When we look back on today’s culture from some point in the future, what will we say? What will we be embarrassed about? What sins will we forgive ourselves for with the old “hindsight is 20/20” idiom? If we ask these questions, perhaps we can see such mistakes clearly–right now–if we only take the time to think critically.
Fashion choices often dominate this sort of thought exercise as trends change quickly, are by their nature recognizable, and are often iconic to a given year or decade. I have no doubt that the collective “we” will one day be incredibly embarrassed by men in tight pants with a swath of emo hair across their forehead or sporting the fauxhawk with a popped collar, women in jeggings or low rise jeans with a visible thong and a tramp stamp, and of course toe shoes which make even Crocs look good.
But fashion so rarely matters in the long run except for your ability to display old family photos. Other trends and events have lasting effects on the culture and the future psyche.
At one point in history, not so very long ago, frontal lobotomies were standard practice and over 50,000 people in the US alone had their brains scrambled with a blunt tool in the hopes that it’d cure what ailed them. It almost never did and some of the victims are still with us. This trend in the United States was spearheaded almost entirely by the singular vision of one charismatic individual: Dr. Walter Jackson Freeman II.
Who are the modern Dr. Freemans and what practices will we one day look down on like we now view lobotomies?
When the science is new and there’s a lack of consensus with only a shallow record of study and few results to analyze combined with a scant handful of people in positions of power, a singular messiah or very small group can have great sway over the culture.
But time and progress marches on and more people become aware, more eyes and minds are on the problem, the record grows and data goes from anecdotal to comprehensive. New solutions arise and old ways are reformed or discarded. Sometimes we forgive the front-runners for their imperfections but other times we see them as monsters. So too do we realize that some great minds of the time were under-appreciated and their keen insights are only appreciated after their deaths. Nikola Tesla is one such genius who is only now enjoying a resurgence in importance and recognition.
If I had to provide some names for the Dr. Freeman’s in the Dog Fancy, Lloyd Bracket and Carmen Battaglia come to mind. The first gave us the eponymous formula that is basically Blakewell style inbreeding with a dog on the cover, and the later is his current day champion within the AKC.
Who are your nominations for Freemans and Teslas in dogdom? Who should we dump into the rubbish bin of history and whose stock will rise in the future?
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