So, the Kentucky Derby was last weekend, as was Cinco de Mayo, the 75th anniversary of the Hindenberg Disaster and—depending on who’s date you believe—the the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
A lot of water has flowed under a lot of bridges since the Battle of Puebla, that fateful day in New Jersey and those weighty days in 1945. I think there is a general sense of accelerated cultural change, that life and technology and trends move faster than they once did. On the other hand, the more things change, the more they stay the same?
In addition to the string of remakes, rereleases, sequels and spinoffs in the movie theaters—Footloose, Total Recall (Really? Do we really need to invest more societal resources in Total Recall?), Star Wars Episode I, —Hawaii Five-O is back. I have no problem with Hawaii or Jack Lord or CBS, but I find it interesting that in an open society with living wages, ubiquitous education, public and private support for the arts, we seem to be in an originality vacuum right now. Isn’t there anyone out there with an idea that isn’t redoing another idea? I’m all about recycling, but guess I’m just a bit nonplussed that in an era of YouTube shows, self-publishing books online, poetry slams, microtheater, microbrews, farm to table, live it local, the money is in Yesterday . . . .
I guess the reason I write about it is, I wonder are the ideas not out there, or are they just not getting picked up? Those who know me know that I haven’t watched TV much in the past decade or so, and that I really haven’t watched TV much at all since 2009 when I couldn’t figure out how to hook up my converter box to my circa 1995 TV and still get my bootleg cable. (I *asked* them to shut it off, like, four times. I finally gave up.) I wonder, though, is my lack of interest really just some kind of aesthetic minority view, or is it reflective of a broader gap? I guess the networks and the studios know what sells, although to a certain extent the audience is captured. So am I debating quality over populism, or subjective quality over perceived mass appeal?
Everyone has a choice, even if imperfect. If you don’t want to watch Hawaii Five-O or any of the other options, you can always change the channel or turn it off. And if you think you just dreamed up the next Simpsons and no one will listen, then you can self-broadcast and reach a much broader audience than ever before.
I miss the 20th Century, too, in a lot of ways. The past twelve years have been a bumpy ride for a lot of folks, especially in the United States. I see a difference between the expression and the spirit, though. I don’t want Total Recall and Hawaii Five-O and Star Wars Episode I, I want what comes after. Maybe not completely new, but the next logical step, the evolution.
There’s a difference between retro/vintage and stasis. Maybe that line is personal, maybe it is just hard to spot. The future arrives, good or bad, no matter what we do. The common perception that we live in three dimensions is actually false, we live in four dimensions. We have a certain degree of control over our placement in three dimensions, which perhaps makes X, Y and Z most obvious. In the fourth—time, t—we have no control over our position. We move in one direction continuously at a set rate, together, with no do-overs, no WABAC machine. No way to unsay what was said, no way to undo what was done. Only moving forward as is, doing what we can with what was and is.
It’s been awhile since any horse won a Triple Crown, and, once again, it is that time of year when the possibility hangs before us. We have passed the point of the 2012 Kentucky Derby and the Preakness lies ahead. Only time will tell if We’ll Have Another.