24 Things About to Disappear in America

Rod Dreher has a list of 24 things that are about to disappear in America. I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version below, but don’t miss reading the entire article. Here are the 24 items in his list:

24. Yellow Pages
23. Classified Ads
22. Movie Rental Stores
21. Dial-up Internet Access
20. Phone Landlines
19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs
18. VCRs
17. Ash Trees
16. Ham Radio
15. The Swimming Hole
14. Answering Machines
13. Cameras That Use Film
12. Incandescent Bulbs
11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys
10. The Milkman
9. Hand-Written Letters
8. Wild Horses
7. Personal Checks
6. Drive-in Theaters
5. Mumps & Measles
4. Honey Bees
3. News Magazines and TV News
2. Analog TV
1. The Family Farm

(HT: Justin Taylor)


  • Doug

    It seems like the reasoning that pops up most often in this article relies on the proliferation of the internet. Question: What happens when inflation hits big time (due to printing of billions without the wealth to support it) and half of us lose our jobs and we cannot pay for cell phone plans or high-speed internet connections any longer? Are slow speed connections truly a thing of the past? Land lines no longer available? Etc., etc..

    One relies on the other methinks.

  • Nathan

    “What happens when inflation hits big time (due to printing of billions without the wealth to support it) and half of us lose our jobs and we cannot pay for cell phone plans or high-speed internet connections any longer?”

    First, this recession has nowhere near the veracity of the recession of the 1970s and its inflation (18-25% mortgage rates). Second, not even recession and inflattion will keep the advances of time and technology from happening.

    If your scenario would come true (extreme loss of jobs), people will substitute items in their budget to reorder their priorities. And don’t forget there are pay as you go phones and public libraries with free internet access.

    Land lines and dial-up are dying just as the telegraph did 100 years ago. A recession will not bring them back. Same thing goes for many on the list.

    I would argue that Milkmen and Drive-in theatres are already dead, just not fully buried.

  • Brian Krieger


    I agree with more than a sagging economy (a real, deep “crash”) those things could/should go. Also, though, the recession could just “do in” some of the items as well (as Dreher points out) as advertising in digital is faaaaaaaar cheaper than print (in many cases).

    Also, while (during a recession) we should be cutting back and doing just the things you mentioned, I think that America and the current culture has bred such a mentality in us that we see these things as “necessities” now. Take, for example, a friend of mine who offered that she and her husband were looking for their internet provider and got a cable package bundled together because “I mean it was only a few bucks more a month”. The alarming thing to me and my wife is that her husband is out of work (has been for almost a year now), nor does she work (young mother). Internet is vital for many industries these days and is becoming an invaluable (if not borderline necessary) tool for job searching, but it was unthinkable to this couple to do without internet at home (Library or coffee shops, anyone?), and, honestly, cable tv was viewed as a near necessity. Just a mentality.

  • derek h

    i totally agree with the whole mentality of our “needs.” if you care to read more of my opinion, check out a not too long ago post here

    also… i pray that dreher may be wrong about chesapeake blue crabs. simply one of the most delicious foods on earth.

  • Brian Krieger

    Other thoughts (that have little weight in anyone’s world ;-):

    Yellow pages: This is sad since the digital versions are terrible in many ways, comparatively. Maybe with the reduction of print the online versions will get better, but I don’t see how.
    Blue crabs: And fishing along the African coast. That is very tragic.
    Ash Trees: Fascinating baseball note.
    The Milkman: Never knew they still existed!
    Hand-Written Letters: This is sad as well. E-mail and text replaced it, and, in several big ways, not for the better (see Challies today).

  • Paul

    “The Milkman: Never knew they still existed!”

    Oh man, one of the great joys of life living in the Chicago suburbs is being able to get milk service. Of course, the guy who runs the service is a super-slimy-icky-neocon, so we don’t support him, but if you want ice cold chocolate milk at your doorstep every morning, it’s not that big of a deal.

  • Nathan

    Wow, Paul! I didn’t know you could still get milk delivery. I grew up in St. Louis and we had it until about the middle of the 1970s and then it simply died.

  • J. Swanson

    Hmm…not sure I agree about the Milkman disappearing… just about the entire time that we lived in Denver, we got milk delivered to our door by Royal Crest Dairy. I don’t think they intend to close anytime soon.

  • J. Swanson

    Also, where my folks live, you can not get cell coverage within 20 miles of their house. Neither are they able to get cable or high-speed internet. So for their sakes, I hope that landlines and dial-up don’t go away.

    Lastly, my dad is a beekeeper and has 15 hives throughout his locale of Northern Louisiana. Again, for his sake and his retirment income, I would hope that this does not end. He belongs to a thriving “Bee Club” that has well over 100 members.

    Perhaps this list dealt more with city slickers than rural/country dwellers????

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