But reading the Pantagraph article, I was sort of dismayed at the writers attempt to portray 1983 as some distant and quaint era that we have long left behind. In fact, the column seems to devolve from an account of the famous killings to some sort of reflection on how Bloomington used to be Mayberry a mere quarter century ago.
Take this for example:
If anything better mirrors how 25 years and Hendricks have changed things, it may be this:Well not so weird really. Look, everyone had locks on their doors in 1983. I suspect the 1983 newspaper story was referring to people buying better locks, deadbolts and the like. I lived in some much smaller communities than Bloomington back then and we all had door locks.
A few days after news of the Hendricks murders broke, The Pantagraph ran a story about people scurrying to buy door locks to make sure their homes were secure.
How weird is that?
And here’s another mischaracterization of the era:
The 1983 [Bloomington-Normal] telephone directory listed 52 restaurants. Today, there are 261. There were five Yellow Pages listing attorneys. Today, there are 39.Um, I guarantee you there were a lot more than 5 attorneys in the Bloomington area in 1983. Perhaps the Yellow Pages aren’t the best measure of reality in this case since you had to pay (and still do I believe) to be in the Yellow Pages. As I recall, attorneys didn’t do all that much advertising back then. They don’t do that much now even if they do appear in the Yellow Pages more.
Anyway, stuff like this bugs me. Mischaracterizations of eras to fit some preconceived notion of simpler (or at least different) times are silly. This happens enough in fiction (Life on Mars) but do we need it in our “news” too?
Update: I think Nancy is right (in comments) regarding the attorneys. That is, there were 5 PAGES of attorneys in 1983. My bad for misreading. Part of my confusion came from the writer switching from the total number of restaurants listed to the number of pages of attorneys. Still, my argument stands. Attorneys advertise more now. And there are not 7.5 times as many attorneys now vs. 1983. Yellow Pages is a bad measure.