Newsweek has declared the end of the Great Recession, which is great news for the 15 million unemployed people. Or is it? Because the magazine has also cobbled together an online only feature on how "fun" the Great Depression was.
Sure, most people associate the Great Depression with really depressing things like the 20% jump in the suicide rate, the soldiers killing homeless veterans while rousting them from encampments, the breadlines, the hunger, and the Federal Transient Service. Jeez.
But doesn't anyone remember all the great things?
...alongside fear, hunger, and desperation, there was also "fun" in soup lines, "hope" and "excitement" in job queues, and light-hearted resilience in the face of "hard times."
To remind us, Newsweek offers interviews with people who have happy memories of the worst economic calamity to face America, ever: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cynthia Ozick, Helen Vendler, Gay Talese, Arnold Palmer, and Bob Barker. All of whom had some happy memories, and all of whom are distinguished by the fact that they survived the Great Depression and went on to make—in relative terms at the very least—a lot of fucking money.
So: If at some point in your lifespan you reach a plateau of financial comfort and stability, you can look back at the Hard Times as not all bad — even morally instructive. We wonder how the people who stayed poor remember it.