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Random Thoughts on the White Room

One of the critiques often leveled at SF from the 50s and 40s is that it envisioned the future as the 40s and 50s on steroids.  But when we look back today at the 50s, we blink and say, "we're not like that any more," even those of us who were there (when our memories are not failing us).  There were things we took for granted -- little kids running around the neighborhood unsupervised; going out of the house without locking the doors, and so on -- that are unimaginable today for most people today, when play has become play-dates and helicopter parents supervise the child's downtime. 

And those are just minor changes of culture and setting.  I had the fortune as a management consultant to visit all parts of the country and a fair number of other countries, and so had the opportunity to view people who did not behave like the people on the TV shows. 
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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2013 06:57 am (UTC)
All of a sudden I am recalling Spider Robinson's time-travel story about the Damon Runyon character, career criminal Harry the Horse. Runyon uses the present tense, never the past, but sometimes the future. The title was "Chronic Offender". One of the funniest things I am ever reading.

You will perhaps agree this is at least related to the topic.
Jan. 27th, 2013 12:26 pm (UTC)
While visiting a friend's house, I found a book in her children's library in Spanish, a "Cuban fantasy" about a cockroach. Since she couldn't read Spanish (her husband was the Cuban), I sat down and translated it for her.

Everything about that book was Cuban to me. I could taste strong coffee with sugar, smell the agua de violetas, and hear my grandmother reciting in an accent that sounds very distinct to me, compared to other Spanish dialects. And yet, when I tried to explain what was Cuban about it, I stumbled a lot. I suspect the only reason I could explain it at all was because I was born in America, and I have lived in places with other immigrants from different Spanish-speaking countries.

You don't get the perspective without the exposure.

Also, I should buy that book because it was uproariously funny. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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