A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
If you’re old enough to read this blog, you’re old enough to remember a time when 2017 was nothing more than a vague rumour. It was part of that great bundle of stuff we always call “the future” or “someday” or “soon.” But, hang around long enough, folks, and suddenly “someday” is now and the future is bright, bold and in your face. Time has a tendency to do that. The minute you’re not watching, it either sneaks up on you or disappears entirely. Let me demonstrate:
In last year’s American election, the kids who voted for the 1st time to determine who was going to run the show in the United States weren’t even going to kindergarten on the morning of 9/11. They aren’t aware of a world that doesn’t include social media or a War on Terror. To them, the songs of Prince and George Michael are Golden Oldies.
Their parents, however, grew up in a time before Osama Bin Laden, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. As kids, they never heard of iPods, Smart Phones, Facebook or Twitter. They probably weren’t old enough to go to the movies by themselves, and therefore didn’t see Princess Leia kiss her brother, Luke. And they knew Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, not Severus Snape.
Meanwhile, their parents grew up during the Cold War, when there were two Germanys, divided by a wall — and two Americas, divided by the Vietnam War. A quiet guy from Ohio stepped off a ladder and onto the Moon. David Bowie was Ziggy Stardust, Patty Duke was Helen Keller and Merle Haggard was proud to be an Okie from Muskogee.
And finally, at the end of our living memory, their parents never did figure out Disco. They listened to Frank Sinatra (and maybe his son Frank Jr.) on vinyl, 8-track, cassette, compact disc and that music thing that their great granddaughter has. They remember Colonel Glenn blasting off and splashing down. To them, Zsa Zsa was more famous for doing nothing than Paris Hilton ever was for doing things badly. And, of course, long before she was Carrie Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds was Singin’ In The Rain.
So hiya, 2017! I have no idea how you got here so quickly, but I’m old enough to know I’d better enjoy the hell out of you while I can — because before I know it, you’re going to be history.