Every generation has the same complaints!
January 16, 1904
From the New Iberia Enterprise and Independent Observer
COMPLICATIONS OF PRESENT DAY LIFE.
Life has become a tumult. The average man and woman is enmeshed in a complication of wants, necessities and confusions. Business lies taken on complications that rob it of pleasure and threaten it with a constant uncertainty.
We have become complex in our pleasures. Simple entertainment no longer satisfies. The stage, the press, art, fiction and music are all in a mad rush to create or find new sensations for a restless, dissatisfied patronage, burdened with many cares and oppressed by an indescribable ennui.
Our lack of simplicity in pleasures is quite equaled by our lack of simplicity in dress. More of life’s happiness depends upon clothes than we dream of. Simple, tasteful dress scarcely exists any more. The sin against the Holy Ghost is nothing compared with being destitute of the various suits in various styles prescribed by the latest convention of clothes makers.
Turn where you will and life is confusion, tumult, lacking in the calm dignity and serene happiness of the days of our forefathers. Life is characterized by complexity of wants and requirements which would have made the dames and squires of olden time stare, indeed.
Many of the wants are legitimate and indicate a real growth in refinement and culture. But our modern life does not stop there. We are mad over superfluous want. We are in full after things we do not need.
Now, what is the result of all this?
First, there is not real and genuine happiness in it. No one contends that life is happier under our new condition than it was in the days of simple tastes and practices. Our women are not rosy and contented-looking; our young men breed wrinkles early.
The more we have of this artificial, over stimulating side of our modern life the more we want. We are feverish with an artificial thirst.
This artificial life of ours is the cause of a good part of our modern dishonesties. It makes us pretend to be what we are not. To keep up appearances people wear clothes which they have not paid for and cannot afford. To march with the procession people eat food for which they [sic] style of life and living they have no visible means of supporting. From the snare of small debts brought on by expensive living many a man seeks to escape by uncertain speculations and finally by certain speculations.
How tired and sick everyone is of it all is shown by our annual summer or winter migrations to quiet places where we enjoy life in our shirt sleeves, live in board cottages on wholesome food, rise late and retire early and live for a few weeks like the human animals we are.