The Null Device

Such despair wrapped up in so much yarn

A blogger named John finds a stack of 1960s-vintage womens' magazines, blogs about them being a depressing insight into how people coped with suburban isolation in the days before personal blogs/World of Warcraft/MySpace:
Some time ago at a yard sale I came across a pile of magazines called "Woman's Household". At first glance they just looked like your run of the mill woman's recipe and crafts magazine, but with each one I picked up I was stunned; I had never seen such despair wrapped up in so much yarn. The woman running the sale, gave them all to me for a dollar, saying "Take them all, they are just going in the garbage." I knew I'd do something with them someday, I guess this blog is it.
"Woman's Household" was a monthly crafts publication which sold for 25 cents an issue. Their slogan was "Meet Other Friendly Woman Just Like You". The key phrase being 'just like you'; middle aged women isolated in small towns across America. Every month readers were encouraged to participate in the writing of the articles, such as My Pet Peeve, or Words I Live By, My Diet or just to write a poem about Christ or their cat.
My favorite section is Missing Persons Corner. Here people ask for help in finding a long, long lost friend or relative. Usually the description of the person is vague at best, i.e., liked to drive cars; five foot five, last seen in Pensacola Florida. The most amazing thing is that they even have a section for people found.
Then again, would the suburban housewives who read these magazines in the 1960s have felt the kind of despair and isolation that John describes, or is our perception of this as depressing an artefact of us living in a far faster-moving and more stimulus-rich world? I suspect that the boredom may be subjective; whether or not the social isolation of living in the suburbs would have been objectively distressing could be a different question.

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