2020 is a prime time to think about how the media affects us all.
There's fake news on social media, internet silos and hive minds, disinformation everywhere you look, and, speaking more generally, just a higher volume of information flying in our faces than ever before.
To contextualize the current chaos, historical examples may be helpful. And when media and propaganda are the focus of our curiosity, the Cold War immediately comes to mind.
Lucky for us, Reddit boasts plenty of users of all ages, Cold War babies included. A recent post asked those who were there to share just what the propaganda felt like during the global conflict.
Alpha_Scatterrer asked, "People who lived during the cold war, how was the propaganda like?"
Even in the Songs
"So much media was about dying in nuclear war."
"The Smiths and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD) and Alphaville were popular alternative bands in the 80's and they sung about nuclear annihilation ALL THE TIME."
"Convincing. You thought that every Soviet was out to kill and destroy you. Wasn't until I was in the navy and we had a Russian carrier pull alongside us for a photo op."
"It was then I realized how insignificant I was In the grand scheme of things. It was then I could see myself as a sailor on that ship."
"It was then that I flushed nationalism down the toilet and recognized humanity as my true countrymen and women. The propaganda still lives on today - most just don't see it."
"My dad (boomer born 1953) recently watched one of my 5 year old daughters favourite cartoons, Masha and The Bear."
"He was fascinated by the fact he found it funny. He was in awe that Russian people could produce a cartoon that was warm and lighthearted."
"He genuinely said to me that when he grew up he was told that Russian children were not allowed to watch anything like that, and that cartoons were either propaganda or extremely dated and poor quality."
"In the UK there were lots of ads promoting Trident (a very expensive Nuclear Weapons System)."
"Meanwhile the infrastructure decayed as we trudged to our school chock full of abusive 3rd rate teachers and unemployment was the norm."
"Think 1984. Dreary poverty."
Not Fear, But Pity
"We had the idea that everyone behind the Iron Curtain was living a miserable and drab life. Standing in line for hours to get poor quality goods, living in grey concrete buildings. Never smiling, living in fear or reprisals should they speak up."
"We didn't hate the people living in communist countries but we hated their system and felt kind of sorry for them."
"Meanwhile we were scared that they would attack at any moment and try to subjugate the rest of us."
"We thought the Russians drank tank fuel when they ran out of vodka. And also that Russian women were 10 feet tall and had beards." -- UncleGIJoe
"Russians, as described by JRR Tolkien" -- all_doges_go_to_heck
"I'm too young, but the anti-American propaganda was enormous in socialist Czechoslovakia."
"For example, American music was banned as well as Coca-Cola, which is why we created our version called Kofola (which is much better in my opinion)."
"We also laugh at the Soviet lie that the USA brought potato bugs to central and east Europe so that they would destroy our potatoes."
"If you want to get your head around just how successful the propaganda machine in the US was, just look at politics today. Socialism is a dirty word among many who were adults in the 80's, even when discussing democratic socialism."
"Back then, socialist and communist were basically the same word and would be frequently swapped when discussing the USSR. My parents think Bernie Sanders and AOC are leaders of an underground communist movement looking to secretly overthrow the republic."
"Us good, them bad. Watch Rocky IV. It's the ultimate Cold War propaganda movie." -- 93195
"5'11" Sylvester Stallone outboxed 6"4" Dolph Lundgren and then the Russian crowd cheered."
"I don't know what was more implausible- the plot, or that people bought it, to the tune of $300m. That's how much the US believed it's own bullsh!t in the 80s."
"That's what 'making America great again' means." -- sugarfoot00
Get Em While Their Young
"American here. They really wanted us to love our government, no matter what they were doing. When I was a kid in the early 80s, I had a book called 'Kid's Letters to President Reagan'..."
"and it was full of cute questions like 'What's your favorite pet?' so we could humanize the people who run the country."
"At the same time, once in a while they snuck in one meant to dehumanize the Soviets, like 'Do Russians go to heaven when they die?'"
"I still remember that page from the book because it had a picture of Nikita Khrushchev with a halo and angel wings banging his shoe on a podium."
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Being diagnosed with cancer is news no one ever wants to hear.
For some people, the diagnosis might come as a surprise, with no signs or warnings whatsoever.
Others, however might have detected some irregularities, or suffered from symptoms which led them to believe something wasn't quite right, leading them to run to a doctor.
Only to have their worst fears realized.
"People of Reddit who have gone through or are going through cancer, what was the first sign that made you go to the doctor?"
Lucky To Be Scolded By Dad.
"I was fooling around in a mall as a kid."
"So My dad grabbed me by the neck to make me behave."
"He felt a lump on my neck and immediately began to get nervous."
"We went to the doctor the next day, caught the cancer before it spread and was able to surgically remove it about a month later."
"Got super lucky."- SockFeetLover
"My sister noticed a small painful lump in her breast shortly after having her second child."
'Doctor diagnosed a blocked mammary gland."
"A couple weeks later it still wasn’t gone."
"Again doc said blocked gland."
"Months later it’s still not gone and she insists on getting a second opinion."
"Stage 3 breast cancer."
"Double mastectomy immediately followed by months of agonizing radiation and chemo only to find out it’s now stage four."
"She’s been stable for a few years but now it’s spreading again and we don’t know how long we have with her."
"Trying to be as positive as possible."- KidGorgeous19
"My 33 year old husband was diagnosed with inoperable glioblastoma, most aggressive brain cancer, in January 2019, when he was 31."
"What caused him to get a check, was persistent headache that didn’t go away with paracetamols and sleep."
"We discovered the tumors after taking an MRI."
"Needless to say, our lives were changed forever."
"Now we are at the end of our journey, and it’s been a harrowing experience for me as his wife and caregiver."
"It’s a lonely journey."
"I don’t wish it upon anyone and no one has any idea what glioblastoma is like, unless they have gone through it."
"The median survival time is 14-18 months."
"Viktor has passed away yesterday, on 1st August."
"He was surrounded by his brother and me and smiled a lot to the very end."
"At his final resting position, his face looked relaxed and a little smile can be seen by us too."
"I am still in shock, processing what has happened to us. I’ll take the time I need to process this and grieve."
"I just miss my husband."
"I miss his laughs."
"I miss his smile."
"I feel loved."
"I know I’m loved."
"So that’s keeping me together."
"May Viktor find peace."
"I know he’s not in pain now."- syarkbait
Swollen Head and Neck
"My head and neck area became very swollen."
"At first I thought I was just getting fat, so I worked out a lot and ate better."
"This did not help."
"I also went to a local clinic and they thought it might be an allergic reaction and gave me steroids, which also didn’t help."
"The thing that finally made me go to the emergency room and not leave until I had an answer is that I started to develop unexplained bruises on my chest."
"Turns out I had a huge tumor in my chest which had grown around my heart and was compressing the superior vena cava so blood couldn’t flow back down from my head."
"The good news is that it turned out to be very treatable and I’ve been cancer free for 11 years now."- eskimospy212
A Different Lump
"Funnily enough, it was a totally unrelated lump."
"'Nope, that lump is fine, just a lipoma'."
"'However, we found another lump in the corner of your x-ray and we need to biopsy it'."- something_crass
"Super heavy periods that would last for 10 or more days."
"Got an iud to help control bleeding."
"Actually hemorrhaged so bad the iud came out."
"Endometrial Cancer, huge tumor in my uterus."
"Ladies, it's not normal to need a tampon and pad at the same time."
"It's not normal to need to change them every 10 minutes or even every hour."
"An average period is 2-3 Tablespoons, just for reference."
"Sorry if TMI."
"I am one year NED (no evidence of disease)."
"I was diagnosed at 40."
"The main take away is if something is not right, keep looking for answers and the right physician."
"Heavy periods do not usually mean cancer in pre menopausal women, but there is no reason to suffer through them."
"Post menopausal women should not experience any bleeding, one drop and you should go to the doctor right away."- Icewaterforall
If something seems off, or doesn't go away in a reasonable amount of time, it's always best to see a doctor.
Even if you have the slightest doubt.
Being a teenager comes with several ups and downs.
Perhaps the biggest downside of one's teenage years, is the looming reality of adulthood being just around the corner.
That the time when you can no longer depend on your parents as a safety net, and must eventually start supporting yourself is fast approaching.
Of course, most teenagers will choose to ignore this reality, and cherish each moment of their vanishing youth.
As a result, they might not react too kindly when being faced with certain information, if they're even willing to hear it.
"What are teens today not ready to hear?"
Adulthood Has A Way Of Sneaking Up On You...
"In 15 years you’re going to think the kids have gone too far and they’re going to think you’re old-fashioned."- neat_machine
Think Carefully About Your Texting Habits
"That d*ck pic you sent, got screenshot and sent to 5 other people."- boxoffingernails
You Will Always Be You
"You won't 'feel' different when you're older, or have kids."
"You'll just be you, it's weird."- Poshspicer
You Won't Always Seem Cool...
"Everything you do as a teenager will be cringe to your children."- divinetrackies
"Your parents were hip and cool before they had to pay your bills and feed you and buy you the cool clothes so you can impress the friends you'll forget about in 10 years."- Azuras_Star8
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings!
"To the ones who ride the public bus in my city, specifically: nobody else wants to hear whatever TikTok you’re watching."
"Buy some headphones."- EmiliusReturns
Don't Underestimate The Importance Of School
"School has a system in place to keep you from falling behind, life doesn’t."- Corey854
It's Worth Waiting For The Right Person
"It’s okay to be a virgin at 18."- projectdissociate
Don't Always Feel Compelled To Provoke
"Being controversial isn't the same as being interesting."- HezFez238
Everybody Makes Mistakes...
"Just because you f*cked up does NOT mean you’re a f*ckup."- Mr_Murder1
It's understandable why teenagers aren't ready to hear any of this information.
Mainly because most of them aren't ready for adulthood, and all it has in store.
Though ten or so years from now, they'll likely be extremely grateful to have been told all of this, as they'll possibly tell their own children...
A lot of people seem to have a lot of assumptions about the way the world works, and a lot of us don't have any experience to back up those assumptions.
Whether it's assuming that there absolutely must be another box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the back of the store that they can have if they can only convince the poor teenager stocking shelves, or that a photo editor will be able to magically make your blurry, pixellated photo look amazing, there's a lot of things people seem to think are true about different fields that just aren't.
Redditor Enguzelharf asked:
"What's your profession's myth that you regularly need to explain 'it doesn't work like that' to people?"
"I work in a hardware store and apparently people think we have a huge underground storage big enough to hide every product in existence."
"No, I can't just go and fetch a part for your 20-year-old fireplace or power tool from the backroom."
"Also- an extension cord with two sets of male ends isn’t needed for Christmas light installation. No, you didn’t but one last year. Yes, I know this. I worked here last year. We didn’t have them then either. There is a use for those cords but it’s not Christmas lights."
"Retail. If an employee tells you they're sold out of that hot sale item. They're sold out. They're not hoarding them in the backroom, because f**k you. They know they're sold out, because you're the 10th person to ask about it, in the last 20 minutes."
"Your terminally ill grandmother isn't 'becoming addicted' to her pain medication. She's dying in as much comfort and with as much dignity as we can provide."
"As an add-on to this, the pain medication isn't going to kill them faster."
"Honestly, I needed someone to remind me of this when we were at the morphine phase with my mom. They explain how they’ll stop all treatment and make her comfortable with the morphine, and somehow it just felt like we’d be killing her. The doctor took her time to explain that was not what was happening. I am a relatively smart person but in this situation I just really needed to hear this."
"Antibiotics don't work on viral diseases."
Conservation Of Energy
"As an engineer, I have to explain a lot of time that the law of energy and mass conservation can't be broken."
"Are you telling me that my childhood invention of a solar-powered car with a big lamp on it pointing at the solar panels *wouldn't* be able to run forever? I don't believe you.
"One time the HVAC went out in my office and my boss brought in a portable air conditioner. I asked where we were going to vent the hot air, and he was like 'What heat? It's an A/C, it just makes cold.' It took 20 minutes on a whiteboard to explain that you can't 'make cold,' you're just transferring the heat somewhere else."
"When someone finds out you're an accountant 90% of the time they will say "great, so you can help with my taxes haha" . There are loads of accountants who may never see taxes in their day-to-day and have minimal knowledge from their certification only."
"So much this, and no I’m not busy in April because it’s tax season, it’s because the quarter just ended."
"Video production. Your only options in the edit are what the camera captured."
"Dude this. I have clients sometimes ask me to add slow motion to certain shots. 'Make it look slick and smooth.'"
"Well, you shot everything at 24fps so, no. It’s gonna look like sh*t."
"'Just fix it in post' I will end you."
"There aren’t just buckets of grant money available for your wacky idea. You have to have a track record, an organization, a plan and a budget. It’s highly competitive."
"I’m a professional grant writer too. The number of times I have to explain that the 'airport grant' cannot be used to replace East Main Street is too damn high."
"I tried to explain this to an interim administrator at the school where I worked. I had asked to meet and discuss ideas for grant projects, as writing grants had previously been part of my job. Wouldn’t accept that I couldn’t just say 'it’s for a school' and that would be that."
- Sheepeysscrooge mcduck 80s GIFGiphy
"Putting an angled back cut when felling a tree against the lean does absolutely nothing and will result in a tree falling on your house. Just pay us to do the job"
"Learned this the hard way when my landlord came over to take down a tree in the back yard by lassoing it with a rope tied to a water skiing handle and cutting a notch into the tree with a chainsaw. Turns out trees are heavy, who knew? Granted it was his house but my family living in it. We moved into our own place a little later and I’ve hired arborists ever since."
"Yep. Every good redneck knows to pull the tree down with a buddy's pickup."
"Preferably a buddy you don't like with a pickup that's not worth much."
Ordering In A Bar
"I work in a bar. People frequently ask for drinks to be “extra strong”, but when I explain that they can just order a double, but we can’t add extra alcohol to their drink for free, they look at me like I’m speaking a language they’ve never heard before."
"For a strong drink you either have to tip very well every time you are in, or be friends with the bartender outside of work."
"Pretty much yeah. But if I’m not behind the bar, I can’t ask whoever’s bartending to f**k up their inventory by just giving away liquor—it’s like people don’t understand that we keep track of how much is in each bottle and when the sales reports don’t match the inventory, it’s a problem. Like if you work retail and somebody asks if they can just add an extra item to their purchase without ringing it up or paying for it you’re going to look at them like they’re insane."
"Photo editing. It's amazing how many people think they can give me a tiny, blurry, digital image of the back of their daughter sitting on a park bench, with uneven lighting in the shade, and think I can magically and quickly turn that into a banner of her standing next to the Eiffel Tower, smiling in the sun, facing the camera. Neither Photoshop nor I have any idea what your daughter's face looks like. I can't just 'turn her around'. I literally have to work with exactly what you are seeing in the photo you hand me or email me. Now if you give me several photos, some containing her face, some with her standing, etc., then yes, I can do some quite magical things."
- whateverathrowaway00Super Troopers Reaction GIF by Searchlight PicturesGiphy
The moral of the story is: if someone who is an expert in a field tells you that something is a certain way, it's probably best to believe them.
Sometimes a new purchase will have way more of an affect on our lives than we expected and, a lot of times, it's not the really expensive items that have the biggest impact.
Something like an air fryer making dinner faster and easier to cook can give you back a lot of time that you might otherwise have spent cooking, and that time adds up fast.
Redditor KingPin1010 asked:
"What life changing item can you buy for less than $100?"
"Your productivity will increase dramatically."
"I have 3. But maybe you are right..."
"There's never enough monitors."
- Account Deleted
"House plants. They will make you happy looking after them. I recently bought a venus fly trap, she caught her first fly today. So proud."
"This is so wholesome I could die."
"I started keeping and growing plants and herbs, and just not killing them feels like such a huge accomplishment. Seeing a new sprout is like a celebration."
"Now I understand why people have graduations for kindergarten."
"Feed me Seymour!!!"
- ManKittieHungry Feed Me GIFGiphy
"Two pet ducks. You may be tempted to go for one. But trust me. You need two. And you’ll have about $76 left over."
"They don't tell you this in school, but the ducks in the park are free..."
"Ducks are free in the pond near my house. They’re tricky to catch but worth it in the end."
More Than Just Rice
"Rice cooker. That f**ker kept me fed during depression when I barely had the energy to get out of bed. Takes less than nothing to get some rice in there and flip the switch. Want something sweet? Throw coconut and sugar in there. Want flavor but can’t be f**ked to make anything? Get some Spanish rice or saffron goin. You can throw tofu in there with it if you need. Yeah it’s not the best for you but hot food is better than no food."
"Cooking old fashioned oats in the rice cooker has become a winter tradition in our family. The texture of the oats is fantastic. The kids and I pick and dry fruits in the warmer months to use in oatmeal during the winter months."
Best Use For A Buck
"I bought a $1 back scratcher from an asian market in town. Best $1 I ever spent."
"My boyfriend came home from work one day raving about this back scratcher his boss had. I thought it was the dumbest thing. A few days later he comes home and says he found the same one at a gas station for $8. I rolled my eyes thinking who needs a back scratcher for $8. It’s the best thing ever. It looks like a little metal skeleton hand and it’s extendable."
Tea With Ease
"If you have trouble getting up or functioning in the morning, and like a nice cup of coffee or tea, an electric kettle with a timer can be a real game-changer. Or just getting an electric kettle if you don't have one."
"An electric kettle with a thermometer will up your tea game by leagues."
- Psychological_Tear_6dolly parton tea GIF by London Theatre DirectGiphy
"A king sized blanket for a queen sized bed."
"I got a king for a double bed. Best decision ever! The double sheets fit the bed, but I couldn't snuggle completely under them without curling up. Now. I can hide completely under the duvet stretched out. Best thing ever in the winter!"
"If I pull the covers completely over myself the boogeyman can’t find me."
Save Your Shins, And Your Eyes
"Motion sensor night lights. Can’t tell you how many stubbed toes or falls they have prevented. Also a cheap intruder alarm."
"Get a motion activated toilet bowl light. They're amazing. Don't kill your eyes in the middle of the night when you gotta pee."
"Relatedly, a dimmer switch for the bathroom. Works in the middle of the night, as well as early mornings, as you can gradually increase the brightness to match your current tolerance for the world."
Support Your Cranium
"May sound simple, but a good pillow. It is amazing the change in body aches, and sleep you see when you have a good pillow that fits you."
"I thought that I liked memory foam and other fancy pillows, but the real life changer for me was a buckwheat pillow. I have sleep apnea, and it allows me to get my head into the perfect position and keep it there comfortably."
"Before you go out and buy one, please research the pro's and cons. They aren't for everyone."
"Consider them if you like a firmer pillow, occasionally wake up with an achey neck from lack of support, and want a pillow that breathes well. Someone in the comments has also pointed out that you will win every pillow fight you get into."
"Downsides are: if you shift around in your sleep a lot, you'll need to adjust the pillow to fit your new position. Adjusting the pillow and settling in makes a little bit of noise as the buckwheat husks rub against each other, kind of like dry leaves crinkling. Some people are also allergic to buckwheat, but there are other similar fillings such as millet husks. Organic fillings also need to be replaced once in a while, since it breaks down over time.
Make Your Mornings Easier
"Step 1: Throw away all your socks.
Step 2: Buy 3-5 packages of the same sock.
Step 3: Enjoy a life without ever having to match socks again."
"OMG!! I thought I was the only one that did this. My husband and kids make fun of me but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. One gets a hole, throw it out and move on. No worries about finding the mate and getting rid of the pair. No matching socks when doing laundry. No worrying about wearing two different socks at the same time (sorry, my OCD won’t let me do this). This makes my life so much easier!'
It doesn't take a $1,000 new toy or appliance to make a big difference in your life. Sometimes it's something like a $10 water bottle you found on sale that makes drinking water easier and more fun that makes the biggest improvement.