We can learn a lot about who we used to be by looking at old ads. We can learn a lot about who we, as a society, aspired to be—and who it was ok to be. Take the average Sport-magazine-reading man of 1970. The back covers of those magazines told that man that it was time to buy his son a shotgun.

I found a batch of these old ads this past weekend, while helping organize someone's collection. I was fascinated, not just by the notion that guns used to be sold on the back of Sport, but how guns used to be sold on the back of Sport.

"Shotguns have been neglecting boys for years..." This was the most extraordinary one, I thought. Look at that prose! For buying junior a gun! (Click the image to expand; sorry about the lack of great focus.)

Here's the full ad.

Here's one that I don't think would fly in America today.

Nor this one... bullets on the back cover.



Here's an interesting test.

They didn't put guns on the back cover of every 1970 issue of Sport.

And some of the things they advertised there would still show up on the backs of magazines today.

But these amazing gun ads? Probably consigned to the past.

How are we feeling about gun ads? Or about what society used to say being a dad or a man was all about?


That's my bit for Off-Topic today. Your turn to go off-topic here or over in the Talk Amongst Yourselves forum.