Seven Degrees from Normal

Two people, eighteen years of marriage, seven college degrees.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Then and now

In February 1942, The Family Circle Magazine reprinted a list of ten things its readers could do to support the war effort, originally produced by the U. S. Office of Civilian Defense:

1. Enlist in the local volunteer offices of the Civilian Defense. Register so that you can be assigned a job, can take your place quickly if disaster should come.
2. Put into practice the principles of good nutrition; begin at home with your own family; study sound food selection and preparation; spread the knowledge to others and co-operate with any group supporting and furthering good nutrition.
3. Begin now to build a new, strong America through giving every child in this country a feeling of real security through adequate housing, food, clothing, recreation. Begin with your own children, then help others.
4. Be prepared to take care of the sick and the aged in order to release nurses for care of war casualties. Keep fit yourself; learn nursing duties in a professional way.
5. Make a determined drive to prevent accidents at home and on highways. Keep calm, clearheaded.
6. Save! Salvage everything that is usable; put it to work. Buy intelligently. Learn about new and substitute materials. Conserve what you have.
7. Learn a new skill, something which contributes to defense and the welfare of others. Teach to others what you have learned.
8. Study deeply, thoroughly, into how true democracy functions. Good government begins with the individual citizen. Women must take a deeper interest in local government, must work together for the good of all.
9. Do everything you can to make the men and boys fighting for us feel that folks at home are behind them; "adopt" them en masse into your care.
10. Build morale through old-fashioned neighborliness and religion. Don't repeat gossip; talk constructively. Co-operate with others. Be strong! Be brave! Be confident!

What do we have in 2007?

We are told to
1. Prepare a kit to ensure our own personal survival in the event of disaster.
2. Plan to seal ourselves into our rooms.
3. Dwell on, and try to prepare for, 18 different types of disaster that may occur.
4. Have our kids play games where they attempt to identify "hidden treasure" objects that would "aid family communication" during a disaster, in the home of a bunch of anthropomorphic mountain lions.

I was going to do a point-by-point comparison, but it's too depressing.


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