Monday, March 29, 2010

Same as it ever was

"We question, we ask, Are there, indeed, men here worthy the name? Are there athletes? Are there perfect women, to match the generous material luxuriance? Is there a pervading atmosphere of beautiful manners? Are there crops of fine youths, and majestic old persons? Are there arts worthy freedom and a rich people? Is there a great moral and religious civilization — the only justification of a great material one? Confess that to severe eyes, using the moral microscope upon humanity, a sort of dry and flat Sahara appears, these cities, crowded with petty grotesques, malformations, phantoms, playing meaningless antics. Confess that everywhere, in shop, street, church, theatre, bar-room, official chair, are pervading flippancy and vulgarity, low cunning, infidelity — everywhere the youth puny, impudent, foppish, prematurely ripe — everywhere an abnormal libidinousness, unhealthy forms, male, female, painted, padded, dyed, chignon’d, muddy complexions, bad blood, the capacity for good motherhood deceasing or deceas’d, shallow notions of beauty, with a range of manners, or rather lack of manners, (considering the advantages enjoy’d,) probably the meanest to be seen in the world."

"Democratics Vistas"
Walt Whitman. 1871

I don't know whether to he saddened or heartened by this. Elders have been lamenting the weaknesses of the younger generation since ancient times. But, in my every day life, I almost daily run into young servicemen that seem to "bitterly cling" to the principles of out Founding Fathers. Every single one of them is more valuable that 25 Lohans, Gagas, Baldwins, or Olhbermans. (sp?)