Monday, March 12, 2007

A better time


Photographs of people from the 40s and the 50s always look so much happier than people from our own era. Of course, the grass is always greener in retrospect. In reality the good old days rarely were any different than the good old nows.

I was born in 1958 so I don't really remember much about the 50s. The 60s are a bit more clear, especially since I wasn't old enough to experiment with psychedelics. The 70s I'd just as soon forget. I did forget the 80s and the 90s are pretty much of a blur, too. Now that I'm in the 21st century, I am a bit curious about the 22nd.

Einstein was right. Time is relative.

Speaking of relatives, my nephew and his wife are expecting...a baby that is. I'm excited to be a great uncle, literally. It seems like only yesterday that I was parading my nephew around as a baby on my shoulders when I was 19. I remember being horrified at the goo he projectiled onto my head. Now it's his turn to be slimed.

I also remember sitting at his wedding in Las Vegas three years ago at the Graceland Chapel trying to goad an Elvis impersonator into singing Freebird. I'm getting all weepy just thinking about it. Anyway, I'm about as proud of the boy as an uncle could be.

But I digress.

I think photographs used to capture better times because they were special occasion things (birthdays, weddings, holidays). Now all anyone has to do is whip out their cell phone and they can capture a mugging on video.

I wonder if the ability to capture anything at anytime with a digital camera is making photographs meaningless. Or is it just reshaping our expectations and making us relax our memories. Will the next generation rely on computers to be their memories? When asked to recall the good old days will they simply pop in a flash drive and relive them.

Cool, but there is something vaguely troubling about it. I just can't remember what it is.
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