Note the two young men in bowler hats and open coats persuading people to look at the camera and the willingness of Bradford folk to do just that. A sign of things to come.
When I were a youngster I’m sure there were fewer distractions than today's kids have to cope with. I loved to play outside, but when that was done, or it was dark, raining, too cold, foggy or windy then outside was not so attractive.
Inside there was the wireless and television supplied by the BBC then later ITV. None of it was particularly riveting and material suited to kids was far more restricted than it is today. Comics were quickly absorbed and the cinema was a rare treat, not regular entertainment. With no computer games or internet and far fewer toys, I was likely to read a book to pass the time or even finish my homework if there really was nothing else. Kids were free to be interested. They didn't necessarily take advantage of that freedom, but it was there.
The modern world seems to be far more distracting and that changes things. Bright kids who are easily distracted by a sea of novelty may lose out to their duller peers who work harder because their lives are more tightly controlled. Nothing new in that of course, but to my mind the situation is worse than it was in my day. The distractions are more intrusive and fascinating, more time consuming. So many bright kids must fall by the wayside as relative dullards grab the opportunities in whatever fields seem to favour their lesser talents.
Bread and circuses isn’t merely about screwing down the hoi polloi with trivial rewards but also about screwing up their brighter kids with distractions. Meritocracy was always a myth, but even more so now and it isn’t likely to change for the better.