Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Totalitarianism of the Now

From Mark Steyn:
But you can only learn "almost everything about life" if you stumble across movies. Very few people seek out Goodbye, My Fancy (1951). For the ensuing third of a century, it was the sort of thing that would turn up on the Late Show when you weren't quite ready to call it a night - or on a rainy afternoon when you were overly familiar with that day's "Leave It to Beaver" rerun and weren't in the mood for Merv Griffin. Now we live in an age where the haphazard rewards of "stumbling across" have been entirely eliminated: You programme your own tastes on your own device, and you can live within those constraints 24/7.

The appeal of "old" stories used to be that their truths were so enduring you didn't mind the crinolines and powdered wigs: When I read bedtime stories to my little girl - Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, Black Beauty - she did not have an adult's conception of time and so was too young to know or to care that all these people lived years before she was born and were all now dead. She was simply engaged by their quandaries. The endurance of Shakespeare is, as the cliché has it, that he "understands human nature" and so you cut him some slack on the doublet and hose. (Read more.)

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