Flashbacks: March 3

The Boston Phoenix has been covering the trends and events that shape our times since 1966.
By EDITORIAL  |  March 1, 2006

History of violence | 5 years ago | March 2, 2001 | Mike Miliard recounted Boston’s turbulent past.

“In the 18th century, Puritan moralists ransacked brothels. Pope Day festivities — which celebrated the failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the English Parliament in 1605 — repeatedly led to smashed windows and bodily assault in colonial Boston. The 19th century saw vicious anti-Catholic attacks by working-class Yankees who feared the threat posed by an influx of Irish Catholics willing to work for low wages. In 1902 and 1912, Jewish housewives in the West End erupted into violence over the price of kosher meat. In 1919, Boston’s largely Irish and Democratic police force — starved for funding by a hostile Republican police commissioner — went on strike in the immediate aftermath of World War I, as socialism gained increasing appeal and as the city faced a massive influenza epidemic; bedlam ensued. Amid the social ferment of the late ’60s, economically disadvantaged blacks who were frustrated by years of powerlessness and poverty laid waste to their neighborhoods in Roxbury, Dorchester, and the South End. And, of course, the entire nation remembers the infamous mid-’70s busing riots in South Boston and Charlestown.

“Perhaps such discord was inevitable. From its beginnings, Boston has been shaped by hugely dissimilar groups: the Puritans and their Brahmin heirs (who maintained hegemony for centuries); the legions of Irish poor (who eventually usurped the Yankees’ political power); and minorities, who were displaced by urban renewal (and who have since made tentative claims on power in the Hub).”

Upside down | 10 years ago | March 1, 1996 | Caroline Knapp struggled with life after Prozac.

“It’s official: I have entered the post-Prozac era. Started tapering the intake in December; went from one little green-and-cream-colored pill per day to one pill every two days, then every four, then every seven. Took the last one about four weeks ago; gave the three remaining capsules to a friend. So it’s over. I have left the land of anti-depressant medication.

“And, at the moment, I am anything but anti-depressed. I am a mess, to tell the truth. Weepy and lethargic some days. Disoriented and vaguely under the weather other days. Irritable a lot. So far, life without Prozac feels more or less like 24-hour-a-day PMS. I don’t like it a bit.

“Is this normal, to feel this rotten? Is this a direct cause and effect? I’m not even sure about that. For the past five years, we’ve been deluged with articles and TV news-magazine shows about people who have gone on Prozac: there’s been the pro-Prozac slant (‘It’s changed my life completely!’) and the anti-Prozac slant (‘It turned my boyfriend into a homicidal maniac!’); there’s also been the more common — and more ambivalent — philosophical slant, with articles questioning whether the popularity of Prozac and its sister anti-depressants like Zoloft and Paxil (often referred to as ‘designer drugs’) reflects negatively or positively on the medical profession.

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