November 6, 2019
So, in my last post I vented about things that have gone downhill since I was young (that is, about 50 years ago).
To give credit where credit is due, I want to point out some things that have improved since then.
- Tolerance. I grew up around people who routinely made racial or ethnic slurs. I don’t hear that any more. Either those people have passed on or they have learned that when they say those things, they are regarded as idiots. The same goes for homophobic comments, stupid comments about women, and many other ignorant and/or insensitive remarks. Needless to say, this is very positive overall.
- Food. Notwithstanding my put-down of the way most modern produce tastes, the variety and quality of food served in the US has improved beyond all expectations over the last 50 years. When I was growing up, Italian food meant spaghetti and meatballs or pizza and Chinese food meant something called “chop suey”. Now we have a wonderful range of choices, from the supermarket to downtown bistros.
- Medicine. Things like heart disease, AIDS, prostate cancer and leukemia that used to be death sentences are now things that can be controlled and lived with. Polio (a dreaded word when I was five or so) has been wiped out. Now if we can do something about overdoses, accidents, murders and suicides, we might start bringing US life expectancy rates up again.
- Communications. From the internet to What’s App to cell phones, we are connected to each other all the time, anywhere in the world. Sometimes this is a pain in the neck, and sometimes it leads to people spending all their time looking at small screens, but on balance I think it’s great.
- Cars. I used to hate owning a car because they broke down all the time, usually in the worst possible situations. When you drove around, you always saw people standing by their malfunctioning cars on the side of the road. Now cars seem to work all the time. They tell you when they need fixing, and, although they are expensive and ecologically unsound, at least they are reliable.
Of course, many other things have gotten better in the last 50 years. Read Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now if you don’t believe me.
Speaking of things getting better, we are now in Nice and it is most enjoyable. I have described Nice as a cross between South Beach and Paris, and that still seems about right. Today we rode the hop-on, hop-off bus and visited archaeological sites in the Cimiez quarter (Roman baths and a small amphitheater) and a quirky Russian cathedral built in the 1800s.
Below, the aforementioned Roman baths in Cimiez. More on Nice in future posts.