11 February 2013

The past isn't what it used to be




A couple of items of interest by other bloggers...

First: One by Giovanni Tiso, again; this time writing in the Australian literary publication Overland, with "Mussolini Wasn't So Bad" – a musing on Silvio Berlusconi and the conveniences of selective cultural memory.

And then this, via Airport Through The Trees...

"Listening to 1960s bands is a bit depressing, now, isn't it? For all of the resentment I felt towards ye olde boomers growing up, as their history was constantly sold as History in order to market nostalgia, I miss the feeling of culture being dominated by a group of people with a clear sense of the world and their place in it. Those years seem really, really far away now. The irony of retro culture is that, if it is an attempt to discover history towards finding a footing on which to build the future, the process has yielded quite the opposite result."

After a stretch of some scarcity, ATTT returns to continue on the topic of drummage. In the course of which, the tangential aside quoted above jumped out at me as particularly canny.

2 comments:

el hombre invisible said...

60s youth had a 'clear sense of the world and their place in it' only because theirs was a generation filled with promise and fresh perspectives(early on). Much of what they painted, filmed and played was new. Today's youth are burdened by pop cultural history, twinned with a kind of cynicism which, unlike the 60s kids, cannot be expressed in terms of innovative passion and creative energy. To 'build the future' is a meaningless term. It is never shaped by one movement, consisting as it will of component parts made by many.

Greyhoos said...


I know what you mean. There's an equivalent in the visual art realm, as well -- with that generation of "postmodern" artists (mostly American) who came along in the late 1970s through the '80s. A sense of intimidation by what all's been done before, a feeling that it's all been done. But also a sense of estrangement from the positivist/progressive aims of modernism; and thus an ironic distantiation from appropriated source material, any notion of "fixed meaning," and etcetera. Hence one reason (among others) for po-mo's obsession with and blithe recycling of art's own past. Or so one favored critical account has it (and I'm leaving out other aspects, admittedly).

But that's just the aesthetic aspect of it. Whereas I think :P at ATTT was also suggesting a more sociological dimension to it, as well -- a "generational resentment" not uncommon among those born during or after that decade, and what's (apparently) becoming more common among so-called Millennials. It's that sense of, "You had it all, dad...and you're taking it all with you." The feeling that there's no "finding a footing on which to build the future," because the prior generation(s) pulled the ladder up after themselves. But I might be projecting on that count, but it's something I sense lurking beneath a lot of younger people's complaints about the decimating effects of so-called neoliberalism.

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