Thursday, March 30, 2017

Triggeration Day

Today the nation of my birth began a process which can be characterised as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 

This is beyond contention I believe. What is certainly worth disputing is just how much baby and how much bathwater might be involved. 

And I have friends and family whose perspicacity is largely beyond reproach who are convinced that the baby is dead or at least dying anyway. 

I have to acknowledge that my own perspective on this has educational and generational bias. 

In the 80s I took advantage on several occasions of the Inter-Rail programme and travelled freely around what we Brits call 'the continent', including those parts still under the sway of communist autocracies, plus two visits to the pre-Glasnost USSR. 

Then in the early 90s I helped build a new business situated at the intersection of the then wild west frontiers of fabulous opportunity - digial communications and the economies of the newly-liberated states of Central and Eastern Europe. 

There seemed to be plenty of baby to cherish there, but more recent contemplation sees me admitting that in the end there was also a good deal more bathwater than at first anticipated. 

This appears to be true of all the babies one might choose to cherish, but those above and below me in age seem strangely unwilling to acknowledge the need for compromise these days. 

I bought into both the soi-disant 'European Dream' and the 'Digital Revolution' because both not only promised great things, in their early phases the delivery was also indubitable.  (And because in the case of the dream, there was just enough of the nightmare still visible to spur one on.)

How much of my remaining commitment to these ideals is nostalgia? 

I ask myself the same thing when I return to some of the haunts of my early travels in Central America. Some of them have been transformed from unspoiled, almost dreamlike loci of youthful potentiality into solid modern urban environments with all the sell-outs and trade-offs such an expansion requires. 

And yet anyone who had ever followed my observations about destinations such as Playa del Carmen over the years will know that I have come to accept its corruption over time, just as I accept my own. 

No comments: