When Were the "Good Old Days"?

Have you ever found yourself yearning for the day gone by? Warm feelings washing over you as you recall past people and events, maybe with an ache of loss?

That’s nostalgia. This condition typically occurs when people are feeling lonely or down. When nostalgic, people conjure up a period or place from their personal history that holds happy associations.

The Benefits (and Predicaments) of Nostalgia

Some researchers have found the emotion to be healthy, as studies have shown nostalgia to counteract loneliness, boredom, and anxiety. It can also prepare us for the future. If we are in a difficult period in our lives, we can ask ourselves what we will miss later when life is calmer.

Sometimes, however, this feeling extends beyond specific events and people to encompass the "good old days.” But were "the good old days" really that good, especially when nostalgia extends beyond a few personal anecdotes? History is full of terrible conflicts, disasters, and even diseases that are very rare today. People who remember nothing but good times are probably reminiscing about a period childhood, a time when parents or guardians shielded them from bad news.

Can We Trust Our Memory?

Memories are fluid. We can shuffle them around like cards in a deck, removing cards at will. Studies show we even manufacture memories. Folks who pine for the “good old days” — when children showed respect and police pursued every bicycle thief and shoplifter — may be remembering classic TV shows like "The Andy Griffith Show," "Dragnet," and "My Three Sons." Memories therefore aren’t as reliable as we’d like to believe.

Today's world is certainly in a rough state. What’s worse is that bad news is easier to find than good news in this information age. Conflict and outrage pay the bills. But if we look at the world as a whole, data shows for example that:

Therefore, the "good old days" are statistically more likely to be today and tomorrow than any time in the past, even if life currently seems a lot more challenging than usual.

Nostalgia as Teacher

When we play songs from the past on Pituey.com, we are not promoting a return or revival of times when minority groups were systemically oppressed. We want people to hear these songs so that we can learn from them, to see how much we've grown as a society since they were recorded.

And to see how much farther we still need to go.

Identifying Songs in the Pituey "Poop-Out" Player

We identify some of history's songs with one of the following icons from The Noun Project in the pop-out player on this site:

Sexism Slavery
Racism Sexual Harassment
Jingoism

Overindulging

 

To open the Poop-Out Player, just click on the Pituey.com Radio icon in the upper-left corner of the page. As you play the song, click on the icon to read an article with our thoughts about that song.

 

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