Were the Glory Days Really That Good?


Not as good as Gone With the Wind, but better than Mexican Spitfire

“Things used to be better” is the familiar cry of tired queens everywhere. And while it’s true that, for example, New York was lovelier when you didn’t have to wait for a table at Olive Garden—and in fact when you didn’t HAVE an Olive Garden—I still think all the relentless misting over about the past can be quite delusional and tiresome.

The truth is, the past was every bit as shitty as the present is. They had good and bad, exciting and dull, just like now, only our rose-tinted glasses selectively wipe out anything unpleasant from our collective memory. People always say stuff like “Movies used to be way better,” but the reality is that we mainly remember the good work from back then and that obscures a full understanding of the breadth of product there really was. Naturally, Leatherheads isn’t as fine a work as, say, Gone With the Wind, but that’s an unfair comparison whereas a more realistic person would say “Leatherheads is way better than Mexican Spitfire.” Back in the supposed glory days, there were many low-budget stinkbombs perpetrated on the public just like now—we just don’t bother to count them when waxing poetic about the past, even if they occasionally turn up on TCM. I’m far from a “glass half full” type of guy, but still, for survival’s sake, I feel it’s important to constantly remind myself of what’s better about now. Otherwise, I’d go nuts remembering that I used to be swept into Studio 54 and now I’m waiting on line to get a panini.

So let me state one thing that’s a WHOLE lot better now: Technology! Before e-mail, I had to type up every freaking freelance article and hand-deliver it to the publication like an unpaid messenger! If they wanted a rewrite, I had to bring it home, retype it, and bring it all the way back! And before cell phones, if you were stuck on, say, a dirt road in Conecticut needing a ride back to civilization, you’d, I don’t know, DIE. Still think the past was better?