I walked up to the bank teller, wearing a mask. They’d be alarmed if I wasn’t wearing one. Sir, would you please conceal your identity? Oh right! Sorry.

I told her that we were going to do some old-style banking here. Real 20th century stuff, the sort of thing she got into the teller biz to do. None of this electronic folderol, moving numbers from one part of the screen to the other. You ready? She was ready.

Whereupon I produced a bag of coins in wrappers. Quarters, dimes, nickels.

“It’s my lucky day,” she said, and gestured to a pile of wrapped coins in her cubicle. I was the second person who’d come by with these archaic tokens of another era.

“Well, we have to get them out of the house while they’re still legal tender,” I said. “I decided to put the coins in rolls because I had this nagging itch to do something useful, but wanted to put off other projects that were really more important. This is good for that.”

She accepted the rolls without running them through a machine. I’ve noticed this from a previous trip. If I’m a dime short or a quarter over, who cares. It’s junk to them. What was once true riches when you were a kid - a coffee can full of coins, with lots of quarters - was now just scrap. No one uses them anymore. It’s the card, the beep, the tap on the wrist, the silent migration of something from your cash app to someone else’s account. The comforting feel of a pocket with quarters is no longer a common experience. It’s strange to think that you were there when something that went back millennia just . . . ended.

Oh, I know, it hasn’t ended. You still have coins you still insist on cash I get it, I get it. But it’s rare. I remember when a pocket full of quarters meant cigarettes, parking meter, laundry, pinball. A pocket full of utility. Now I pay for parking with my phone - and this is better. I don’t buy cigarettes, I don’t feed commercial washers - and this is better. I don’t play much pinball, and this is worse.

There was a busker in Dinkytown in my day, a fellow named Jerry. A relic of the 60s, we thought; he was certainly older than the average student at the U. Tall fellow, cowboy hat. He played on the corner in the summer and he played in the hall of the Dinkydale building in the winter. He lived on the coins the passersby dropped.

He died a while ago; I saw the name in the obits and wasn’t surprised to remember him, because I’d never forgotten him.

I did not deposit the coins. I took cash. I like cash. I don’t like to spend it, but I like to have it.

“So,” I said, “That’s done. Now the second part. Ready?” I slid a piece of paper across the desk. “I need some more checks.”

She reared back in mock surprise: whoa, we are going way back in time. We had a conversation about the decline of checks, the annoyance of checks, our annoyance with people who write checks, and how the grocery store cliche of the old lady who has to dig to the bottom of her purse for the checkbook, then takes forever writing it out, then enters the amount in the register - where did they go? What will be the equivalent in 30 years, I wonder. Someone who has to get out his phone, swipe up, find the app, tap it on the terminal, I guess. Behind him in line, people who’ll pay by blinking a personal code in front of the retinal scanner.

Why would you have to blink a code? It’s not like someone has stolen your retina. Well, this would prevent paying for something by mistake, or falling victim to crooks who are carrying a small concealed retinal scanner, or hackers who accessed a database of retinal scans and use it to buy bitcoin on the DAAARRRRK WEB.

Bitcoin. They wanted a name that said “value” and “money” and “portability,” and they went with coin. Well, he did. Bitbuck sounds like a coupon, one of those scraps of scrip that has a monetary value of 1/10 mil. Bitdollar is too US-specific. No, they went with coin, because people have a certain attachment to them. To the history. To the tiny portraits and historical figures, the innumerable variants from age to age, country to country. We have a soft spot in our hard banker’s hearts for coins.

And we watched them all go away, shrugged, and went on with the world.







Who’s responsible for the culture wars? The right, of course. Everything was proceeding as it should, climbing the staircase of enlightenment, everything getting better and better on our way to the best of all possible worlds. Then the ogres appeared, their brows thick and knotted, their mien dull and perturbed, and they set about to fight with the angels on the staircase. They knew not why, only that they were not angels, and felt ashamed at their own rude forms and incoherent grunts.

NPR interviewed a fellow who wrote a book on this, and I was interested in his take. These excerpts also draw from this. He said:

I think there was a specific set of circumstances in the early 1970s, where the culture wars sprung up, because finally the evangelical right felt galvanized into doing something.

And what was that? What did they do? What was that specific set?

Did anything happen in “the early 1970s” that might have produced a cultural flashpoint to which religious might might be drawn?

But why [the culture wars] really begin here, it's hard to know.

It’s all a mystery!

In another interview, we put the donkey tail on a lady in West Virginia

SHAPIRO: Take the episode about books in schools. Ronson introduces us to a church minister's wife in West Virginia named Alice Moore. In the 1970s, she noticed that new titles were being added to school reading lists.

RONSON: When Alice found out about this new curriculum, she demanded that she would read every single book.

Wikipedia, from here on: “In 1970, West Virginia's Superintendent of Schools signed a proposal for funding to ensure the training of teachers to ‘induce change’ so that children in the state's educational system could elevate and expand above their own cultural surroundings the state views as limited.”

Does that sound as if the evangelicals are starting a culture war? Yes, if you believe that any resistence to progress is an act of aggression, I guess.

The school board moved to review the books before sending them to schools. Upon receiving the review copies, Moore was offended by a quote from the Autobiography of Malcolm X in which he referred to Christians as "brainwashed"; she requested and received all 300 textbooks, and claimed that she found unsettling quotations from Allen Ginsberg, Sigmund Freud's writings on the Oedipus complex, and convicted Black Panthers such as Eldridge Cleaver's "Soul on Ice" and by George Jackson.

I don’t know what the Ginsberg quote was, but the guy was a pederast. I mean, when Andrea Dworkin calls you a pederast, well.

Ginsberg was a supporter and member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), a pedophilia and pederasty advocacy organization in the United States that works to abolish age of consent laws and legalize sexual relations between adults and children. Saying that he joined the organization "in defense of free speech", Ginsberg stated: "Attacks on NAMBLA stink of politics, witchhunting for profit, humorlessness, vanity, anger and ignorance ... I'm a member of NAMBLA because I love boys too—everybody does, who has a little humanity". In 1994, Ginsberg appeared in a documentary on NAMBLA called Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys (playing on the gay male slang term "Chickenhawk"), in which he read a "graphic ode to youth”

Jackson was a Communist. In speaking of his ideological transformation, Jackson remarked "I met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels, and Mao when I entered prison and they redeemed me.” Also while in prison he killed a man, a few years before the school book controversy.

I’m thinking maybe there’s a way to expand the curriculum without bringing in the kiddie-diddlers and the Maoist murderers?

Unless that’s all you got, of course.

It took me a while to find the texts to which she objected. Searching local newspapers brought up “Man,” by MacDougal & Littel. Searching that brought up a text called the Brotherhood of Man, on eBay. The table of contents:

You can make some of it out. Unless he was writing about traditional Engish neckwear, I think that's
Mascot, a chapter in the Malcolm X autobiography. It’s an interesting read. He does not call Christians “Brainwashed.” It’s a line at the end, when he says his Muslim faith saved him from being a Black Christian, who were the brainwashed ones. It’s a fascinating chapter, describing how he was taken in by a white family while in reform school, accepted and treated well, but how the family also freely used the N word talking about blacks in the community.

What I am trying to say is that it just never dawned upon them that I could understand, that I wasn't a pet, but a human being. They didn't give me credit for having the same sensitivity, intellect, and understanding that they would have been ready and willing to recognize in a white boy in my position. But it has historically been the case with white people, in their regard for black people, that even though we might be with them, we weren't considered of them. Even though they appeared to have opened the door, it was still closed. Thus they never did really see me.

This is the sort of kindly condescension which I try to clarify today, to these integration-hungry Negroes, about their "liberal" white friends, these so-called "good white people" -- most of them anyway. I don't care how nice one is to you; the thing you must always remember is that almost never does he really see you as he sees himself, as he sees his own kind. He may stand with you through thin, but not thick; when the chips are down, you'll find that as fixed in him as his bone structure is his sometimes subconscious conviction that he's better than anybody black.

Sure glad none of that institutionalized condescention still applies! Anyway:

On 23 May, Moore came to the school board meeting and charged that the textbooks were "filthy, disgusting trash, unpatriotic and unduly favoring blacks”. She argued that the textbooks taught children to disrespect the beliefs of their parents and taught a brand of relativism that did not belong in West Virginia.

At the peak of the debate, two nutwads bombed some schools to make their point. They were caught, convicted, and sent to prison.

The wikipedia page has a section called LEGACY.

This movement has profoundly shaped subsequent American education and electoral politics, as proponents have attempted to regain the power they perceived themselves to have lost in the 1960s cultural movements.

Whether or not you think the school board was correct to expand (or replace) the curriculum, the people who objected were losing power in the 1960s cultural movements. If they hadn’t, this wouldn’t have happened.

In the case of the Kanawha County controversy, Moore and her supporters perceived that progressive secularists were undermining Christian values in their embrace of moral relativism, atheism and sexual experimentation (amongst other things) in educational textbooks a la 1960s liberationism.

Again, “perceived.” That was the point of the progressive secularists, unless you want to insist that they were boon companions and staunch defenders of religion, moral rigidity, theism, and traditional sexual mores.

The very fact that the article uses the term “liberationism” without quotes or a link tells you how the language changed. But of course “liberation” from all those bourgeoise norms was understood to be necessary for modern enlightenment, an inevitable progression.

Opposition was irrational. Questioning the new holy texts was heresy. The act of saying “No; no, not this” was like shelling a peaceable village full of Newtons and Galileos.





It’s 1980. Obviously, the Aroostook edition.

I suppose I could go back to see when they redid the design. This isn’t good, but most papers of that era were ugly.

I went back into the archives - as opposed to going forward? - and learned that they changed to Futura on Tuesday, Feb 27, 1973. Monday, serif; Tuesday, the entire paper looks different.

Anyway, you know all those stories, right? No surprises there, no mysteries.

  And they would be held hostage for another 344, a number I know because when they were released, Jack Ohman, cartoonist for the Daily where I worked, declared the Swingline 444 the official staplers of the hostage crisis conclusion.

Someone’s not going to be popular around town, but he’s going to call it like he hears it.

Someone’s not going to be popular around town, but he’s going to call it like he hears it.

  Arts critic from 1965 to 1987.
  I think we all know the type. All these types.


Good Lord, that’s . . . that’s some editorial, isn’t it.

Thirty days in jail for selling something for more money than the government determined.

Perhaps - maybe just perhaps - revisiting high school in an endless loop is not a sign you’ve made the most of your adult years?

The days when Dennis actually menaced:

We can imagine how he got the shiner, but I’m wondering what happened in the fight that dissolved the inseam of his britches.

Here's the lesson: the 80s were more interesting than the average newspaper.

Most newspapers had started to be old and boring. It wouldn't get better for most.




That will do! Now we begin the Liquor portion of the 1950s ad site. Portions will be larger than usual, or I'll never get this entire thing up.






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