Why I Do Not Derive My Historical Tutelage From Celebrities & Actors
by Bodwyn Wook
This comparatively static quality at least in the political demographic of youth throughout the Atlantic West & now reproved by Mr Sutherland is part of something larger; it has been going on, after all, from at about the time of the births of our young.
It has, likewise, little to do with the on-going interior miniaturisation of our devices that goes with the generalised shrinking of the Western mind.
For I began to notice how little the physical circumstances of our urban public life actually had changed, oh, from about 1980.
This perception began for me at about the time that the stolen airliners were crashed by some anomalously ‘activist’ youths from abroad (and, from outside the ambit of the Atlantic world, be it said) into the skyscrapers in New York; and, it was when our young were just then beginning to present us with our first beloved grandchildren.
Throughout the whole peculiar Baby Boom career & thrust into the full reek of middle age, and now on the threshold of the strangeness of our looming old age (a senectitude that well may prove be more grotesque & without real dignity than that of any previous generation, by the way), the things of our lives all quite simply stopped changing.
There continued to be an enormous proliferation of stuff, to be sure (after all, this was what China was for!), but the external changes in appearance of objects, the styles of motorcars & tats & piercings, all of that, as well as derisory like the digital rhythms of popular sound, was increasingly characterised by an omnipresent & under-tone sexacyclical hum running everywhere through the surrounding arcologies of our persistent, our anachronistic, our more-and-more frantic, clinging on to an expired Late Modernity.
So, when the very material appearance everywhere of the public life of a culture in the full bloom of its culminating civilisation becomes thus set in Lucite, it is fair to speak of the death of any remaining real creativity whatsoever in such a set-up; and, it may be to the credit of our young that they understand this, that they are keeping their heads down & in essence that they plan to go quietly off the stage behind us.
After all, people very often do understand a good deal more than they may ‘know’, as historian-emeritus John Lukacs has noted; and, I would only add here, the sum of the differences in that clarity of perception is also, often, the defining boundary between generations.
With any sort of luck at all, then, our children & they by holding onto their real indifference to ’causes’ with some success very possibly may get clear of things before the inevitable valedictory massacre that History usually writes into the coda of most cycles in Time.
Our grandchildren, however & on whom we all claim to dote, are in for a worse time.
[all rights revert to holders
[19 November 2013]