Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I won't think about that now. I'll think about that tomorrow.

When did the Greatest Generation become so great?
Ok, follow me here, because you are about to get a glimpse of how my mind works. And it's not pretty.
The other day I was scanning in pictures of railroad bridges, specifically the bridges around Harper's Ferry and the Thompson Viaduct (i think). These pictures stretched back to when the bridges where opened, some of which was before the Civil war and one of which was shortly after the Confederates blew the previous bridge up. Anyway, early pictures of these bridges are pretty, idyllic even. There were children playing on the banks of the river, trees growing, the town was pretty, everything you would imaging the good old days would be. Then I found one picture taken of the same bridge in the late 40's, early 50's. It spoke a few more than 1000 words. The bridge admittedly was old, but the trees where gone, the river icky looking, and there was an industrial construct in the frame. No more happy children, happy trees, or happy fish. Admittedly the train is a vehicle of industry, and maybe the trees were all elm or some other tree that has died out because of disease or human interference. And the radio tower looking thing was probably very important for keeping trains on time and not heading for each other. But I couldn't help thinking, "Wow, they really fucked up this."
Which made me wonder, what else did this group of people who were supposed to be this Great generation screw up? And who gave them that title anyway?
According to Wikipedia, you can blame that on Tom Brokaw. And the reason that he said that they where the Greatest Generation was because they fought WWII, the Korean War and because they build up industry. Umm, then can we blame Global warming on them?
What I'm really thinking about is how each generation thinks that they are going to fix, that they are going to learn from the mistakes of their elders, or that they simply are smarter than the previous generation and that they should all just fuck off.
But instead, no one learns, makes mistakes (some of them arguably worse than the previous generations mistakes) and it all becomes just a little bit of history repeating.
So what do we, The "Millennials," do? I don't have a clue.

Just don't screw with my idyllic scenery.


E.M. said...

My mother knows a man who used to do traffic pattern consulting before he burned out on metropolitan growth. Some official asked him if they needed to build another bridge over the river and his response was "You'll only need that bridge if you build it." Not totally on topic but there you go.

John Henry Adams said...

One might also wonder whether the old pictures were deliberately cleaned up by the people who photographed them while later generations inclined more towards honesty. But I agree with you, stuff does seem to have gone downhill there, maybe because we've gotten more careless as people and maybe because there are just more of us around.