In your lifetime, can you think of anything that was once a highly respected thing that has devolved into being a complete joke? I’ll go first — MTV. When MTV was all music videos, all the time, it was incredible. However, as far as I can tell, they don’t play those videos anymore. It’s Teen Mom and Ridiculousness marathons. After someone asked an online forum for other examples, here is what they had to say.
1. The History Channel
Do you remember when the History Channel told history? “The History Channel should be renamed the Conspiracy Channel. ‘The History Channel: Where the Truth Is History.'”
2. The Learning Channel (TLC)
“TLC now (unofficially) stands for Terrible Life Choices. TLC is very uncomfortable to watch. It is the modern-day equivalent of a freak show. I routinely feel bad for a lot of the people who’ve been on there, especially kids.”
3. Bank Managers
“FICO scores basically automated the primary job of a bank manager; so much of it used to be attempting to make judgment calls on loans based on available information, which required being very invested in their community.
Then we turned it into a nationally tracked scoring system and rendered bank managers irrelevant outside of the usual management that any office/business needs; they’re now no different than a floor manager at Kohl’s.”
4. The Food Pyramid
“The Food Pyramid. As it should be. It was just a contest to see which industry could pay the government off enough to get represented.” It’s been revised and is now called My Plate.
5. Staying at a Job Out of Loyalty
“For the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation, yes it was. Their prime working years were the Golden Age of the American middle class. Loyalty to an employer was rewarded with good pay and benefits (including things like a defined benefit pension.) Everything started to go downhill in the early 1980s, and there is no relief in sight.”
6. Craftsman Tools
“Craftsman Tools. OG Craftsman tools were something else. After he died a few years ago, I inherited my father’s tool collection, most of which he had inherited from my grandfather in the 70s. Those tools are so much better than anything I’ve bought for myself. Superior quality.
“Former Lowe’s employee here: Craftsman is far and away the brand of tools that get returned the most due to malfunctioning or breaking. It’s crazy because my dad still has some Craftsman stuff from when it was a Sears brand, and they work great.”
7. The Guinness Book of World Records
“The book of records used to be feats of amazing skill and talent. Now it has records like ‘who can put the most clothes pins on their face’ all you have to do to beat them is have a bigger face.” — Bill Bailey.
“Facebook. It even used its exclusivity as its primary marketing tool during its initial launch only for colleges. There was a period when Facebook was the best way for college students to interact with other college students online — which sounds insane now but was actually true in its early years.”
9. The American Presidency
“The American Presidency does NOT hold the same esteem it once did. Inciting insurrections will tend to do that.”
“Go back earlier. Nixon got away with Watergate, Reagan with Iran/Contra, and Bush’s fake WMDs. It doesn’t help that we had several Presidents, such as JFK, FDR, and Clinton, cheat on their wives.”
10. The Food Network
“It used to be educational and fun. Now, it’s just nonstop competition. I can’t stand the seemingly mandatory sob stories they make competitors say throughout the episodes. ‘I was super messed up when my rabbit died at age 8.’ sad music ‘I found my passion and inspiration through cooking to get through losing him. I’m 57 now, and I entered this competition to win in honor of Fluffy. I hope I made him proud with this here taco.’ — Sheds tear.”
“Hobbies. I am a hobbyist musician and will never try to make money from my music. I simply enjoy creating it with zero expectations. Hustle culture ruined a lot of that because now, every time I share my music with people, it turns into a conversation about monetization or how I’m wasting my time on something.
It’s hard to even find like-minded people who want to collaborate without it turning into some big thing. Time enjoyed is not time wasted.”
12. Landline Telephones
“Landline telephones. The house phone used to be a vital link to the outside world. It’s how you’d talk to friends and family far away, interact with businesses, call for help in an emergency, etc. But once junk calls were allowed to spiral completely out of control, the phone became a nuisance.
As someone I saw said a while back, a Gen Z person would sooner jump on a live grenade than accept an incoming call from an unknown number — and that’s in the context of mobile phones, which don’t get nearly as much spam. Wired phones are almost completely useless today.”
13. News Anchor People
“Back in the ’80s, there was a respected local NBC-affiliate news anchor in Cincinnati who had once been the city mayor. He came to our school to give a speech on homelessness after he did a story in which he spent a week on the streets to see what it was like. That man’s name? Jerry Springer. Yes, that Jerry Springer.”
14. Dr. Martens‘ Boots
“Dr. Martens‘ Boots — A British institution. You bought a pair, and they lasted for years. Alas, private equity got involved, manufacturing was sent offshore, and the quality went down like a submarine. You are better off buying a pair of boots from the company that used to make them for Doc Martens than a genuine pair of DMs nowadays. Their quality is a shadow of what it once was.”
15. Levi’s Blue Jeans
“Levi’s blue jeans. They used to last forever. Now, I’m lucky to get a year out of them. They always fail in the same spot, too. No idea why, but I’m not alone online about this.”
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.