Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moving target

As yesterday's discussion reminded us, the concept of "public health" has been evolving over time, as successful measures are implemented widely and new standards of living are normalized. The public health officer of old had a different set of priorities to address. Consider this note from the 1911 Biennial report of the State Board of Health:

Aside from any criticism of the moral tone or the cheap and tawdry sentimentality of the average moving picture show, which latter existent condition must act to blunt the intelligence and ideals of young persons who so largely compose their audiences, attention is directed to the entire lack of ventilation which is provided in the majority of them. Masses of humanity are packed into enclosures where they breathe the same air over and over again and these resorts have become the disseminating points for all infectious diseases. No moving picture or other show should be allowed to operate until the greatest care has been exercised in providing for ample ventilation of the enclosure in which it is held.

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