There’s an awesome paragraph I’ll use in my history classes this week as a way of addressing notions of progress. Are things always getting better? Where does this idea come from? What would happen if we replace postwar (first sentence) with American?
The rosy and long-lived postwar belief that the world is generally stable and generally improving has always been in many respects an illusion of the privileged. But it’s beginning to falter, even for us. To live in our present moment is to discover, over and over, that much of what we have imagined to be solid and permanent is in fact fragile. Notre Dame is an icon, but its roof was held up by regular wood, old and dry and quick to light. American democracy is susceptible to frauds and demagogues. The value of your house can suddenly disappear; the global economic system works only to the extent that we all continue to agree that it does; and the complex web of production and commerce that brings us nearly everything we depend on to live is occasionally revealed to be deeply, alarmingly brittle.
Brooke Jarvis, Why do hoax videos proliferate when disaster strikes? 09222019