Thursday, January 28, 2010

The New Dark Age

This piece is floating around the blogs for some reason.
The people of North America and Western Europe now accept a level of ugliness in their daily lives which is almost without precedent in the history of Western civilization. Most of us have become so inured, that the death of millions from starvation and disease draws from us no more than a sigh, or a murmur of protest. Our own city streets, home to legions of the homeless, are ruled by Dope, Inc., the largest industry in the world, and on those streets Americans now murder each other at a rate not seen since the Dark Ages.
Well, except for the entire European continent every 50 years or so, southeast Asia, Central America, the entire Middle East on a daily basis and much of Africa he may have a point. Remove those places and murders in the US are unprecedented.
At the same time, a thousand smaller horrors are so commonplace as to go unnoticed. Our children spend as much time sitting in front of television sets as they do in school, watching with glee, scenes of torture and death which might have shocked an audience in the Roman Coliseum.
Sponge Bob. Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner. The horror!
Music is everywhere, almost unavoidable—but it does not uplift, nor even tranquilize—it claws at the ears, sometimes spitting out an obscenity.
Going back for centuries, that's pretty much what old people have always said about popular music.
Our plastic arts are ugly,
In your opinion.
our architecture is ugly,
Modern architecture in the US is a lot better than the trash cranked out by Le Corbusier 70 years ago.
our clothes are ugly.
You mean for the first time in human history new clothes are affordable for the masses.
There have certainly been periods in history where mankind has lived through similar kinds of brutishness, but our time is crucially different. Our post-World War II era is the first in history in which these horrors are completely avoidable.
The brutes! New, clean clothes! Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel! Skyscrapers designed by Phillip Johnson that don't have flat roofs! Troy Bolton! Such horrors indeed.

2 comments:

Boomers again said...

Michael Minnicino, the author of that piece -- born 1948. Big surprise.

Again, while "the old" will always bellyache about "the youth", the sheer paranoia in these kinds of complaints will die off with the Boomers.

Self-important narcissists who were born in the 1940's and 1950's and still live there, 60 years later.

tesla said...

There has been a steady theme of "we suck" emanating from many different types of people throughout history. I don't know why but some people like to believe that we are uniquely terrible and that our civilization is rotten to the core. I guess these folks get some sick comfort from believing that it's all downhill from here?