Saturday night, the long awaited weekend, a glass of wine or two or three, depending on my tolerance and the quality of the wine, and a movie. Sweetheart and I like to indulge in watching a good film. I’d call her my wife but that seems just to common, if you know what I mean. Wives are something every married couple has, yes, even if you are of the same sex persuasion, and sweetheart puts the right attitude to the relationship. Being married has a finality to it, contractual fulfilment and all that legalese lawyers quote in divorce proceedings. Of course her favorite song is by the Fifth Dimension, Wedding Bell Blues. I suppose I’ll have to make that come true, mean old ex-wife notwithstanding. So I sit and write a bit while I play DJ for her using Youtube, a pleasant finish for the evening. Tomorrow will see the last of Downtown Abbey, thank god. Some television series are doomed from the start. They drag on far too long with little character insight other than they all change their roles. Whose turn is it tonight to have the love affair or the legal problems or whatever else might be happening. Yes, Lady Mary is a slut, but what else is new? Yes, she is a tease and can’t make up her mind, assuming she actually has one. Yes, she is a shallow woman with money, what a combination. Unfortunately the character reflects not the historic times but those of the younger writers whose moral education seems to be anything goes. I think Jane Austin would personally shoot to kill much of the so called literary talent for simple lack of original ideas. Perhaps listening to Ambrosia is not exactly conducive to intellectual thought.
Well, I am the tough customer when it comes to film and teleplay. I remember when the Republican National Convention aired in 1956 and my parents allowed my older brother and I to stay up late one Saturday night. I watched my first late show, that was back in the old days of black and white televisions and four main channels and two odd ones, VHF and UHF. The first old movie I saw was (look, a palindrome) The African Queen. Talk about being spoiled right out of the box. The next one I saw was some stupid B movie I can’t remember. Back then you might actually get a really good movie and then a bunch of average to bad ones. I saw a great many of the old classics that way, from the time I was eight or nine until now. I find that a good many of those old classics are actually based on very good novels, perhaps not the best, but that is in the eye of the reader. I have discovered so many good writers who had wonderful ideas and made them into something more that today’s excuse for a best seller. A good writer examines people, examines society, and examines moral problems. George Orwell’s 1984 was as much an indictment of social mores as it was the reflection of lack of moral steadfastness by his antagonist. To turn on the woman you profess to love and honor tends to speak badly of one’s commitment to the virtues of love and fidelity. What is the cost of self preservation when one’s sense of morality is destroyed? Yet we see this mirrored in society today. Slop though hook ups, finally get married for god knows what reason and then quit when the going gets difficult. Sorry about that, but a relationship between two people takes a little bit of work, a little bit of sacrifice, a little bit of truth when it comes to feelings. Insincerity seems to be the best the present generation can do.
If I were going to write a novel based on love relationships I think I would want to take a close look at how we, as individuals, as people, really see other people. How do we relate as individuals and as members of a society? What do hopes and dreams do with it anyway? When I grew up the dreams of most of the girls I knew were to become married and have children, to be successful wives and mothers and grandmothers. The boys knew that they would be required to be the wage earner in the family and that success was measured by marriage, children, and community standing. Your wife need not be the belle of the ball, but she should be a good woman and respectable. You went to church to set an example for your children and give them something to believe in, a lifeline in living each day. So tell me, what are the hopes and dreams of todays youth? Is it having the latest games, the latest smart cell phone or tablet? I am mystified, to say the least. What is the hallmark of success for today’s youth?
I see a distinct break with the past in this latest generation. One can look back and see the commonality of those who were born as late as 1970 with those who were born a hundred years later, in the 1870s. What connection do those who were born in the 1990s and later have with the past? What hopes and dreams are being articulated by this present generation? I see the values reflected in the new television productions and the new approaches to film making and I wonder what is their point, what are these young people trying to say? I can see a novel that explores these issues, a great attempt to answer some of the basic questions of living for this present generation. I can’t write, I don’t belong and that means I don’t understand the problems and the dilemmas that face so many today. But I can see the novel, I can anticipate the outline, the work that would go into writing it. Is it really that hard for these young people to see? Are their visions so blurred that only the superficial is worthy of their attention? I wonder, I truly wonder what we might expect from this generation. Where are the Faulkners, the Hemingways, the Maugham’s, the many others who have made a difference for their generations? Our present generation doe not choose to stand on the shoulders of giants as near as I can tell. It’s a pity, really, so much talent and so much waste.