[LMB] OT: Generation Change, was Fun

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Mon Apr 6 02:41:06 BST 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Elizabeth Holden" <azurite at rogers.com>
To: "Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold." 
<lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2009 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: [LMB] OT: Generation Change, was Fun

> --- On Sat, 4/4/09, Raye Johnsen <raye_j at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> As someone who has seen most of these developments happen
>> in her lifetime, Mum sees each thing that we have (or no
>> longer have) as progress.  Consequently, to her, ...
>> this isn't ageist or condescending as much as it is,
>> "Wooh, look how far we've come in such a short
>> time!"
> That's the way I took it - I'm six years younger than your mother.
> My mother (born 1914, died 1982) used to say that as far as she was 
> concerned, the greatest invention in her lifetime was kleenex.
> Reading over the list Paula posted of innovations and changes since 1980, 
> it struck me that most of them are trivial even when I use them all the 
> time - with the whopping exception of the PC and the Net, and 
> videtotaping, which have made a big difference to my life.  Medical 
> advances have made a difference, as well, though more to those I care for 
> than to myself. (The illness I get tend to be untreatable things. Even 
> now. Drat.)

Trivial to a particular individual isn;t necessarily trivial to a society, 
though.... change can involve a lot of apparently small things that make the 
world a very different place, and values and perceptions radically 

> It also brought to mind the things I wished would have happened, and which 
> I expected to happen, but which haven't. Like effective urban transit. 
> Like pollution controls. Like a cure for nicotine addiction, HIV or 
> cancer.  I thought when I was in my teens that the world was changing for 
> the better - 'make love not war', manned exploration of space, less 
> starvation.  Instead, we have more war than ever, more pollution, more 
> prudery, and ... Well, I'm still idealistic, and I still hope for the 
> future.  Much as I love my iPod, it's just another way of listening to 
> music.  Much as I love my microwave, it's just another way of cooking.

Some places in the USA DO have effective urban transit -- Boston, New York 
City and it surroundings, Los Angeles (I've known several Angelenos who 
don't have cars and don;t drive), Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, even 
Minneapolis...  There is a lot of stuff that situations are -very- local, 
and "normal" in New York City" is not "normal" in e.g. Macon, Georgia... 
conditions and environment and lifestyles are quite different, and daily 
life assumptions are extremely different.

Microwaves make a huge difference to people on time budgets--fast food 
prep/reheating, make and freeze then pop into microwave, or buy and pop into 

> On the other hand, broadband net service and cable TV have brought the 
> whole planet into my living room.

Cable TV is irrelevant to me, I've never subscribed, so it;s a "So what?!" 
generally to me....

> When I was 12, I thought civilization wouldn't make it as far as the 21st 
> century. I thought war, overpopulation, economic collapse and toxic 
> pollution would get us first.  Yet here we are, 2009, and muddling along 
> with hope in the air.

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