The Upside of Volatile Cultures

Congress is polling lower than Casey Anthony, the Federal government – which manufactures its own money – is somehow running out of money, and the wealth divide between rich and poor, corporations and civilians, hasn’t been wider since the robber-barrons’ Gilded Age.

What the fuck do we do now?

Is America too divided to function? Are the battles now being waged so destructive that things can never “go back to normal”? And is societal strife even inherently bad to begin with?

Christopher Hitchens opened a legendary Vanity Fair screed against the Baby Boomer generation in 1996 thusly:

In Carol Reed’s movie The Third Man, Orson Welles played Harry Lime and, unimpressed that the screenplay was by Graham Greene, insisted on inserting a line of his own. Compare the Italians with the Swiss, he suggested. “In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock!

Maybe it’s not so bad after all.

Hopefully Miley Cyrus and The Walking Dead on AMC don’t represent the pinnacle of what we get out of this era’s chaos and creation.


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