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Alternate Views Of The Future

From Lileks:

The love of chrome-and-glass modern restaurants is probably due to one place, which I've mentioned before - the Erie Jr. in Detroit Lakes, MN. It had a counter, a high ceiling, plastic booths in vivid hues, a roof that looked like it space ships could dock in the back, and it had that space-age vibe that shimmered off so many new things when I was very young. We had a keen sense of the future then; we knew the toys we had today would be the tools of the future. You know how you put your hand out the window when you were going fast, and undulated it up and down like a dolphin, riding the oncoming wind? The future felt like that. The future was a chrome-trimmed triangular window in the front of dad's car, and it had its own knob to open it up. The future was a hamburger under a light fixture that looked like an atom. The future was going to be awesome.


I still get impatient with people who insist that it can't be. Pessimists can be such bores, and it's lazy to believe the worst. What's the line about Scaramouche: he was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that the world was mad. I don't think that's the best modus vivendi, but it beats teaching yourself the curse of scowling and the sense that it's all a grind to be endured until the tomb gapes wide, and the only respectable intellectual pose is a Menckenian disdain for those who refuse to see how shallow, small, vacuous and contemptible they are.

I blame the boomers, of course. ;) If you're going to make a fetish out of the Authentic Values of Adolescence, with its withering critiques of humanity, then you're going to value the slouch and the sneer as signs of a Deep and Serious Person. The Boomers were handed a Utopian ideal - practical, technocratic, rational, with silver wheels in the sky tended over by engineers and scientists - and they abandoned it for a Dionysian version based on wrecking and remaking the world they'd inherited. Their patron saint: Holy St. Caulfield, who identified the greatest sin in the human soul: being a phoney. Better to be an authentic bastard than someone who cannot successfully convince a teenager that some ideas have an importance that transcend the ability of the individual to manifest them 24/7.

Of course they got sour; if you believe a Utopia is possible if we just retinker human behavior to eliminate greed and dress codes and football and anything else that reminds us of Dad, be it the specific one or the unseen National Dad that rules the boardrooms and bedrooms and cloakrooms of DC, then the failure of this world makes it a dystopia, the worst of all possible worlds.

Some suggest that the great disenchantment began with the assassination of JFK, and I see the point. But it's strange that it led to a loss of faith in us, given who shot the President. (Yes, I'm one of those lone-gunman wackos. I'm a freethinker! I refuse to accept concensus!) If Oswald had been a card-carrying Kluxer or a dead-ender Bircher or some sort of far-right-wing nutcase, I wonder if we would have accepted the Warren Commission and moved along. But no, he was a Communist. Well obviously there has to be more to it, then. Same with Sirhan Sirhan: his motivation will forever be a mystery, won't it?

Once you start to believe in the dark shadowy forces, you're done with the world. You're done engaging it, you're done enjoying it. There's no point. It's a sham, a shell, a shiny fa├žade erected by the Jews / Bilderburgers / Trilateral Commission/ Council on Foreign Relations / Project for a New American Century / Masons / Knights Templar / Illuminati / Federal Reserve / Rockefeller-Royal Family Nexus / Bush Crime Syndicate / League of Grim Intent, and all you can do is post on the internet and call talk radio to argue with the hosts who think we're free people.

It's nice to see hope abroad in the land again, but I wonder who will be to blame when human nature asserts itself and the manna shipments fall behind. Someone has to be blamed, after all. It's not the task that's a fool's errand. It's the fools who refuse to believe in the task.

Hope abroad, and change. But not change I have any interest in believing.

 
 

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2 Comments

Leland wrote:

Authentic Values of Adolescence

genius

rickl wrote:

League of Grim Intent

Heh.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 31, 2008 6:06 AM.

Electoral Question was the previous entry in this blog.

Brain Parasites is the next entry in this blog.

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