Friday, May 23, 2008

The Once and Future Past

Welcome to my second blog. Or maybe my third. Me and the computer are a bit at odds about that. Then again, I'm a Luddite, so me and the computer are a bit at odds about EVERYTHING! In my previous blog, before I was so rudely interrupted by the library mandated time limit, I was going to pontificate about Gunsmoke. Actually about one particular episode I saw on TV Land not too long ago. Here's what happened. A group, or in Old West parlance, a gang of desperadoes came upon a solitary farmhouse. First they robbed the farmer and his wife, and then shot and left them for dead! As they were leaving the crime scene, they happened upon Marshall Matt Dillion (no relation to the Brat Packer) and his deputy Festus. Matt and Festus gave chase, but as the farm couple were bleeding to death, first things first, and the bad guys got away. Later that night, that very night, and I should mention that this episode BEGINS that very night, the outlaws were spending the night in some old abandoned cabin. "Why are we spending the night in this old abandoned cabin," cried one "We have to high-tail it out of this state!" "We can't, you fool!" yelled the leader "Matt Dillion saw us. By now they'll have every road in the state blocked off!" Now here's what concerns me. This is the Old West, 18whatever. How in tarnation (Old Westspeak) could they have all the roads blocked off in a single night! It's not like he had a two-way radio strapped to his horse! Speaking of horses it takes a little time to get back to Dodge City. And remember they had two people bleeding to death. In a squad car it would've been quicker, sure. But, horses? Eventually, Matt and Festus would've found a telegraph office, but that still should have given the bad guys a good head start. So, how to explain all this? Simple. Whoever wrote that episode grew up in the 20th century. He was used to instant communication, or what passed for it in the 1960s. He couldn't imagine any other way of thinking. This is what science and technology does (even to writers of TV fiction). A way of life people take for granted seems, at best, quaint to the people who come after. At worst, that way of life seems TOTALLY NUTS. Great Grandad didn't have electricity? No lights, no motor cars, not a single luxery? Like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be? Eventually, people come after the people who came after, and the tables are turned. No, junior, we didn't have Blackberrys when I was young. NO, I WASN'T DEPRIVED! I didn't even know what I was missing!... In conclusion, I suppose the people that come after us, or the people who come after the people who come after us, or the people who come after the people who come after the people who came after...well, you get the general idea...those people might some day produce a Gunsmoke-like show that takes place in, say, 2008, and some future desperado will say, "Matt Dillion's been online by now. He'll have every road in the galaxy blocked off!

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