Nostalgia or Clean Slate!

There are certain issues you just can’t avoid however much you want and actually try to turn your back on them. They come over and again with such frequency the logical outcome would be you probably would get tired of them. A couple of times we have talked about the generation gap that’s so prominent in these trying times where there is no Plan B other to coming even more closer to counter the is tough issue time and circumstances throw our way.

A couple of guys were telling me they had one of the most heated argument with a gentleman in his late 60s. The topic was films and the gentleman was arguing that the few black and white films of ages gone were far better than the multimillion productions of the present days. They say he in fact said that people are no more making films but software. And, so they tell me, he concludes film have lost he human touch that’s so important when. Have they seen the oldies black and white films? Maybe one; maybe two. Has he seen enough of present day films? Maybe one; maybe two! So what was the hell the whole argument about when both sides don’t have enough source materials to base their arguments on? That dear readers sounds very, very familiar.

There are arguments all over the place. Not restrained so-called ‘civilized’ exchanges of ideas the game throwing terms and phrases around. The high ground, if there is any, is expected to be achieved not but by the purity and substance of ideas and concepts but by the lethal power of the words and phrases launched from all sides.

Talking about the senior fellow and the youngsters they said they were the ones who first raised the film issue. How come! I mean it seems a little strange to raise the issue of films with someone who could as well have been their grandfather. Don’t you see wavelengths very much apart in this scenario? One of them raises the issue of a highly popular recent TV series asking the senior what he thought about it. They say the man was dumbfounded a he had no idea what they were taking about. He as much tells them he watches not much TV except the evening news and some interviews deepening on the person to be interviewed. Then they ask him if he has seen any of the Amharic films in the cinemas in town. His answer, so they say, wasn’t definitive; only some incoherent murmuring and then out of the blue, as mentioned earlier, he goes it a tirade of belittling present day films. He claims the few black and white folks of ages gone were far better than the one gracing the cinema houses. He mentioned the name of old time actors and actresses showering them with all the credit denying the present generation the slightest sign of acknowledgment even encouragement.

Look just for the sake of a little fact check these days in most places a cup of the commonest types of tea with a piece of the cheapest cake costs on either side of a hundred birr in most places. Of course I have to admit most of them have this ambience of making you feel at home with good tables and chairs, and, this important, fully ‘clean’ table surfaces. It’s rather shocking to witness that there are the most modern cafes and restaurants charging you insane amounts for their teas and coffees and yet fail to make sure new customers face cleanliest at the best when they sit down to be served. More than a few times you find tea or coffee and even cake crumbs unattended. That’s not good hotel management, don’t you say?

Seeing the triple figures on the bill you can’t help being dragged further back in history. Here come the old genes knocking. Well there are those in the community who used to enjoy a cup of tea for less than ten birr. With twenty and thirty birr you could have the best date of your life and have some change to give to an old beggar or two.. (No! Absolutely not! I’m not sounding nostalgic!)

Here is not the issue of the good guys facing the bad guys kind of game. Sometimes you find people falling into this trap of making the other side a constellation of angels and the others a pack of Lucifer foot soldiers. This helps no one as it’s wrong analogy however beautifully it might be presented. And this argument between the senior fellow and the youngsters we are not talking about; it’s not, with apologies to Dan Brown, Angels and Demons. It’s about generations who don’t seem to be doing much to breach the ever widening gap.

The problem is with the spectacles with which we are seeing things. You hear a lot of curses about the things that allegedly happened in the past. I don’t balm most of the youngsters because very of the scant and highly biased information and sheer youthful bile leads them to act on the whim of their feelings and not on the strength of their ideas. Society has a lot to do to get the real pictures of the ages to the young. Only then would the country has conversations where the age difference wouldn’t be an tissue.

On the other hand most seniors having locked all the doors leading to their brains it’s next to impossible to put in new concepts and good arguments. Demonizing what happened or was thought to ages ago based on the algorithms of the present day is one thing that is prompting us to go for each other throats!

On one side…

Old books were better; old relationships were better; old politics was better; old social interactions were better etc.

On the other side…

New books are better; new relationships are better; new politics is better; new social interactions are better etc.

We’re haggling over the most insignificant things while we can brilliantly use the time and energy under our disposal for more important issues that have to be settled while there is still time. There’ll be time for nostalgia or clean slate!

The Ethiopian Herald April 7/2024


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