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"Never Did Me Any Harm" Town

Grind children and pour O-levels over them
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Many people claim that we are going to Hell in a handcart because of the youth of today and it wasn't like this in their day, and also that however it was in their day never did them any harm. Suspicions, though, exist in view of the fact that the same people (nearly) were saying that back in the Bronze Age, as is recorded in Ancient Greek drama, so it's said. A war can then be waged using statistics and anecdotal evidence which generally leads to an impasse. At the same time, there's a dementia village in the Netherlands for people who are unable to remember what it's like now. Hence there are three demographics here: the Youth Of Today, Grumpy Old People (possibly middle-aged) and the elderly, all of whom are considered to benefit from living in what is widely regarded as a simpler time.

It is in fact not strictly necessary to rely on anecdotal or spuriously statistical evidence to resolve this disagreement. Set up a small town of around 9000 individuals with families and re-run the 1950s there. Have schools that don't spare the rod (illegal of course) and teaches, a long- term institution which cures you of your homosexuality by means of electric shocks and a police force which will club you over the head without due process. All the media and products fed into the town are period and the children, and also presumably the older people, are not let in on the secret. As far as they're concerned, it really is the late 1940s to early 1960s. Introduce lifestyle changes accordingly, getting them up to about 1963, then release the now grown up children and reset the clock to 1945 or thereabouts for a new intake. Monitor the children as they move through adulthood in the modern world and see how they perform in various ways.

In the meantime, the older people, suffering from dementia, continue to believe they're in mid-life and are offered a hyper-real shelter from the contemporary world.

There is of course plenty of domestic violence, abusive relationships, including inter-generational ones, and untapped potential from ascribed gender roles.

Generate money from occupations relevant at the time plus discreet tourism. Produce a fair amount of stuff in- house, such as canning and printing labels, farming, newspapers, books and magazines. Sell some of these to the wider public via a mysterious period lorry which turns up once a week and carts the stuff away. Also maintain classic cars with the appropriate parts.

After all this, which will of course completely blight the lives of the people who emerge from the social experiment without at any time having given even uninformed consent, as is in keeping with the Zeitgeist, settle once and for all the question of whether it really was better in the old days.

nineteenthly, Jan 05 2017

Like Project Orion? https://en.wikipedi...ension_(miniseries)
CBC was way ahead of you, [nineteenthly] [Sgt Teacup, Jan 05 2017]

Celebration, Florida https://en.wikipedi...elebration,_Florida
Mostly Baked. [sninctown, Jan 05 2017]

Year 2500: Internet Stock Market Bubble Reenactment Society Year_202500_3a_20In...enactment_20Society
[hippo, Jan 06 2017]


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Annotation:







       Excellent.   

       // a police force which will club you over the head without due process. //   

       Isn't the "without due process" thing inherent in the term "police force" ?
8th of 7, Jan 05 2017
  

       Why grind them?
Ian Tindale, Jan 05 2017
  

       I think the issue here is with how to contain the cultural relaxations which have by now stained the psyches of all but the most resolute reactionaries. For the teachers, for example, the question will be how to school children in the 1950s mode while suppressing the latte-sipping liberalities which those teachers have at their moral and cultural cores, how to apply Lochgelly to knuckles without the sort of hesitation which the youth of both today and yesterday would take for weakness and, needless to say, exploit as such. From the operational perspective, there is a degree of comfort to be taken from Milgram, but such inculcation will divert undoubtedly limited resources away from the essential tourist-attractive services such as buffing up bobbies helmets and making boiled sweets, which leaves us with the unsavoury but goals-congruent option of staffing the project with members of the Lords, or if they can’t be persuaded to do an honest day's work, the government's stash of clones of Norman Tebbit being shipped from the Svalbard seed vault (yes, this is the real purpose of the SSV, a hedge against the entropy of the universe by ensuring that the second post-diluvian age is inhabited only by those with the backbone to cycle around the few wind-blasted mountaintop islands that constitute the Earth's landmass, swinging birch canes and looking for work) to staff the classrooms, tuck shops and WRI meetings of nineteenthly's vision.
calum, Jan 05 2017
  

       Wow ... are there REALLY only three sentences in that paragraph?
normzone, Jan 05 2017
  

       He must be quite out of breath. And It's "Hell in a handbasket", [nineteenthly], I should know, I been in it for a while now. Ha.
blissmiss, Jan 05 2017
  

       I was going to plead for paragraph breaks but I don't think it would make a difference.   

       Handcarts? Handbaskets ? Oh, what we would have given for a handbasket. We had to go to hell all rolled up in a snotty handkerchief, try THAT for an uncomfortable experience.
normzone, Jan 05 2017
  

       If I were to read the whole idea, would there be a point to it?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2017
  

       Do you not remember where you are, [MB]?
nineteenthly, Jan 05 2017
  

       In general, or just now?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2017
  

       You're in a general? Or did you mean you're in other:general?   

       Either way, make noise, bang on the walls - we'll find you and get you out soon.
normzone, Jan 05 2017
  

       (+) for mentioning the dementia village. That is one great idea.   

       Echo the dementia village reference, and kudos for doing so. The Alzheimer's Association is very much interested in that design, btw.
blissmiss, Jan 05 2017
  

       Baked, (allegedly) without all the negative stuff you mentioned. The town of Celebration, Florida is a centrally- planned community of ~10,000 people, run by the Walt Disney company to forever be a perfect slice of 1950's suburban America.   

       I knew some people who grew up there. Good, wholesome people.
sninctown, Jan 05 2017
  

       This parallels (vaguely, and tangentially) a thing I've been thinking about recently, but didn't want to post as an idea as I'd have to do a bit of work to brush it up into something presentable as one, and then it'd get criticized, then sink from trace, so that'd be a bunch of work wasted. Therehence, I won't post it as an idea, but merely adhere it onto here as an annotation.   

       I've been thinking for a while that there's a limitation in the human condition in that we live for a while then die, but in general, we live for about the same short period, historically speaking. Nobody alive can remember what it was like prior to the Victorian era, for example, and yet a lot of the Victorian era's thinking represents prototypical 20th century style. Consequently, nobody really remembers what it was like in the 16th century, what fads and fashions and intellectual periods were notable, nobody remembers what it was like in the 8th century, etc. Mostly, all we remember is what it was like to be in an Industrial Age, as a consumer, and in times where production miraculously and coincidentally kind of roughly matched consumption. Beyond that, all we've got is history, which is largely fiction and more biased and selective than a typical news media, and if not that, then there's a few stories wot a few people wrote.   

       What I've been thinking about is to be able to extrapolate somehow what it was actually like (where 'actually like' could have some useful measurable meaning) to live in various times. Not what we believe they were like, from what we've heard, but actually like. Maybe it would be better to machine analyse this, rather than trust human cognitive biases and perceptual errors to vote for the incorrect one (as if we'd do that?).   

       The idea is that the 'optimum' time or times to have lived in could be treated as a desirable baseline with which to model future cultural movements and social structures, rather than just aimlessly willy-nilly drifting into this cultural frame or that one, with no sense of risk management or objectives.   

       The optimum time to be alive in might well be quite different to the times we live in now, or might be quite similar. By definition, we're only looking backward into times that have already occurred and what went on in them. But also by definition, it acts as a datum line for the future, so there's no harm in mixing and matching from several such cultural marker points in history to synthesise a better of times.
Ian Tindale, Jan 06 2017
  

       So, on the basis that there is a limit to the extent to which we can look back, we start a series of parallel NDMAH Towns, one for 1950s, one for 1960s, one for 1970s and so on and so forth, for each decade for the next couple of hundred years, sealing off the relevant decade so that some time the 23rd C. we can look back and formally analyse the optimum time ("Tindale Time"), exterminate everyone who isn't within the Tindale Time bubble and then time the glass dome to break shortly after the present and Non-Tindale Time bodies have decomposed, leaving the Tindale Timers to optimally colonise the fresh, green planet Earth.   

       I think the thing I like best about this idea is that it has led me to view the Midwich Cuckoos very much from the point of view of the Cuckoos themselves, with their bizarre yoof slang, their snapchatting and their extravagant rolls of the eyes, the authority figures in that book being, well, Norman Tebbit.
calum, Jan 06 2017
  

       But how will you stop the 1950's-time-capsule people from independently creating 21st century things? It seems that instead of multiple temporal islands, each frozen in their time, you'll have parallel streams of societal evolution each coming from an arbitrary point of genesis.

Another thought is that, to some extent, these towns already exist in more rural areas of the country, about which we elite metropolitan types smirk, while sipping our lattes and checking our smartphones, describing our bumpkin country cousins as "behind the times".

Some of this discussion about our connection with previous epochs reminds me - I once met someone whose grandfather was born in the 18th century.
hippo, Jan 06 2017
  

       I'm not sure technical advancement is a factor here so much as life values. There are times when the values were quite poisonous but accepted as a general forward-going advantage, then later it turned out they weren't.   

       The yuppie arrogance and braggadocio (and data 70) of the yuppie times, where if you weren't a total cunt, then you must have been some kind of insignificant defective accident.   

       The successful golden-age days of the 1920's+ish were also to demonstrate unhealthy ideas, such as a resurge in interest in eugenics as if it were a plausibly good thing, and the worship of speed and machinery, and naturally acceptance of Fordism values.   

       Then we have the 50's, which seems like innocent rock&rolling tank-top wearing lipstick on your collar labour- saving thermoplastic product consuming fun. But also had segregation, polio, tuberculosis as accepted norms.
Ian Tindale, Jan 06 2017
  

       I think all these eras will find immortality, not in preserved bubbles of temporal stasis, but in new and ever-more-specific re-enactment societies, each with their traditional membership of oddballs and misfits (for example, see link).
hippo, Jan 06 2017
  

       The simulation argument is compatible with the current state of the planet being considered just such a time, and that's really depressing. However, I don't agree with the simulation argument, so that's okay.
nineteenthly, Jan 06 2017
  

       You'd probably have to take the best from each decade. Up until the last decade or two, it was quite acceptable to dump all kinds of things into the environment - lead, asbestos, arsenic, radium - all sorts of goodies that would ensure dementia or worse. You couldn't even use old fashioned cooling technology based on CFCs despite the lobbying from fridge magnates.   

       Simulations could be fun if you can change the right parameters. I'm sure an AI could do that in a few decades. I'd like to know what today would be like if the unions hadn't been smashed.
bigsleep, Jan 06 2017
  

       I didn't think they were that intoxicated - perhaps just buzzed a bit.
normzone, Jan 06 2017
  


 

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