamp post in the picture.

When was the last time you went to a carnival sideshow? People with birth defects and rare medical conditions were regularly put on display for the entertainment of the public up through the early 1960s. Going back to pre-WWII days, old-timers will tell you that one popular carnival “game of skill” was three baseball throws for a nickel. The target? Black men sitting under an angled canvas backstop 25 feet away, with their heads sticking up through holes in the canvas.** Go to church, then drop by the amusement park with the kids and get the chance to bean a negro with a baseball three times at 25 feet for five cents. What fun.

When was the last time you watched “Queen for a Day”? This syndicated television show ran from 1956 to 1964, smack dab in the “Leave it to Beaver” years. Destitute women told their sob stories, and the audience voted for the saddest one. The “winner” got a sewing machine, washer, or other home appliance. The show was much more degrading than anything I’ve seen on Jerry Springer.

As a friend pointed out, to this refresher course in the Family Values of times past, add that children once worked 12 hours a day in factories, women were third class citizens, most people had no pensions (which made little difference, since life expectancy was 50), disease and poverty were rampant in city and country, the provisions of the Bill of Rights did not apply to the actions of state governments, Jews could not teach at Ivy League institutions, and we had recently slaughtered 200,000 Filipinos because they believed our promises of independence. There may have been prayer in the public schools, but that was of dubious efficacy against the ills of the day, particularly in view of the fact that most kids didn’t graduate from high school.

Anyone who thinks “wrong is now right” and that the Apocalypse is coming because some popular female vocalists tongue-kissed each other at an awards show on TV (almost undoubtedly to boost their CD sales) needs to

A) Get a life, and
B) Supplement his study of scripture with a dose or two of history.

John Ross 9/1/03

*Including vacationers, the population is now much higher than 20,000, the people there have much more disposable income, and Aspen doesn’t have even one brothel.

**That black men would take this job speaks volumes about the employment opportunities of the era.

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