Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Generation Z's Revenge

Image Source: Mediahunter.

Picture this. It is 2045. The focus is on Generation Z, born roughly between the late 1990s and the late 2010s.  They are almost exclusively the children of Generation X and are already known for their total immersion in technology. The oldest members of this cohort are now almost fifty years old, the youngest are about to turn thirty. Some commentators imagine today's children will enjoy future prosperity, thanks to the arrival of the Singularity. But no matter what their opportunities, like every other generation, they will be helped, hampered or hindered by their elders' legacies. Those legacies could be dire. Assuming the members of Generation Z are not dying in World War III or its aftermath, here is a snapshot of some problems today's children could face. The following is a purely hypothetical scenario, based on some ideas, perspectives and facts that are currently available.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Boomer Backlash

"Passing the buck." Image Source: Blasphemes.

It is well known that Baby Boomers and their successors, especially Generation Xers, do not see eye to eye. One commentator suggests that popular elections of the new Millennium's mid-teens will reflect a battle of generational interests. Boomers would have benefited from reaching out to their predecessors and their successors; but the media picture of them is one of a cohort who defined themselves by setting themselves apart from other age groups. Those age boundaries may ironically come back to haunt them.

We have far to go before we see the full implications of today's generation wars. Some Boomers have only in the past few months discovered that their generation is widely and increasingly despised. They react to vitriolic attacks with hostility, puzzlement and surprise. If today's online comments are anything to go by, Boomers face harsh retributions and social vulnerability once they head into their 80s. Even their power to sway elections may not mean much in the face of the coming generational backlash.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How Old are You Really?

Greta Garbo (1905-1990) in the 1930s. Image Source: MSN.

At a Christmas party recently, an interesting topic came up among several Baby Boomers. 'How old are you in your head?' Meaning, to what age does your mind hearken back as some point with which you associate your core identity? Two men in their 60s said they felt inside that they were in their late 20s. I, the Gen Xer, said I thought of myself in my early 20s. No one, including the older people from the Silent Generation who were there, went above their 30s. There was a consensus that a cognitive dissonance arises, wherein everyone is still 20- or 30-something in their brain, and meanwhile the body ages and becomes more and more at odds with the mind. I don't think the age of one's core identity coincides with one's mental age. The three are distinct: age of self-identity; mental age; physical age.

Joan Crawford (1905-1977) interviewed on The David Frost Show in 1970. Image Source: My Pretty Baby Cried.

This is similar to something one of my friends, C., noted about women: many of them style their hair for the rest of their lives with the same look they had when they felt they were at their most attractive; for many, that decade is apparently the peak of young adulthood. I don't think this is the case as much as it used to be. There used to be a Gloria Swanson parodied stereotype of older women who were young in the 1930s walking around with turbans in the 1950s or even the 1970s (by which time they had come back into fashion). Perhaps this lagging hairstyles trend among women has waned. We can all be thankful that we don't see many Gen X women walking around with late 80s' hair.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day Curios

Image Source: Bonhams.

The auction houses have nothing on Boxing Day sales ... except cuneiform tablets. From Bonhams famous auction house, up at auction in New York City on 4 December 2012:
A Babylonian clay inscription fragment, Middle Babylonian, Syria circa 1600-1500 B.C., part of a lexical text giving a list of fish. Approx 95 x 102 mm of inscribed surface area and 30 mm thick. Custom velvet-lined clamshell box.

Provenance: purchased from Bernard Quaritch Ltd. in September, 1992.

Such compilations of signs according to subject (e.g. trees, fish etc.) were used for teaching purposes.
US$ 1,500 - 2,500
£940 - 1,600
€1,200 - 2,000
(Thanks to -C.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Cthulhumas

Image Source: The Poor Mouth. For another version, go here.

The Great Old One is a really popular Christmas meme. For more, go here.

Christmas Palimpsests

Ancient traditions survive: Martha Stewart's 1997 Bay Leaf and Pomegranate Garland recalls the importance of laurel leaves at the Winter Solstice, when Romans brought potted laurel trees into their houses. Image Source: Martha Stewart.

Christmas is a holiday of palimpsests. Millennia of earlier festivals shine through opaque layers of tradition. The lighted evergreens, the feasts, the burning Yule logs, were part of pre-Christian eras.

You can see and hear some of that ingrained nostalgia below the jump, in the movement Balulalow, from Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, which he wrote in 1942 while sailing the war-churned Atlantic from the United States to Britain. The words, from the brothers Wedderburn, are in Middle English. 'Balulalow' is an old Scottish word which means 'lullaby.'

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Light of Christmas Past

Clarence Gagnon (1881-1942), Après la tempête (After the Storm; ca. 1922). Image Source: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff.

Few painters have captured the northern winter colour palette like the Canadian Impressionists; a number of their works were recently up for sale. Clarence Gagnon, in particular, was able to convey Quebec's pale turquoise and washed out mulberry skies, the way light looks when the water in the air is frozen.

Clarence Gagnon, Christmas Mass (1908); he painted a similar piece. Image Source: McMichael.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Blog-Hopping While I Was Away

The Crystal Ship (2012) © by Flying Glove / [Paloma Alcalá ] at deviantART. Reproduced with kind permission.

Here are some noteworthy posts at other blogs that popped up one way or another while this blog was sleeping; have a look: