Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Ancient Blog: Why Were All Things Bitter on the Tongue?

Paging through the Ancient Blog from the month of October in the year One Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety (yes, that's 1990) I came across some scattered entries for the month, such as this page:

Hmmm. Edith Stein quotations have lost none of their vividness.

Television was "raising the kids" in 1990. The Box was indeed at its height. Cable was booming with new networks, and everyone had VCRs and at least one membership card to a video rental store. Of course, by 1990 we also had personal computers in our homes. They were planted on desks, and looked like bulky microwave ovens. They were useful for documents and data, but they weren't much fun. In those days, the television and the computer occupied two entirely separate worlds, and there was no reason to imagine that that would ever change. As for phones... well, they were your house, securely plugged into the wall.

TV was king. In a few months, Americans would get to watch their first "live war." Thanks to CNN, the bombing of Baghdad was brought into our living rooms like a football game. They even designed a eye-catching logo for "the Gulf War." TV was shaping all of us. It was defining the stories with its images. Upstart cable stations and poor quality homemade video tapes hinted at the possibility of "alternative media," but not much....

What about John Janaro in 1990? I was doing well in graduate school. "But I am not happy. I am not content. I am not satisfied." I was 27 and I thought that "all things [were] bitter on the tongue."

For all that has happened in recent years -- all the struggles and breakdowns and failures -- I would not describe my life today as "bitter on the tongue." No. It is a great life. Things are not bitter. Arduous and difficult, yes. But not bitter. It is a great thing to be alive, and to have hope for each day.

Perhaps in some ways I've grown younger with the passing of years.