Things we take for granted now are things we thought impossible a decade or two before. Culture has changed so much since this report from legendary journalist Harry Reasoner first aired (on May 2, 1980).
But this report focuses on what was known as the “Televisionization of America – our TV culture had taken over. MTV was changing the way America listened to music. Television was expanding, via Cable – we joked about how there was now 300 more opportunities to find nothing to watch as we did before Cable came into being. Everything in 1980 was wandering in the direction of being compartmentalized, shrunken down, condensed – smaller was better and more efficient. It was Televisionization.
The energy crisis made dreams of owning a full-size car, a winebago or even filling your tank on $10.00 a thing of the past. Maybe it was just time – maybe we got off too easy for too long.
But it was the time of “smaller is better”, and the new gadgets which became part of our lives in 1980 were much smaller versions of the larger versions we were all too familiar with only in the previous decade.
May of 1980 – five months into a new decade and the future was already looking strange. As time went on, we would take less and less for granted as more and more would quietly leave the scene or change into something else, or just become obsolete.
As a reminder of how a changing world seemed to some of us, here is a commentary given by the legendary broadcast journalist Harry Reasoner as part of his daily news and comment feature from CBS Radio on May 2, 1980. Himself a thing of the past, broadcast over a radio, which is also a thing of the past.