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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

We the People . . .

I’ve come across John Ruskin’s “The Harbours of England” which is ostensibly about art & architecture, but indubitably contains much of what Ruskin saw in his people and their nature toward … just about everything.

Down to Elizabeth’s time chivalry lasted; and grace of dress and mien,
and all else that was connected with chivalry. Then came the ages which,
when they have taken their due place in the depths of the past, will be,
by a wise and clear-sighted futurity, perhaps well comprehended under a
common name, as the ages of Starch; periods of general stiffening and
bluish-whitening, with a prevailing washerwoman’s taste in everything;
involving a change of steel armor into cambric; of natural hair into
peruke; of natural walking into that which will disarrange no
wristbands; of plain language into quips and embroideries; and of human
life in general, from a green race-course, where to be defeated was at
worst only to fall behind and recover breath, into a slippery pole, to
be climbed with toil and contortion, and in clinging to which, each
man’s foot is on his neighbor’s head.

It seems Ruskin had the same feeling that every generation of men (and women) understood to be a short-long view of the failings which their culture was presently undergoing. Has such come to its ultimate conclusion with today’s society? What with “canned” music and non-musician singers/groups (see “We Will Rock You!” for further insight), “easy” book reading (or no reading at all), the silliness that the internet has become, and EVERYTHING ELSE (including bad government combined with no leadership), it would indeed appear that today’s society is at its nadir. And yet …

… it continues to go one. “It” is business, education, “entertainment”, and even — (gasp!) — culture. What could possibly be considered to follow in another 100 years?

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