I can’t read all of James Lileks’ posts – there’s just too much bloggage for that – but nobody is more rewarding to dip in and out of than he. The man is a miracle of fecundity who has absolutely cracked the way to make the web work for his unique talents. As with Frank Key, we must thank the net for providing the perfect - perhaps the only possible - medium for peculiar geniuses.
My latest dipping-in yielded this piece of Lileksness:
Don’t know what to call it, but there’s something about “1960” that snares the eye and the imagination. It’s a half-century gone. It’s pre-JFK-in-Dallas, the fulcrum on which the post-war era balanced. It’s modern – “1960” sums up jets and rockets and whirring IBM computers and thin lapels, a time of crisp sharp technocrats. I imagine people who enjoyed the 50s, identified with the times, felt a certain trepidation when 1960 rolled around. A new decade clears the decks. I identified with the 80s, and hence the year 1990 felt like the lip of a cliff. You pass thirty, the decade changes, and you know it won’t belong to you the way the old one did. The 90s worked out just fine for me; we got a new medium, and that put a spring in my step. But if I’d been a man of the 50s the 60s would have been a time of ever-growing alienation. Each year put five years between the Now and the Then. You’d find yourself in 1970 wearing a polyester suit with wide collars and a tie whose knot was the size of a baby’s head, looking at a wood-grained plastic dashboard in an ugly car, the radio playing Mungo Jerry, wondering how the hell this happened.
Common problem, clinging to formative decades. I feel I lost the shape of the noughties somewhere near the beginning and god knows how the 10s will end, but we have no choice but to beat on, under the rocks and stones, into silent water, borne along, by events and trends beyond our control, beyond anyone’s control, ceaselessly into the future; though as David Cameron says, quoting High School Musical (which is a typical example of a noughties thing I failed to comprehend), at least we are all, well most of us anyway, and the web when cracked by peculiar talents helps here, in this, boats against the current, together.