Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Ogress of Progress

OK, I'm not sure if Progress is a lady, but the words went together well and there is often a monstrous side to our technological improvements that we never seem to see until it's too late.

This may be Part 1 of a continuing, though sporadic, series, depending upon whether I can get this rant out of my system.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against Progress, otherwise I wouldn't be blogging on the Internet or taking photos of wildlife with a digital camera. And certainly, some Progress is to be positively encouraged, for instance Boro's ascending of the Championship table would be nice. However, and I readily admit that I might be in a minority of one here, I have less of a problem with spam in tins than I do with spam in my email inbox. If we're so bloody clever, how come we've let ourselves put up with the latter, when at least you can treat your taste buds and frighten the living daylights out of your arteries by deep frying the former.

Before you label me a Luddite, or some jolly decent Amish person invites me to a barn raising, let me elucidate.

Take illuminated manuscripts as an example. A monk in some drafty 13th Century scriptorium spends ages carefully crafting a beautiful work of art to add aesthetic wonder to a page. Possibly like this picture of a letter 'P' depicting Peter attempting to open a tin of spam with a cleaver.

I doubt if, these days, many of us could countenance the skill and patience required to painstakingly create such a masterpiece, by the light of a candle and with fingers numb from the cold. If there's any time-travelling monks out there who can corroborate this image of 13th Century working conditions, I'd appreciate it. Ta.

So how would an illuminated manuscript produced in the 21st Century compare? Well, I'm pretty certain that the sort of documents we're most likely to encounter would look like this...

Possibly without the worrying references to knives, but hey, perhaps opening tins of spam is a problem that sits outside our normal definition of Time. The point is (no pun intended), the bloody point is, that Progress has left us with a pale shadow of the creativity we once possessed.

And you can't open a tin of any vaguely meat-based products with a highlighter pen!