Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Things are GOOD now, and they're only getting better. Trust me.

I finally got around to seeing the Dada show at the National Gallery.

One thing that kept hitting me was how good we have it today. For instance, World War One cost Germany around 1,400 deaths per day from 1914 - 1918. The entire war killed 10 million people. That's like a daily September 11th for all of Europe. That's something to make art about, god dammit.

But when I talk modern-day politics with friends, their fatalism is sometimes blinding, and you'd think that 2006 is the worst time for a human to be alive. They believe that things progressively get worse as time goes on.

That's flat wrong.

Take a look at the above painting by George Grosz from the inter-war period. It depicts Berlin's streets as "crowded with unprincipled profiteers, prostitutes, war-crippled dregs and a variety of peverts." In short, life was a shit-spattered cess pool full of depression, murder, cynicism and blood. Now compare that with the streets of gold that pave most of the world today in comparison.

The history of the global north (then, the "developing world") from the 19th century to the end of World War II can be summed up like this: expansion, depression, expansion, depression, war, expansion, depression, expansion, depression, war, etc, etc. Oh, and zero health insurance for anyone, 12 hour work days and no weekends.

Things are getting better, my friends. Much, much better.
In a way, yes. The Dada exhibit was pretty incredible. We were lucky enough to be down there one weekend when the "Ballet Mechanique" was performed. Pretty funky.

Let's hope things continue to get better and for a larger group of people.
This is a subject I think about sometimes. No matter how bad I think things seem to be, I have to remind myself that things were worse, and also that every generation thinks that the quality of life and morals of the present are worse than those of the past. Just today I heard that Advice Song...remember, the one that is just a beat with a guy talking, the gist of which is simple yet wise advice. One of the lyrics goes like this, "Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize
that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble and children respected their elders." This song was actually taken from a column in a Chicago newspaper written by Mary Schich.
What's also interesting is that the left and the right both have their dreamy nostalgic versions of how good the past was.

Sigh. What to do, what to do ...
Call me a fatalist, but I'm sure that there is some pretty awful shit in store for us, given as how we've gotten off relatively easily so far. I'm stocking up on arsenic; better to choose how you die when things are about to get bad then to stick around and see how bad they get.

Think about it this way: from 1945 - 1991, the biggest fear that the fatalists had was the entire world being burned up in nuclear annihilation---100% of humankind dead. That's over six billion people.

In 2006, the worst that could happen is like 10 times September 11th which would only knock out a few thousand.

Keep your chin up, kid.
Dude, it is not WMD that worry me. Or even terrorists. Or terror itself (Which war it is we're fighting?). Anyway, I'm thinking it will be something more insidious and old. Think classic and simple. A revival of the plague, a new deadly superbacteria, another round of influenza. Don't tell me we've outsmarted them because between you and me, we might win some battles but those nasty buggers will win the war. And we won't even see it coming. . .(cue scary music)
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