Photos of 1970s American culture through an environmental lens


24 Responses to “Photos of 1970s American culture through an environmental lens”

  1. Brainspore says:

    Wow, just look at that shirt.

    • tubesorsand says:

      Just look at it!

    • madopal says:

       Indeed, just look at that grocer’s apostrophe.

      • Frank Lee Scarlett says:

        I think the shirt was advertising a real or ersatz club, restaurant, burger shack, or the like. I remember winning a similar shirt at a roller-disco bingo raffle thing when I was 7 or 8.

        This was several years after the photo of the young thang above was taken, the coolness factor of the shirt having percolated down to an aesthetic appropriate to provincial roller rink raffles for kids.The ubiquitous grocer’s apostrophe gets on me nerves too, but typesetters and designers were more knowledgable about those things in the past. The ability to self-publish has multiplied the number of idiosyncracies and misspellings in print that would never have passed the review in earlier decades. It was too expensive to mess up. And creators grew up exposed to printed material that had been edited carefully before going to print.Damn, I loved that fucking shirt. The type and graphic outlines glowed in the dark which seemed the ne plus ultra of psychedelic/stony/Houses of the Holy rock art at that age. 

  2. welcomeabored says:

    We used to call that ‘the aroma of Tacoma’.  It smelled like an industrial-sized pile of used diapers was perpetually burning.

  3. Spinkter says:

    Throughout the 1970s, I played the role of the geeky “different” kid in small town America during elementary school, junior high, and high school.

    Therefore, I am qualified to score the 1970s as a decade having zero redeeming qualities.  None.

    EDIT: it’s hyperbole. geeze.

    • Heevee Lister says:

      Yeah, I know; we had the energy crisis and a recession.  But we were still idealistic enough that we threw a president out of office for the kind of political dirty tricks that are pretty much standard today.  Most households could still do fine on one income.  Lots of folks had real pension plans and the others had a reasonable expectation that they’d get Social Security when they retired. 

      Unions were strong and you could get a good job that supported a family comfortably without a college education.  If you wanted one, though, tuition at state schools in many states was <$300 per quarter (CA tuition was free) and your books usually cost less than $100.

      When you saw someone off at the airport, you could go right to the departure gate.  There were no no-fly lists.  You didn't have to take off your shoes.

      There were almost no surveillance cameras, no red-light cameras, no speeding cameras.  Radar detectors would usually keep you from getting a speeding ticket.  Police SWAT teams were generally found only in big cities.  If an old person joined a street protest, the cops were generally fairly gentle with him or her.

      Climate change was a non-issue.  The sexual revolution was in full flower, AIDS was years away, and a round of penicillin would knock out a case of Gonorrhea.  Kids still played outdoors unsupervised.

      So – tell me again why the 1970s were so bad.  Go ahead and think.  I'll wait.

      • David Pescovitz says:

        Also, music. 70′s rock, punk, and post-punk are my fave genres. 

      • jandrese says:

        Well, the Internet was pretty crappy in the 70s, that’s something.  Also, institutional racism was worse than it is today.  You also couldn’t get good Sushi in most towns. 

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Therefore, I am qualified to score the 1970s as a decade having zero redeeming qualities.  None.

      Oh, please.  Clothes that fit.  The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Harry Reems.  Need I go on?

    • welcomeabored says:

      In the 70′s food was identifiable as food, and none of it scared the crap out of us.  Mothers knew how to cook and could make meals from scratch.  Families frequently ate that meal in the same room *together*.  Going out to eat was considered a treat.   While in public, diners displayed their best manners, even children were expected to behave and not disturb others.

      The best music ever was recorded in the 1970s.  You could even get cheesy, playable 45s off the back of your cereal box, by bands like The Jackson 5, The Partridge Family, The Monkees and The Archies, and slap them down on your turntable for a spin.  The recording companies were ripping off the artists, not the “fans”.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        I have all 25 Have A Nice Day: Superhits of the 70s CDs.

      • kraut says:

         The best music ever was recorded in the 1970s.
        Just checkin, you *are* being ironic here, aren’t you?

        • welcomeabored says:

          No, and I can’t engage in fisticuffs with you.  The room is really crowded.  There’s no place for me to put down my martini.

        • Frank Lee Scarlett says:

          Not a fan of funk and soul I take it? Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Parliament/Funkadelic… the list goes on for pages were it printed. 

          Fans of David Bowie, Zappa, punk, experimental electronic, Can and Krautrock, Nigerian and African rock and funk, et al, take it away.

          • welcomeabored says:

            Actually, those were the kinds of groups you would find on the back of the cereal boxes, and  as a preteen of the seventies, we thought they were pretty neat.

            As for my musical tastes, I’m a funk, R&B, and blues fan from way back.  This summer we’ll attend three blues fests, two in Colorado and one in Wyoming.

  4. Philboyd Studge says:

    Hanging around the DMV is no life. You’re a young girl, you should be at home. You should be dressed up, going out with boys, going to school, you know, that kind of stuff.

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