Yes, this experiment of writing every week has reached the one year mark. Feedback has been scant, and readership seemingly light, but yes, there has been a bumpy increase in readership as time has gone on.
Sometimes, it is difficult to write something new and unique, because it seems much has already been said. There are times, however, when the moment strikes, and the ideas flow. Some of the most fun and interesting posts have been the ones regarding flags and maps, and interestingly enough, the posts that have gotten the most visits have been the ones that have been more graphical (in keeping with our culture, perhaps), and the ones that have riffed on stories from JMG and JHK. Some of the top posts in the past year (from mid-April of 2015 to mid-April of 2016):
- Maps of Retrotopia, and maps of many other post-peak semi-pocalypse places,
- Flags of the future post-united States of America (one of which may have influenced JMG‘s choice for the flag of the Lakeland Republic),
- The Importance of Maker Spaces, a bit on why maker spaces may be the proto-guilds of the future,
- When do we ALL know (and discuss) that things have really changed?, which got a few comments as well.
In thinking about what has attracted people to this far-off corner of the ‘net, and what has made people take notice, it seems that the thesis that Art is Important has some merit. Now, the basic scrawling and sketching that has been done for this blog (yes, my training was not that of a graphic artist), may have not been up to commercial snuff, but the pages with the most intriguing images (maps and flags) have had the most interest, especially when helping bring to life the stories and worlds of others.
It is certainly worth restating – Art is Important. It can distill a worldview (albiet sometimes simplistically, and without nuance) that can connect with anyone and everyone. Now, of course, Art of all kinds has been perverted into propaganda by many folks (Leni Riefentahl’s Triumph of the Will is the poster child for this), and the effect of the flag that almost conquered the world is still pretty powerful (so much so it is banned in Germany). Like any tool, Art can be wielded for good or not-so-good purposes. Here is a telling quote, from the creator of the ‘anti’-Triumph of the Will (Why We Fight), Frank Capra:
“…[Triumph of the Will] fired no gun, dropped no bombs. But as a psychological weapon aimed at destroying the will to resist, it was just as lethal.”
According to Wikipedia, showing the films to civilians (which was done) was a dicey proposition:
Roosevelt considered this film so important that he ordered it to be distributed in civilian arenas for public viewing. However, some objections were raised against the Why We Fight series because it was so persuasive. Lowell Mellett, the coordinator of government films and aide to Roosevelt, saw the films as dangerous. He was most concerned with the effect the series would have after the war was over and the “hysteria” the films would create in their wake.”
Art can be pretty powerful.
If Art is so powerful, than perhaps our current populace might be awakened by such fare. The films I.O.U.S.A, An Inconvenient Truth, Collapse, What A Way To Go: Life At The End of Empire, and perhaps even The Big Short are all examples where art can sum up the situation we are in. Yet because of the jadedness and sophistication of modern audiences (at least with respect to manipulation or influence), they may have had limited impact, because of our 24-7 immersion into streaming content and ubiquitous screens. We are so used to propaganda (and “post-apocalypse porn”), that our built-in filters might reject the flickerings of warnings on tiny screens. Even the events of 9/11, as horrific as they were, seem to have faded (for many) into the background noise of modern society. Triumph of the Will, or Why We Fight, if made today, might seem even quaint.
- Will there be another Triumph of the Will (TOTW) for the modern age, describing the coming mess we are in, to a point where people actually wake up? TOTW sparked the US Army to call in Frank Capra; is it possible for another Frank Capra to rise up, and tell the important stories that need to be told?
- As noted above – are we too sophisticated for mere films to influence us?
- If virtual reality technology becomes ubiquitous and adopted quickly, perhaps a new medium such as VR, focusing on the nitty gritty of post-apocalyptic life might wake people up. Or will this become an art house VR topic?
- Has a film or documentary changed your life? Which one(s)? How?
- What else should we be discussing here at peakfuture?
Thanks to all the readers out there in cyberspace. A great deal has been learned this year, and yes, even some of my opinions have been modified. Keep the comments coming. The writing here may be a bit spotty at times, but as JMG mentioned, you need to write a lot before you get really good at it (something like a million words, or so, he reckoned). Well, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and all that.
(one year cupcake attribution)