Documenting a History of Weirdness

Tho-Radia

Tho-Radia

They do say to remember history, lest you be doomed to repeat it. I’m not sure how much truth there is in that, but one thing’s for sure: America’s been a pretty bizarre place at times. Here’s a few links that I think consist of photographic proof of that.

  • Classroom posters of the 1970s, when you pull out the words, just seem… odd. I don’t have any idea what most of these posters are getting at. (Warning: There’s some profanity with these, so if that bothers you, please don’t click on the link.)
  • It turns out that even with the text, some of them don’t make a whole lot of sense. The “Can you get into the group?” poster seems to have an unspoken answer of “Heck no, you big nerd.” (Again, some profanity. You are warned. Do not click on it if it bothers you, please!)
  • The Atlantic has this lovely gallery of images from the 1970s. Many of the pictures are related to energy and environment, with smog from industrialized areas, heaps of damaged oil drums and cars dumped into a pond. It’s a little disturbing to think that this is the norm, historically: people dumping things any old where. I’m glad it’s not like that anymore.
  • But we’ve been even more insane than that, frankly. I’ve written before about how people used to think radiation was a cure-all and that there was no such thing as too much of a good thing. Here’s more advertisements and pictures to boggle at: hey, I know, let’s have radioactive facials and condoms and chocolate and toothpaste and knit our children baby jumpers out of radioactive wool! And to be clear, there were enough people who weren’t sure it was safe during Marie Curie’s lifetime that when she was gifted with a bit of radium in 1921, they gave it to her in a lead-lined mahogany box. Despite her insistence that it was safe. (She died of aplastic anemia, by the way, so she was not correct about its safety. To be fair, the science was in its infancy at that time and Curie did more for it than anybody.)

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