Last Thoughts on the 20th Century
Strange how a sultry summers day,
humid and sodden,
provides a perfect background for reflection,
with the scent of Nostalgia in the air
mingling with the rich, ripe aroma
of rotting vegetation.
Of course by the 20th Century
most modern citizens had lost their sense of smell.
Life’s olfactory profusion passed them by,
they could no more sniff the wind
than wake up and smell the coffee
burning in the morning breeze.
There was always something burning
in the Twentieth Century.
Few found time to stop and smell the flowers,
most were plastic anyway.
to dehumanise the Mob’s last vestiges
of their animal nature.
MMM! Smells like Product Loyalty!
But, like they say; Buy the Barcode,
Take the Ride,
Rent the DVD,
Download the Copyright
for the intellectual property
residing in your brain.
it’s not even your personality at all;
You’re just using the software
of templates owned
by a company in Switzerland.
Only the physical brain remains
your very own private possesion,
for now, for even as we speak
some lowly, lesser life form (clerk)
is taking out a registered Trademark
on your genome. You belong
to the Company now.
Shit! I’m supposed to be talking
about the 20th Century,
But that’s how it was,
the 21st Century
just snuck up on us unawares
and black-jacked us good and hard..
One moment we’re celebrating the End of History
(spoiler alert; “We” won) and the next
we’re way back in the medieval muck,
fighting the Crusades all over again.
Yes, it was all so very disappointing.
One moment we’ve got our panties
all in a knot about the Y2K Bug
that was going to bring down Civilization
as we knew it,
then the next thing you know
it’s back to business as usual
with another burning Bush in the desert
pouring out great oily clouds of smoke
that hang in the still, dry air,
while a sense of hubris
and tragic deja-vu hovers like vultures
over the scene..
And what of the Sixties and Seventies?
That brief, bright bubble of Day-glo Hope
that burst too soon
when we had barely
reached the Moon.
Was it all just hallucination
a drug dream of the pipe,
Our plans to rebuild the Nations,
Our dreams to refashion our Life?
Sure some things changed, that is true,
“chicks” got the vote, “inferior races”
rose to legally human status.
The direction of the Human course
was turned somewhat askew,
We even tried somethings out
that (to us) were almost new,
like Democracy and Drugs,
but in the end Inertia won on through
and we’ve been back-sliding
into bad old habits ever since.
It’s still too early to tell
what the 20th Century‘s greatest contributions
to Humanity’s Progress (a dubious concept) will be
but in the end,
I think LSD will prove to be
than the Atom Bomb.
It’s not so much that the 20th Century
invented anything new,
the ideas had all been round for Ages,
mechanisation, mass production, Nationalism,
Capitalism, Communism, et al;
but we certainly took everything
to it’s illogical conclusion
and now it’s at the point
where it’s too late to question anything
that’s labelled “Common-Sense”.
Back in the 20th Century
Latin finally went out of fashion
as the Language of Empire. Today,
English is the Dead Language of the Future!
Meanwhile, each Picture used to be said
to be “worth a thousand words”,
but in the 20th Century ‘Art’ had to work overtime,
what with censorship and advertising
and Inflation and all,
so that each picture had to simultaneously speak
and less than a thousand words
to satisfy consumer demand.
Subliminal messages went public
for the first time,
traded well on the stock-exchange
and acquired new popularity accordingly.
There was some concern at first
that the new invention of Television
might be responsible for a general
“dumbing down” of the Populace,
but it was ultimately conceded that
they were already pretty dumb in the first place.
With this in mind, the Television industry
proceeded accordingly, but with stringent
moral and social guidelines in place
for the first thiry years to guide
the infant medium; hence,
married people slept in single beds,
the act of procreation was depicted by the occasional kiss,
black people were rarely glimpsed
except as servants or musicians,
and exposure toViolence was strictly limited
to a mere 586 television deaths
per viewing hour. (In the American Century,
Hollywood solved every problem with a gun/
it looked such Fun/ it’s no wonder
there’s so many/
Meh, who cares about the 20th Century
anyway, aside from History Buffs
and people on Quizz shows.
Try and tell the kids
about Life before the Internet
and they’ll just “unfriend” you on Facebook.
It’s like asking them to watch a black & white movie.
So perhaps I should just finish up for now by saying;
there was some really good music back then,
even if we didn’t have digitally-enhanced
5.1 “surround-sound” systems
and all that crap
Vinyl still sounds better
than any MP3s could do.
We had some real cool cars too.
Yeah, don’t get too uppity, my dear 21st Century,
We in the 20th Century
might have stolen all our good ideas
from the other Centuries,
or from that Flying Saucer down in Roswell,
but we made them ours, and registered the
Trademark accordingly, and now,
thanks to Walt Disney,
the Estate & Heirs of the 20th Century,
will be collecting on the intellectual property
well into the next Millenium.
And as for all the rest,
We can but apologise
for the mess.
The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,
President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity,
and an ordained Minister of the Church of the Universe,
AND the Church of Spiritual Humanism.