As I said in this discussion over at the Z Blog, it’s weird — and deeply unpleasant — living through the end of an epoch. Watching Europe’s voluntary suicide-by-immigration — coming soon to a theater near you! — I understand what civilized Romano-Britons must’ve felt, watching the last legions sailing away from the London docks. Things are actually pretty good right now, materially speaking — I’m writing this from a nice room, climate controlled, with electricity, running water, and plenty of food in the fridge — and that’s not likely to change in the immediate future. It’s not as if the Picts are propping ladders up against the wall as we speak. But the writing is on the wall: The West — tolerant, liberal, open-minded, scientific, Christian — is over.
I’ll leave it to historians more schooled than I in 20th century history to perform the autopsy… assuming there are any a few decades from now. But in the spirit of guild fraternity, I’d like to help them out. Let’s leave a few primary sources behind.
One of the hardest things to get at is culture. Go on Project Gutenberg and peruse some 19th century novels. We need “scholarly editions” now to fully appreciate even the classics; the dime novels, which were more fully of their milieu, are almost incomprehensible in spots. The products, the slang, all of the little ways of living that they took for granted and we’re in the dark about….
So: What would you like remembered about your times? Slang? Products? Attitudes? I’m not talking about “stupid liberals believed this” or “can you believe that was popular?” The fact that it was believed, was popular, is the important stuff, because that’s the kind of thing historians need to know. Let the 2095 folks figure out why Nickelback sold seventy zillion albums, despite everyone seemingly hating them. We just want to record the pop culture tidbits that strike us for posterity.
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