chelsea cookYes, it has been a long time since we last “spoke.” My progress was not as much as I had hoped but is enough to keep me going for awhile. Do not expect and announcements of a Pulitzer Prize anytime soon. Oh, and yes, there have been a few other things happening. First, the reason this did not come during the first week of May as was intended was that I was too ill to be of much use to anybody. ‘Nuff said about that.
“We live in interesting times,” the philosopher once said. That is true of these times also. Just trying to think of all the things happening in the world that affects us is just about overwhelming. Yessir, it makes most of us long for “the good ol’ days.” All the wars, bombings, invasions, tornadoes and crime in general puts a strain on us that our parents never had. Yessir, that goes for you young folk also. But, he says resignedly, maybe things are not as bad as they seem. OK, OK, yes, they things are really bad in some places, but wait. Not all things are bad.
We now have so much more information of world wide events that it appears that we are there in the midst of it. It has been only in the very few past years that we cojuld get instant information from virtually anywhere in the world. Since I am a newspaper freak, I have always tried to keep up with events anywhere. I would read two daily newspapers and “tut tut” about some silly thing that happened in France a week ago. Most of the time it took only a day or so to get news from Los Angeles or NYC or some other major metropolis, By the time we read of something bad happening in Smalltown, Oregon, it had been over and was taken care of.
Somewhen the wire services began to join the 20th Century and news was disseminated faster. As an example, when I was editor of the Henryetta Daily Free-Lance, just as we were looking for a story to finish, I came across a wire service story which had just come in from Colorado. It looked interesting so I placed it on the front page. As it was a small story which had just come out, major newspapers did not use it until later. But because of the improvement in speed and utility of news services, we were able to put the Jon Benet Ramsey story in the paper the day it happened. (I like to think we were the first in Oklahoma.) Now, one can watch news as it is happening instead of waiting for the afternoon paper – or heaven forbid, waiting until the next day to read the morning paper.
Looking back in history, and not having to go back very far, it appears as if our “times” are not too much different from other “times.” The thing that has changed is the technology. Before you pen a “that is plain dumb” statement, go back to the prohibition era. Entire groups were being killed and there was war among various groups and in many cities, the police were so overwhelmed they could not cope. Most murders were not reported and only the most heinous crimes made national news. During this time, people here in the Southwest did not really care about news from France and news from England wasn’t really any of our business. Now things have changed more than slightly.
Now we can keep up with the elections in Brunei  or the problems in Peru almost as fast as the people living there. We were given instant access to the bombings in Paris as the event was happening. A shooting anywhere in the USA is shown to us before the police can cordon off the area. We know what ISIS is doing before the people of the Middle East do. This overload of information is becoming too much for many people. Our 30 minute news programs have become (at best) 23 minutes with seven minutes of commercials.
Wanting to go back to a better time is as old as time itself. There is a great quote from Socrates, which would make it about 2000 years old: “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”
 Things were always better “when I was a kid.” When I was a kid I didn’t worry much about things except where Troy and Lloyd Ray were and/or would there be a good marble game somewhere. The events of Botswana did not concern me a great deal. Now, I can read/hear about an avalanche on Mt. Everest as it is happening. We hear of tornadoes as they are happening, we hear of car crashes on some highway far away and TV shows the carnage and destruction. So maybe times are not getting worse, maybe it is we are constantly getting worse news.