Thursday, October 02, 2008

Proving What Is Old Is New

In reading You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe, I thought this passage was particularly applicable to today. In this part of the book, Wolfe is talking about the kind of decadent corruption of American society immediately prior to the Great Crash of 1929.

The highest intelligences of the time---the very subtlest of the chosen few---were bored by many things. They tilled the waste land, and erosion had grown fashionable. They were bored with love, and they were bored with hate. They were bored with men that worked, and with men who loafed. They were bored with people who created something, and with people who created nothing. They were bored with marriage, and with single blessedness. They were bored with chastity, and they were bored with adultery. They were bored with going abroad, and they were bored with staying at home. They were bored with the great poets of the world, whose great poems they had never read. They were bored with hunger in the streets, with the men who were killed, with the children who starved, and with the injustice, cruelty, and oppression all around them; and they were bored with justice, freedom, and a man's right to live. They were bored with living, they were bored with dying, but---they were not bored that year [with the latest short-term sensation].

1 comment:

Utah Savage said...

That is a beautiful passage. Thanks for reminding me of it. It is how we live as a nation, a people. Bored and looking for a brief few seconds of sensation and sensationalism.