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Let It Roar


Artwork by Roc Verdera

Artwork by Roc Verdera

What made the 1920s roar? And will this decade upon us, the new Twenties of a new millennium, when change changes at such a dizzying pace, roar too? I don’t know if, in this call out culture, in this age of the snowflake, at a time of easily offended sensibilities, we can still expect les annĂ©es folles, the crazy years, not when with social media at its peak everyone has learned the skill of self-editing.

Don’t throw the past away. You might need it some rainy day. Dreams can come true again. When everything old is new again.—Paul Allen

But the 1920s roared because everything was new. The women were given the right to vote (for the first time) around the world. Jazz was the new sound. Movies turned from black and white to all-color (for the first time), from silent to sound (although in limited sequences). Cars, telephones, radio, even airplanes as a commercial business were on the rise. Flappers made everybody look like they were dancing, even if they were only standing still on a windy day, and there was a popular craving for dancing, and so the dance hall and the dance club were born and so were Charleston, waltz, the foxtrot, the American tango, and Breakaway. All things roared, all things danced, all things new, new, new!

At a Christmas party just recently, in a group of 20 or so, two-thirds of whom were 30 and below, only three drank to the limit, to the level of pure inebriation, to the point of getting wasted, recklessly, irresponsibly, and all three were 40 and much older. Haha! I guess the three old fogeys forgot it was 2019 and the little thingamajig in everybody’s hand had the power to capture the shameful moment and share it to the world.

But I guess new is no longer new. Or new gets old before we can say new. Lately, I notice, the trend is more like old is new again. My 13-year-old niece Rafa playing John Williams’ “Theme from Schindler’s List” on the violin. Her sister, nine-year-old Georges, singing Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” like she already knew what true love meant. Jones Bridge has been restored to its old neoclassical glory. The ‘80s have been so back on Netflix—Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Glow, The Goldbergs, Freak and Geeks. My new obsession, Shanne Dandan, reviving Lolita Carbon’s “Himig ng Pagibig.” Cookbooks are back, and it’s fun again to cook from cookbooks. Incidentally, our very own Manila Bulletin Lifestyle food columnist Nina Daza, along with her brother Sandy Daza, has updated her mother Nora Daza’s iconic recipes in her new book Let’s Cook with Nora. And Star Wars, whatever, The Rise of Skywalker, the latest in CGI notwithstanding, it’s still a stretch from the magic that first unfolded in 1977, when movie, yes, was truly out of this world unfolding in a huge square of light in a dark room.

Forests are new. Clean water is new, that is to say, rivers that are not dead, they are alive, and lakes teeming with marine creatures, beaches like Boracay’s that are beaches, not playgrounds, and oceans in which the humpback whale survives the threat of extinction.

Farm to table is new, though our forefathers with raised eyebrows are wondering why new: That was how they ate before. And the kids, 25 and below, tired of digital overload, are finding refuge on the printed page, in the scent of ink on paper, their noses buried in physical pages, rather than down on the LED screens of their gadgets. I pray to God I am not dreaming.

How are the new Twenties going to change our lives? In the ’80s, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” as the Buggles put it, but what will kill the Internet, which is all there is at the moment, a parallel universe into which we are getting deeper and deeper as it compresses itself to make its way into our smartphones, tablets, earplugs, eye lenses, appliances, clouds, AR, VR, robotics, cloning, healthcare, interior design, architecture—our day-today schedule, our minds, our hearts, our souls.

Oh how I wish this decade will be roaring as well! Roaring with a new verve. Roaring with new things. Roaring with hope. Roaring with life that, for the world, is still natural and that, for us, is still human.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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