Commenting On The Thousand Yard Stare – 1955-1958 – Past Daily Reference Room
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Year End Observations – 1955-1958
The only thing more fascinating than hearing how a year in history wound up, is hearing that year in history interpreted by a pundit – those elements we overlooked, those seemingly benign events that became earth-shattering, or the earth shattering events that proved to be less than benign.
In 1955 the commentary from Gabriel Heater on December 31st dealt with the plague of drunk driving accidents on Americas highways (a problem still going strong in 2012) and the alarming statistics. And then there was the perennial Cold War – the threat from Moscow – the thought of oblivion facing most waking moments in the 1950’s. Realizing how prevalent the fear was of the latter made the former all that much more understandable.
And on December 31, 1958 it was pretty much the same thing. The second commentary delivered by veteran newsman Bill Downs, spoke of the Cold War again. But added to the mix was the Middle East and Germany. But as always, not that far away from the threat of nuclear annihilation. Such was the 1950s.
So maybe it’s not that bad, this December 31st in 2012. Maybe it’s just different.
And maybe different is worse. We’ll know December 31st 2013.
Until then, stay sane and Happy New Year!