Another great “recurring conversation” took place tonight between Tessa, Rick Gradone and myself: basically the Where Can We Find Our Utopia discussion that comes up every month or so. The plain fact is that we’re getting to the age when cultural analysis leaves us all feeling desperate and bankrupt for some other time when the world was filled with artists and intellectuals all striving for some greater truth, whatever that means to you. For Tessa, it’s the West Village in the 1950s; for me, it’s probably Paris from about 1918 to 1928 (although I could have done without the influenza that killed everybody).
Both eras featured strict societies, homogeneity, and corrupt, big-business governments and yet these seemingly infertile conditions inspired some of the best work of the 20th century (Stravinsky, Dali, Picasso and Hemingway in the ’20s; the beat poets and Pollock in the 1950s). What we have now is a homogenous society fed identical fashions by catalogs (like Tessa says, everyone in college is wearing the same fucking thing); we have a corrupt, scary government; and a society full of unbelievable inequity