This Week in 1948
73 years ago the first color newsreel was shown in US cinemas, this anniversary reminded us of a 1939 article about color film, written right around the time The Wizard of Oz premiered:
The piece defends color film from critics and a disinterested public, noting how hard consumer habits are to change. The lesson? The next big thing won’t be treated like the next big thing at first.
Free Libraries? What Next, Free Opium?
In 1910 writer Dorothy Dix blamed free libraries for the increase in ‘bad’ novel reading by children, what would today be seen as a postive was used as an argument against increased library access.
She even went so far as to compare free libraries to free opium joints and saloons: "…that makes the wholesale establishment of free public libraries almost as much a menace to the well-being of the country as would be the opening up of free saloons or opium joints"
- The Marion Daily Mirror, 1910
Too Much Light?
The year is 1916, less than half of US homes had electric light, yet this article complained about a new abundance of illumination which was bad and injurious to our eyes.
A ‘helpful’ list of tips opined “Our houses are overlighted” and posited that glasses were only needed due to light soaked modern civilization. It recommended avoiding white book pages, baby clothes and ceilings.
Think of the Birds!
In 1887 people complained that Lady Liberty was killing birds, as with any large structure, some birds have fatal collisions with them. This echoes complaints about windmills erected to generate electricity.
Tweet of the Week
14 years ago this week Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, the mobile industry reacted with disdain and arrogance. Steve Balmer famously scoffed at the price and its touchscreen keyboard.
BTW: We have an Instagram: @PessimistsArc