Things like this affected how I felt about old people when I was young. They seemed so kindly and simple in their ways, yet I always wondered what sort of monster might lurk beneath. Their fundamentalist piety especially fell on deaf ears. Perhaps that isn’t fair but there is no doubt that many of the gleeful lynchers were good church-going folk.
I’m 61 now and thinking about my legacy. One of the things of which I am most proud, and most firmly convinced, is that this really is a better world than the one into which I was born. With all its problems and disasters and threats, it is better in almost every respect than the world of 1949, or even 1969. Naturally, there is much worth preserving from the past, and some things that may even be worth reviving. I am a nostalgist about a lot of things; cars, planes, vacuum tube radios, old sci-fi movies, film noir.
Other nostalgists, though, especially the political nostalgists who want to take us back to their imagined golden age, just do not remember what it was really like. Maybe they don’t want to remember.