The Guardian continues to give Jonathan Franzen novelist room to vent; this week he opines at length that modern life is horrible, awful, far, far inferior to the good old days when he was young and the internet was only a dream fools had after a tequila binge.
I was born in 1952, and 'though being somewhat older than Franzen, I think he's become a tiresome, humorless prig who views modern life through a filter that renders repetitive results. It's a natural instinct to resent and resist change, but truly smart and creative people cease with a protest that will not be heeded and adopt to the changes times and technology have brought us.
Often enough, the writers, poets and playwrights and publishers and book retailers who embrace the means available to them find themselves doing more interesting work; it means that they are engaged with the world that swirls about them and are fearless enough to interrogate shifting assumptions and remain relevant to readers who, I think, like to read writers with stylish prose styles wax poetic on the doings of human contradiction and convulsion.
Me, I love the internet, and I haven't had to give up the things I love, ie, literature, movies, poetry, jazz and blues, writing. The social sphere has been changing for the last 30 years, and I prefer being in on the conversation. Franzen continues to mumble about his fabled good old days, he continues to rue the dawning of the 60s and all the decades since. What a pathetic sight, a premature elder alone in a room with the shades drawn, the floor littered with crushed party hats and shriveled balloon skins. It was a great party, Jonathan, but it's over. Much fun and sadness has transpired since then. Did you miss all that.?