The past is a foreign country

I tried watching a classic Western this weekend, How The West Was Won. I did not make it far. Let’s just say that in the first few minutes, the Spencer Tracy voiceover that accompanies the sweeping vistas sets out an attitude toward the indigenous population that would not fly today.

It’s one thing to be repulsed by a film from another era, but it’s even more uncomfortable to revisit the films from your own teenage years.

Tim Carmody has written about the real hero of Top Gun:

Iceman’s concern for Maverick and the safety of his fighter unit is totally understandable. He tries, however awkwardly, to discuss Goose’s death with Maverick. There’s no discussion of blame. And when they’re assigned to fly into combat together, Iceman briefly and discreetly raises the issue of Maverick’s fitness to fly with his superior officer and withdraws his concern once a decision is made.

I know someone who didn’t watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off until they were well into adulthood. Their sympathies lay squarely with Dean Rooney.

And I think we can all agree in hindsight that Walter Peck was completely correct in his assessment of the dangers in Ghostbusters.

Oh, and The Karate Kid was the real bully.

This week, George wrote I’ve fallen out of love with Indiana Jones. Indy’s attitude of “it belongs in a museum” is the same worldview that got the Parthenon Marbles into the British Museum (instead of, y’know, the Parthenon where they belong).

Adrian Hon invites us to imagine what it would be like if the tables were turned. He wrote a short piece of speculative fiction called The Taking of Stonehenge:

We selected these archaeological sites based on their importance to our collective understanding of human and galactic history, and their immediate risk of irreparable harm from pollution, climate change, neglect, and looting. We are sympathetic to claims that preserving these sites in their “original” context is important, but our duty of care outweighs such emotional considerations.

Have you published a response to this? :



# Shared by Ben 🌹 :NERevs: on Monday, March 6th, 2023 at 8:33pm

# Shared by Pete Lambert on Monday, March 6th, 2023 at 8:33pm

# Shared by Caspar Fairhall on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023 at 2:28am


# Liked by Pete Lambert on Monday, March 6th, 2023 at 8:33pm

# Liked by Robert Wetzlmayr on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023 at 2:28am

# Liked by Caspar Fairhall on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023 at 2:28am

Previously on this day

1 year ago I wrote A bug with progressive web apps on iOS

Opening an external link in a web view appears to trigger a reload of the parent page without credentials.

1 year ago I wrote Both plagues on your one house

February, man.

4 years ago I wrote Unsolved Problems by Beth Dean

A presentation at An Event Apart Seattle 2019.

5 years ago I wrote Minimal viable service worker

Boosting performance with a general-purpose service worker script.

6 years ago I wrote Empire State

Non-humans of New York.

16 years ago I wrote Southby

It’s that time of year again: South by Southwest is almost upon us.

20 years ago I wrote They. They, they, they shine on.

Hidden away on the listings page for the Sussex Arts Club is the regular singer/songwriter Thursday night slot for March 20th.

20 years ago I wrote Call and response

I love it when the web works like this.

20 years ago I wrote Do not adjust your set

The colours really are that vivid.