I argue that the United States has been lacking in cultural flavor since the “Roarin’ Twenties”. We’ve had our decades of decadence, but something has put us at an absolute standstill. We are not making any notable achievements (save the Space Age… so I’ll make an exception for that) that do not require war and give us any cultural character.
Lets talk about the ancients. It is fair to say that since they were so long ago, there was a lot of options for creativity and discovery. I also am willing to believe that at the time, a common Greek probably found daily life in the metropolis pretty boring and uneventful. And then? Shazaam! Pompeii. Every individual wants to be remembered. When the world powers shift, what will the United States be remembered for? The greatest civilizations in history had their good alongside their bad – that’s why it’s the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. As a civilization, we seem to have accepted that we cannot achieve greater goods without greater evils, but that is okay.
As an individual, is that okay with you? Are you willing to take risks in your life in order to have a bigger adventure? Or is all that adventuring just a little too much effort for you; your dreams have long faded.
Believe it or not, this ramble is brought to you by the movie Newsies. Since it’s coming to Broadway for a short three month run this spring, I think that the musical is on a lot of peoples’ minds. For those unfamiliar with it, Newsies is a fictionalised account of the Newsboy’s Strike of 1899, which is an early example of the fight for child labor rights. Those unfamiliar with the film, should be. But it’s amazing to think that just a little over one-hundred years ago, things like that were happening for the betterment of human welfare. (And, I am a bit of a dolt: the sets in Newsies are lovely, even though it is romantized nineteenth-century New York City, it just makes me look at my own cookiecutter house and ask why).
In theatres, we are seeing a lot of superhero movies (love ’em), a lot of movies from books (some of them make me cringe) and a lot of sequels (ehhh). The richness of culture is turning into a competition of cash as opposed to unbridled originality. As individuals, it is a little more difficult to stand up for our individual rights when there are so many laws and clogged loopholes, but I do see people all over the country standing up against SOPA/PIPA. All it really takes to start a revolution is one person.
And if you aren’t ready for a revolution, that’s okay. Because making your smaller dreams come true starts with one person: you. Write your book, make your movie. Throw it out there. Maybe it’s not what the world is looking for now, but it’s okay to take that risk, because in fifty years, you may been seen as some sort of literary genius, and you won’t die with the regret that your book never got written.
Carpe diem, dear readers. ” Open the gates and seize the day!”