February 08, 2008

The Relationship between the Distant Past & the Present

Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2008 17:06:00 -0800
From:"James Eliot Quill" <________@gmail.com>
To:"James Henry Welsch" <_@itwaslost.org>, "Liam Joseph Olaf Worland Golden" <_____@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Writing Assignment #2

You guys are rapidly losing credit. It's kind of like the arcade Gauntlet: Legends. Better find some chicken or something.

On Jan 21, 2008 5:45 PM, James Eliot Quill <____@gmail.com> wrote:

due: 1/31/08
250 words or more

James: The relationship between the distant past & the present
Liam: The relationship between the distant future & the present



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The Relationship between the Present & the Distant Past”

by Jonny Greenwood, age 16, future guitarist of the rock & roll band, Radio Head.


Mark Twain famously wrote, “They told the youth to bring their new ideas to the vast, empty land out West. That gave the Easterners some breathing space to preform their old ideas, until such time as the youth's ideas grew hoary likewise.” Such a statement could have been written today, with the cartography mixed up a bit. There have always been young people & old people, the former dying young & the latter already dead.


Ever scholar – by which I mean, stoned student – imagines the prehistoric past differently. Often, one will re-create primitive man to affirm some personal or political agenda. For instance, if I am trying to vindicate vegetarianism, I will point to Jane Goodall's theory that early man probably had a similar diet to modern chimpanzees, our closest relative: eating only a mere 2% meat, only occasionally motivated off of our cuddly posteriors to hunt, otherwise surviving deliciously on the ample gatherables, fruit, salads, & insects. Eventually, Homo sapiens co-evolved with the crop vegetables & domesticated animals, changing slowly into the first agricultural communities. At that time, slaughter was rare & sacred, man worked far harder than chimpanzees, & Jesus Christ was still an intergalactic sperm. Nevertheless, none of these ancient scenarios supposes a lifestyle radically different from the modern urban or rural human. I will lie around most of the day with my harem, only motivated to go shopping about once a week, & favor gathering over the rigors of the hunt. Elsewhere, people are farming & running monstrous CAFOs, but I avoid thinking of that at all costs. Alternately, omnivores, blind to the sufferings of industrialized livestock, will re-imagine primitive man spending all day long clubbing mastodons.


What about war? Winston Churchill remarked that it is “a thundering evanescence, the intensity of which no Indian god can diminish.” Sure, there were wars in the distant past, but what can equal the horrors which Lincoln, Churchill, & Lyndon Johnson managed? Two percent of the 1861 population died in the American Civil War, the equivalent of which would be unthinkable today. Even the amount of people who have died in car accidents – highways & freeways being a sort of postmodern ("po-mo") civil war – in the past five years, barely scrapes the one percent bracket. The Civil War was an awesome combination of the old fashion field outing & a modern shoot-fest. The magnitude of Second Millennium horrors is unqualifiable. In conclusion, we have nothing in common with the distant past, except for the size of our imaginations.

1 comment:

sarah said...

"jesus christ was still an intergalactic sperm". heavens