Monday, 17 July 2017

Changes In Social Attitudes

Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis.
"Times change and we change with them." See here.

"The past is another country." See here.

"The past is a foreign country." See here.

In Britain in my lifetime, attitudes to two phenomena, homosexuality and smoking, have reversed. Homosexuality has become legal. Smoking in enclosed public places has become illegal.

SM Stirling imagines Changed conditions followed by a changed attitude to smoking:

"In the old days they'd believed that smoking was bad for you, but there were so many other things that could, would and did kill you now that people didn't care."
-SM Stirling, The High King Of Montival (New York, 2011), Chapter Fifteen, pp. 328-329.

In fact, there was no end to the follies of "the old Americans":

"Some of them had believed eating butter was bad for you, of all things." (p. 329)


David Birr said...

In terms of changed attitudes, I'm reminded of how in the future as portrayed in "UN-Man," it was nothing special when you visited someone else's home for your host to invite you to strip naked. Nothing sexual, either; just, apparently, that nude was considered the best condition for relaxing in friendly surroundings.

David Birr said...

And I forgot to mention, from the same story, the irony that when out in public, it was common to wear a mask for privacy. As the Man in Black said in *The Princess Bride*: "...they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future."

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID and Paul!

David, and in Robert Heinlein's novel THE PUPPET MASTERS, we see nudity, or near nudity, becoming accepted as a means of making sure people are NOT being puppet mastered by slug-like invading aliens controlling their minds. Or that guests visiting others will need to strip enough to prove these aliens were not attached to them.

Paul, I continue, respectfully, to disagree about homosexuality, without in the least wishing to trouble adult homosexuals.

But smoking tobacco IS bad for one's health! What really changed after the Change, among other things, was the simple inability of smokers to indulge in this habit.

And butter is bad, when overdone! Again, what changed was that most people had no choice but to far more physically active than they were, pre-Change. In fact, they needed more butter, because of that active life.


S.M. Stirling said...

The thing about smoking is that it'll usually get you in late middle age. We're very concerned with that because we live long enough to die of degenerative diseases.

Ingolf Vogeler just doesn't expect to live that long -- in his way of life, getting killed and eaten by cannibals is a much more likely cause of death than cancer. He does more or less have to give up smoking after he settles in the far west, because nobody in Montival kept up the habit or cultivates tobacco; the weed is rare and extremely expensive and the habit generally died out in the post-Change years. (Though some people smoke marijuana.)

OTOH, the part of Wisconsin he comes from is deep-rural and does well after the Change, but it's also a large-scale tobacco producing area, so there's an incentive to keep growing some.

(Despite his expectations, in fact he does live into his seventies.)

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Thanks for your comments. I had not known Wisconsin grew much tobacco. I had the impression CLIMATE pretty much limited where it could be grown. Iow, warmer states of the former US than in Wisconsin.

Ingolf Vogeler lived into his seventies? Good! But, then we would have to expect, alas, to see more people coming down with degenerative diseases and almost NOTHING could be done about, dependent as such treatments were on pre-Change high technology.

So, I would physicians to be doing their best to EMPHATICALLY discourage such habits as smoking.