Polio Quotes (displaying: 1 - 15 of 15 quotes )
It was a cruel world though. More than half of all children died before they could reach maturity, thanks to chronic epidemics and malnutrition. People dropped like flies from polio and tuberculosis and smallpox and measles. There probably weren't many people who lived past forty. Women bore so many children, they became toothless old hags by the time they were in their thirties. People often had to resort to violence to survive. Tiny children were forced to do such heavy labor that their bones became deformed, and little girls were forced to become prostitutes on a daily basis. Little boys too, I suspect. Most people led minimal lives in worlds that had nothing to do with richness of perception or spirit. City streets were full of cripples and beggars and criminals. Only a small fraction of the population could gaze at the moon with deep feeling or enjoy a Shakespeare play or listen to the beautiful music of Dowland.
What Friedan gave to the world was, "the problem that has no name." She not only named it but dissected it. The advances of science, the development of labor-saving appliances, the development of the suburbs: all had come together to offer women in the 1950s a life their mothers had scarcely dreamed of, free from rampant disease, onerous drudgery, noxious city streets. But the green lawns and big corner lots were isolating, the housework seemed to expand to fill the time available, and polio and smallpox were replaced by depression and alcoholism. All that was covered up in a kitchen conspiracy of denial...[i]nstead the problem was with the mystique of waxed floors and perfectly applied lipstick.
...we're a people who pollute the very air we breathe. And our rivers. We're destroying the great lakes; Erie is already gone, and now we've begun on the oceans. We filled our atmosphere with radioactive fallout that put poison into our children's bones, and we knew it. We've made bombs that can wipe out humanity in minutes, and they are aimed and ready to fire. We ended polio, and then the United States Army bred new strains of germs that can cause fatal, incurable disease. We had a chance to do justice to our Negroes, and when they asked it, we refused. In Asia we burned people alive, we really did. We allow children to grow up malnourished in the United States. We allow people to make money by using our television channels to pursued our own children to smoke, knowing what it is going to do to them. This is a time when it becomes harder and harder to continue telling yourself that we are still good people. We hate each other. And we're used to it.
And so now, having been born, I'm going to rewind the film, so that my pink blanket flies off, my crib scoots across the floor as my umbilical cord reattaches, and I cry out as I'm sucked back between my mother's legs. She gets really fat again. Then back some more as a spoon stops swinging and a thermometer goes back into its velvet case. Sputnik chases its rocket trail back to the launching pad and polio stalks the land. There's a quick shot of my father as a twenty-year-old clarinetist, playing an Artie Shaw number into the phone, and then he's in church, age eight, being scandalized by the price of candles; and next my grandfather is untaping his first U.S. dollar bill over a cash register in 1931. Then we're out of America completely; we're in the middle of the ocean, the sound track sounding funny in reverse. A steamship appears, and up on a deck a lifeboat is curiously rocking; but then the boat docks, stern first, and we're up on dry land again, where the film unspools, back at the beginning...