13 July 2013

The Golden Age Belief

I have something to confess, loyal friends and blog-readers. I suffer from a terrible psychological disease. It has haunted me since I discovered the delights and horrors of history, and seldom goes away. In fact, there are some Romantic benefits to this disease, and yet some Realist punishments for having it. (See here for a refresher on those two.) So, what do I have?

Golden Age Belief. (Syndrome)

"Rob, what is that?"
It is the belief that a different era in time is better than your own. In addition, you believe the era was perfect, with no wrongs, fallacies, or corruption. Every kid imagines this in some way - the Medieval Age was better because they could be knights and kings, or the Ancient Romans/Greeks were awesome warriors.

Unfortunately I've taken this a bit too much to heart. That's an understatement.

For the longest time (at least 2 years) I was obsessed with the Victorian age. At the time of creating this blog I was obsessed with Victorians.

A street in the centre of the empire where the
sun never set.
I thought they were the best age of all. Their conservatism and pride was something that could never be matched again. The fact that they ruled an empire that the sun never set on was just amazing, and enthralling to my mind. The last 3 Halloween costumes I've had were all related to Victorian England/British Empire in some way. (Mad Hatter, Maharajah, Victorian Doctor). I researched everything related to the Victorians, ignoring the fallacies and glorifying the good things. I wanted to be Oscar Wilde or Rudyard Kipling, high-society British gentleman who had traveled the world extensively and would write enthralling adventures. This, of course, is never good. To my mind it was.

But not all things can last. My Anglomanie (obsession with all things British) changed in December, though, with the Moleskine. I didn't realise it till too late. (Not for good, though - I still love a good cup of tea and trying my admittedly horrible British accent!)

Renoir painted this, originally
a Bohemian meant a person
from Bohemia (Czech Rep.)
I was officially obsessed with the Bohemians of Paris in the 1900s. I've discussed that somewhat in my third Triviality, and a bit after that. Living in an age when a bunch of poverty-stricken writers did their best work, now worth millions? Imagine living among these brilliant creators and being inspired by the merest shadow of Imagination, as they were? Since at this point I was seriously considering becoming a writer (I still am) the idea was epic and enthralling. I didn't care about the obvious fallacies (many of them died before 50 by tuberculosis, more often than not) or that many of them were never respected, or that they often OD'd on alcohol and illicit drugs and also died that way, I was captivated by the dramatic lifestyle. Moulin Rouge didn't help (Bohemian wannabes, do NOT watch the movie, lest you be sucked into a portal of never wanting to leave the phase! :D)

But that, too, changed, with the arrival with The Great Gatsby soundtrack in April.

I was listening to the soundtrack, which I downloaded, and while most of the songs are admittedly not even close to sounding like something a big band in the 1920s would sound like, I was obsessed. Who cared about depressing writers dying in a Paris gutter when there were writers in Europe, living the dramatic lifestyle? Admittedly, I had read The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises but I had overlooked those benefits (because I was still goggling at British photographs at the same time.) Immediately, I looked up everything from that day and age.

Times Square has changed quite a bit from 1929, hasn't it?
I wanted to be in the moment. I wanted to go to the giant Gatsby parties with Jordan Baker and sit in a Hammett speakeasy, waiting for Nick and Nora Charles. Upon leaving the place, I'd end in Hemingway Paris and go dancing with Georgette and Lady Ashley Brett. I'd even go to the Faulknerian Deep South with the Compsons and somehow talk with Benjy, and Quentin, and even the scandalous Caddy. Of course, the feeling didn't last, when the Great Gatsby finished I ended up watching silent films. Some were very good (recommend Phantom of the Opera and Safety Last.) But the age had stopped captivating me. The Gatsby parties had stopped, I had seen the 20's for what they really were, corruption and loss of dreams. I didn't want to live then.

This week I have entered the newest phase of this. (Hopefully I'll continue moving forward till I reach my own age, right?) So, where I am "living in"?

The 1950s, of course! Rock'n'roll, quintessential, quiet American suburbs with a typical nuclear family, and science-fiction! (Not to mention the cool old-fashioned adverts.)

But now, I'd like to talk about why I don't like my own day and age.

"Why don't you like 2013?"
I find it very dull. Of course that's because I live in my own bubble. But it's quite true. There's nothing, absolutely nothing, to define our time. Unless it's stuff like Twerking, and Facebook, and boring stuff like that. (Then again, we are some of the first people to not suffer from polio, or TB, or smallpox, or no air-conditioning as the 4 previous eras did.) If the 2100s era people remember us for Dubstep then this was a failed age.

But wait a minute. Weren't the 1920s like that? Isn't the only thing most people care about are the parties, booze, and the Charleston? Hmmm... Maybe this age will be the golden age for someone living in 2085, or 2113. They won't realise the boring parts of it all. Could it be this is all ironic and full-circle?

Make of that what you will. Do you think that this is a "serious problem"? Any advice for helping me live in 2013?



  1. rob can the golden age beliefe count toward alternate history or fictional eras(like let's say alt history in wich the inquisition never slowed scientific progress or an age in wich modern culture never actually happens and instead we begin a semi utopia society) I would very much like to live as big brother hahaha.

  2. Big Brother is watching you... >:D

    I guess you could count those as Golden Age eras, but I think there might be a better term for it. But it is a time period and so I don't see why it shouldn't count. :) That Inquisition one actually sounds really interesting...a world where Galileo, Copernicus and Bacon weren't locked up for their "heresy"...