22 January 2016

Where’s all the…

What’s everyone doing nowadays? (I’m totally out of touch.) What are the youth excited about?

When jazz music appeared on the horizon, it was a big deal—some people loved it and others hated it (I love it, for the record)—but, if my memory of the historical accounts that I’ve read can be trusted, jazz was a form of art that really jolted the nation.

I’m enthused by creative movements that revivify culture: I love jazz for this reason. I also love surrealism and romanticism and impressionism—it doesn’t bother me that these phenomena are labeled by stuffy-sounding names; that’s the regular fate of dynamic happenings… what counts is the amount of imagination that they contain, the way that they excite the life of the mind.

I wish that the current generation (I’m writing in 2016) would shake up the world with some wild new artistry—I keep searching for the modern innovations, and all I find are various programs for touchscreen devices… I have nothing against computers or social media or online shopping or stuff like that; but it seems that as the world of electronic technology increases, the world of imaginative artistry decreases.

I hope I’m wrong about what I just said, which is why I started this entry by asking “What’s everyone doing now; what are the youth excited about?” And of course it does require a type of imagination to program computer applications, but the products of that discipline leave me with a hunger for something more…

I fear that this present age offers only a twofold gorgeous pathway to destruction: to be either vapidly fashionable or fussily antiquated. I read books because I can’t find anywhere else the depth of genius that the best writing conveys… But I’d love to become enthusiastic about another medium: I’d love to have a reason to embrace the portable devices that modernity finds so enchanting.

Laserdiscs look to me like big silver records, as if a compact disc and a vinyl LP had a lovechild. I prefer scrolls of text because they last a long time. If someone were to give me a laserdisc of the movie Wrong Cops (2013), I wouldn’t be able to watch it, because the disc doesn’t fit in the video player that I own. And if I were to offer my DVD of Wrong Cops to a stranger on a train, he or she would be baffled, because strangers don’t even use standalone consoles to screen classic films: they only watch streaming video clips via cellphone. And when I travel to the future, I guarantee that none of its inhabitants will understand what I mean when I tell them to use an “on-demand media provider” to stream Wrong Cops, because the Internet (along with everything audiovisual) has long gone extinct—robotic deities now satisfy all of humankind’s entertainment needs.

But I was glad to learn that we changed the World Government’s structure so that, instead of electing just one person to be Messiah, which often ends up with the populace voting en masse for the most despotic jester among the applicants, the office was split in two parts: first, the Figurehead position: the swaggering, social aspect of authority;—second, the Soul, which upholds harmony by means of wisdom.

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