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I am sure you know them too: people who insist that in the past everything was better. That no good music has been created, no worthy books have been written and no decent politician has been in charge for decades. It is often paired with this idea that people (or young people specifically) today are more rotten and broken than in the past.
This attitude always infuriated me and I didn’t know quite why. What this attitude says is “there’s no beauty, integrity and creativity today. My expectations have not been met and therefore the only conclusion I can draw is that the whole world is crap. I don’t have to bother testing my assumptions by say looking for beauty in contemporary culture. I don’t have to open my heart enough to be touched by something that wasn’t sanctioned yet. But saying the world is crap makes me sound like a moody 13 year old so let’s just say the world is crap today and I, the person of discerning taste, am superior because unlike you schmucks, I can actually decide what is worthy music, literature or politics.”
This doesn’t make anybody discerning. It just proves, that you would rather wait for the expert critics to have decided what is worthy and what isn’t. The cacophony of diverse opinions dies down with time and things get very very simple: the winning attitude survives the rest is forgotten. It’s super easy to choose the right side of war or literature when it’s decades back and consensus has been reached. It’s the opposite of discerning because there are no alternatives to choose from.