Life and death on basic cable

Shutterstock.com

  • Title:

    The Tyranny of Clichés
  • Hardcover Price:

    27.95
  • Hardcover ISBN:

    9781595230867
  • Buy the Book

Article Highlights

  • Nostalgia plagues us all, but conservatives are particularly susceptible to it, for obvious reasons.

    Tweet This

  • Most people tend to think that “Golden Age” means simply “the best.”

    Tweet This

  • Think of it this way: Adam and Eve clearly had a good thing going before the Fall, but that didn’t mean TV was better before they bit the apple.

    Tweet This

Nostalgia plagues us all, but conservatives are particularly susceptible to it, for obvious reasons. When it comes to popular culture in particular, we tend to romanticize the past. The clichés spring to mind easily: The music these kids listen to today! You can’t even understand the words! Clark Gable, now there was a movie star! And then, of course, there are myriad allusions to “the golden age of television.”

This last has always struck me as something of a misnomer. Most people tend to think that “Golden Age” means simply “the best.” But, according to the Greeks, from whom we get the term, the Golden Age didn’t mean, necessarily, “the best.” It was, rather, the first age of man, a past age of innocence in which man lived in peace and prosperity. As the ages of man passed — the silver, the bronze, the heroic, and finally the decadent iron — things in general were not as good as they once were; but that doesn’t mean the poetry got worse. Think of it this way: Adam and Eve clearly had a good thing going before the Fall, but that didn’t mean TV was better before they bit the apple.

This article appears in the August 19 edition of National Review.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Jonah
Goldberg

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.