Wednesday, September 28, 2005


One of the main differences, at least in my eyes, between The Seventies and today is the concept of "community". We had a much stronger concept of community back then.

For example, we had a neighborhood grocery store. We knew everyone by name, and they knew us. We didn't go to another neighborhood's store, there was no reason to. Our store was our store. Ditto with the Pharmacy. We knew everyone there, and they sold everything - candy, books, records (45s and albums), jewelry, and so forth.

Today, we shop at mega-stores, or warehouse-style bag your own stores. The management changes regularly, the store manager was inevitably in Cleveland last year, and will be in Denver next year.

This community extended to schools, the neighborhood school was YOUR school, and you didn't cross lines. To do so was to go looking for trouble. You went to school in YOUR neighborhood. Today, in our community, it seems that all the inner city schools are "magnet" schools, drawing students interested in various sciences or vocations. The other schools are basically "open" for enrollment, you can sign up for almost any school, you aren't limited to neighborhoods.

Another big thing was radio. Your radio station was YOUR radio station. Today, it's Corporate Clear Channel radio no matter where you are, even by satellite. Ditto TV - local TV was much more local than we have today.

Now, all of the above is not necessarily good. For example, 20 years ago you did NOT see a minority student walking down the street in suburban neighborhoods. It just didn't happen. Segregation was MUCH worse than it is today. For improving this, I think we're much stronger. We are now a much stronger consumer conscious society, the neighborhood grocer can not compete with Walmart. This means lower prices for the consumer, but at a huge community cost. Media, well, that's a topic for another post.

We have made good societal gains at the expense of community, but not every change has been for the positive.

Any thoughts, positive or negative, on this topic?

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