Tuesday, July 9, 2013


The banality of my middle age is in full force now. Creeping nostalgia, that rising tide of the past, is threatening to engulf me on a more and more regular basis. I'm the latest one to find that looking back, basking in the past, is more pleasurable and preferable to the gloom of the present or the unknown of tomorrow.

It's certainly not as though the past, my past, was any great sort of paradise. Intractable problems like poverty, racism, and inequality and war can make the past seem too horrible to bear. But through my much younger and mostly uncomprehending eyes, I recall something that has dropped away from the experiences available in my memory.

Hokey as it sounds, and spurious as it seems, it feels like there is no longer any thread of hopefulness to be found in our culture. Maybe I'm just too burned out to feel it anymore, but it seems like as screwed up as any of society once had been, there always felt like there was a path forward, a trend toward a better place in the future. A better future felt inevitable.

I don't get that sense these days. The present seems like a hopeless morass, a prelude to an unavoidable dissolution and diminution of people and institutions.

Great and grandiose plans on the national level were once rallied around, but nowadays are resisted and disparaged. Social justice, once an unambiguous and unassailable goal is now rejected by a sizable portion of this country. Science and enlightened inquiry were prized and valued once, but are now debated and doubted by unbelievable amounts of the population.

We've gone from the dawning of the Age of Aquarius to the cusp of some zombie apocalypse.

So, under the protective umbrella of unbridled nostalgia, I find myself comfortably, if weirdly, locked into my Seekers channel on Pandora internet radio. The tunes of those bygone days, a soundtrack of optimism and good feeling soothing my aging ears with honey sweet melodies of love, hope and optimism can, at least for a few hours, blot out the harsh and coarse reality of the present.

Oh, and by the way, get the hell off my lawn!

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