Corpsey

call me big papa
It is boring, yeah, which is why I stopped studying history. All these annoying facts getting in the way of a cool story.

I don't see how you can reasonably look at the 19th and not consider industrialisation as fundamental to its character. It's not just random events that could of happened at any point in the timeline. That's silly.
Yeah but some people argue that industrialisation began decades - even almost half a century - earlier. Which isn't to say that industrialisation WASN'T fundamental to 19th century Britain (and beyond), but it wasn't entirely a 19th century thing - of course you'll rightly say that that wasn't what you were arguing.

"Although the structural change from agriculture to industry is widely associated with the Industrial Revolution, in the United Kingdom it was already almost complete by 1760."

This reminds me of how some argue that there wasn't really a world war 1 and a world war 2, only one big world war with an intermission. Of course, you could run with that and find all sorts of antecedents for world war 1, and the antecedents to those. I guess it could all become infinitely vague and chaotic that way. Hence the need for stories!
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
You're in an irascible mood today corpsey! As I have just explained to Danny, facts don't matter.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I don't think facts get in the way of characterising the 19th in a particular way, although this is giving me uncomfortable (false?) memories of a particularly stupid argument I had with Padraig a thousand years ago.

Photography
Railways
Telegraph/submarine cable
Nation building (Germany, Italy etc)
Universal Education
Standardisation of time and space
Standardisation of languages
Industrialisation
Urbanisation
Rise of America and Japan.

So the forging of a single global economy comprised of larger standardised units. Mass culture replacing folk traditions. Shrinking of time and space. Shift from rural to urban. enormous growth in energy and economic capacity. Bourgeois/proletariat something something somethjng
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Perhaps what I was getting at was that separate centuries can be broadly characterized but the idea that they are anomalous or sui generis is too simplistic, as tempting as it is to do it. Like isn't it seductive to think of the 20th century as the Fall? The descent into the abyss. The most horrific, disillusioning century.

But that's ignoring how horrific and disillusioning other centuries were for other people.

Of course this is precisely the obverse of what Yeats thought. His great gyres. The blood dimmed tide. Seductive, that vision, the idea there's all an explanation behind it all.
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
What comes to mind when you think of it? What do you feel were the most significant events, inventions and discoveries? Do you view it as an anomaly or a continuation?
my associations are very similar to what you'd get in hauntology: a time when radical departure from the past seemed very possible; the pursuit of extremes; belief in meta-narratives and universal communication; the dawn of pop culture. basically a huge, chaotic expansion of possibilities that often imploded badly.

guess I don't particularly think of it as an overtly bad or hellish time in its entirety despite the many extremely well-documented atrocities. maybe because for americans various decades of it are seen as the country's glory days, or defining moments, culturally.
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
I wrote a rambling post about the beatles for the request a list thread but might as well post it here:

corpsey. 5 beatles tracks to put to bed the UK punk consensus of them being middle class wank (a consensus i subscribe to.)
was just thinking about this the other day. I used to completely subscribe to this view because I a) found their music annoying ever since I was a kid and b) read the legendary piero scaruffi rant about how they paled in comparison to more obscure 60s bands and completely converted to that opinion as a teenager. but lately I’ve found it increasingly difficult to stick with the “beatles are way overrated” contrarian viewpoint.

what gets me is how their music serves as a point of confluence for so many huge currents of 20th century music and culture. even if you think the revolutionariness of the 60s is overrated, it’s hard to imagine one music act being so in-the-center-of-things ever again. I mean I know this isn’t new information to anyone here but they were at the forefront of all of the following:

-the rise of popular music / pop culture (they are the best selling, most widely known music artists of all time and it’s not even close)
-popular music that acknowledged the developments of modernism / the avant garde (they were the archetypal heartthrob boy band and they took influence from some of the most "out there" music ever made. stockhausen himself, later completely unimpressed with mr. electronic super genius richard james, even called them the bridge between serious music and pop music )
-studio-based music rather than live performance music (granted this could apply to a lot of artists from that period)
-the rise of the album as a Serious Artistic Statement rather than as a secondary format for teen dance music
-the rise of psychedelia / the counterculture

maybe one could snarkily respond “that just proves they were middle class wank" to the last two but you get what I mean. the world was watching. you can scoff at their pastoral british whimsical humor but I’m guessing the beatles’ music has been played in the midst of more revolutions worldwide than any gabba track ever will be. the sound of the 20th century whether we like the tunes or not.

'about' is the enemy of art. art is the process. the process of history crystallised in your actions. you sync with it, are the same as-

then you can't tell any lies.
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
I wrote a rambling post about the beatles for the request a list thread but might as well post it here:
the connection being to the question of whether or not an entire century can have a discernible character. they're an interesting case study in that respect
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Images on the cover of Sgt. Peppers.

Top row

(1) Sri Yukteswar Giri (Hindu guru)
(2) Aleister Crowley (occultist)
(3) Mae West (actress)
(4) Lenny Bruce (comedian)
(5) Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer)
(6) W. C. Fields (comedian/actor)
(7) Carl Jung (psychiatrist)
(8) Edgar Allan Poe (writer)
(9) Fred Astaire (actor/dancer)
(10) Richard Merkin (artist)
(11) The Vargas Girl (by artist Alberto Vargas)
(12) Leo Gorcey (image was removed from cover, but a space remains)
(13) Huntz Hall (actor)
(14) Simon Rodia (designer and builder of the Watts Towers)
(15) Bob Dylan (singer/songwriter)

Second row

(16) Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator)
(17) Sir Robert Peel (19th century British Prime Minister)
(18) Aldous Huxley (writer)
(19) Dylan Thomas (poet)
(20) Terry Southern (writer)
(21) Dion DiMucci (singer/songwriter)
(22) Tony Curtis (actor)
(23) Wallace Berman (artist)
(24) Tommy Handley (comedian)
(25) Marilyn Monroe (actress)
(26) William S. Burroughs (writer)
(27) Sri Mahavatar Babaji (Hindu guru)
(28) Stan Laurel (actor/comedian)
(29) Richard Lindner (artist)
(30) Oliver Hardy (actor/comedian)
(31) Karl Marx (political philosopher)
(32) H. G. Wells (writer)
(33) Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (Hindu guru)
(34A) James Joyce (Irish poet and novelist) – barely visible below Bob Dylan
(34) Anonymous (hairdresser's wax dummy)

Third row

(35) Stuart Sutcliffe (artist/former Beatle)
(36) Anonymous (hairdresser's wax dummy)
(37) Max Miller (comedian)
(38) A "Petty Girl" (by artist George Petty)
(39) Marlon Brando (actor)
(40) Tom Mix (actor)
(41) Oscar Wilde (writer)
(42) Tyrone Power (actor)
(43) Larry Bell (artist)
(44) David Livingstone (missionary/explorer)
(45) Johnny Weissmuller (Olympic swimmer/Tarzan actor)
(46) Stephen Crane (writer) – barely visible between Issy Bonn's head and raised arm
(47) Issy Bonn (comedian)
(48) George Bernard Shaw (playwright)
(49) H. C. Westermann (sculptor)
(50) Albert Stubbins (English footballer)
(51) Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
(52) Lewis Carroll (writer)
(53) T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia")

Front row

(54) Wax model of Sonny Liston (boxer)
(55) A "Petty Girl" (by George Petty)
(56) Wax model of George Harrison
(57) Wax model of John Lennon
(58) Shirley Temple (child actress) – barely visible behind the wax models of John and Ringo, first of three appearances on the cover
(59) Wax model of Ringo Starr
(60) Wax model of Paul McCartney
(61) Albert Einstein (physicist) – largely obscured
(62) John Lennon holding a french horn
(63) Ringo Starr holding a trumpet
(64) Paul McCartney holding a cor anglais
(65) George Harrison holding a piccolo
(65A) Bette Davis (actress) – hair barely visible on top of George's shoulder
(66) Bobby Breen (singer)
(67) Marlene Dietrich (actress/singer)
(68) Mahatma Gandhi was planned for this position, but was deleted prior to publication
(69) An American legionnaire[5]
(70) Wax model of Diana Dors (actress)
(71) Shirley Temple (child actress) – second appearance on the cover

Props on the cover

Cloth grandmother-figure by Jann Haworth
Cloth doll by Haworth of Shirley Temple wearing a sweater that reads "Welcome The Rolling Stones Good Guys" – third and last appearance on the cover
A ceramic Mexican craft known as a Tree of Life from Metepec, substituted at the request of Germán Valdés, who had been asked to give consent for his image to appear.
A 9-inch Sony television set, apparently owned by Paul McCartney; the receipt, bearing McCartney's signature, is owned by a curator of a museum dedicated to The Beatles in Japan.[6]
A stone figure of a girl
Another stone figure
A statue brought over from John Lennon's house
A trophy
A doll of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi
A drumhead, designed by fairground artist Joe Ephgrave[7]
A hookah (water pipe)
A velvet snake
A Fukusuke, Japanese china figure
A stone figure of Snow White
A garden gnome
A baritone horn
A three-stringed flower guitar

People excluded from the cover

(12) Leo Gorcey – was modelled and originally included to the left of Huntz Hall, but was subsequently removed when a fee of $400 was requested for the use of the actor's likeness.[8][9]
(54A) Unidentified laughing figure – barely visible
(56A) Sophia Loren (actress) – behind The Beatles waxworks
(58A) Marcello Mastroianni (actor) – behind The Beatles waxworks, only the top of the hat is slightly visible
(65B) Timothy Carey (actor) – was modelled and originally included but largely obscured by George Harrison in the final picture
(68) Mahatma Gandhi – was modelled and originally included to the right of Lewis Carroll, but was subsequently removed.[8][9] According to McCartney, "Gandhi also had to go because the head of EMI, Sir Joe Lockwood, said that in India they wouldn't allow the record to be printed".[5]
Jesus Christ – was requested by Lennon,[5] but not modelled because the LP would be released just over a year after Lennon's controversial statement that the band was "more popular than Jesus".[10] He was, however, said to be hidden behind the band during the shoot.[4]
(45C) Adolf Hitler – was requested by Lennon[11] and modelled to the right of Larry Bell,[12] but was removed[13] and hidden behind the band.[4][11]
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Yeah but some people argue that industrialisation began decades - even almost half a century - earlier. Which isn't to say that industrialisation WASN'T fundamental to 19th century Britain (and beyond), but it wasn't entirely a 19th century thing - of course you'll rightly say that that wasn't what you were arguing.

"Although the structural change from agriculture to industry is widely associated with the Industrial Revolution, in the United Kingdom it was already almost complete by 1760."

This reminds me of how some argue that there wasn't really a world war 1 and a world war 2, only one big world war with an intermission. Of course, you could run with that and find all sorts of antecedents for world war 1, and the antecedents to those. I guess it could all become infinitely vague and chaotic that way. Hence the need for stories!
It's easy to slip into the idea that there's a clean break or set of bookends to each century, much like the idea that the moment a decade hit all the things we associate with it arrived in an instant rather than three or four or five years in.

I guess you can't help but note down markers and reference points, I tend to view 2000 - 2010 as beginning with 9/11 and ending with the financial crisis, but the former was almost two years in and the latter three years or so before the end and that's assuming you can isolate the events from the causes.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Obviously a new chapter doesn't magically open at the start of every new century but if you accept the arbitrary time frame it is possible to make generalisations about any given period. To say, for instance, that mass communications play a defining role in the 20th in a way they don't in the 16th.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
The Beatles, as mvuent has just patiently explained, is a phenomenon that could not have occurred in any preceding century.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
For all its hideous aesthetics in Greenwich you can understand what the steampunk stuff is driving at. There is a kind of high Victorian magic. The future is being created.

On the churches thread I was talking about the masons, this counter current to religion; mathematics, engineering, technology, observation, measurement, this is what the steampunk stuff is tracking. The Royal society. This is the current that really becomes predominant in the 19th with industrialisation and the global economy.
See now, if you didn't have this prejudice that this sort of writing "stinks of nerds" or however you want to put it, this is a pretty apt summary of Neal Stephenson's 'Baroque Cycle', which is fucking fascinating. Its subject matter is nothing less than the birth of the modern world.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I've read the Anubis gates, I've read the difference engine and I've read cryptonomicon.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I'd love to be able to enjoy Stephenson because I agree what he's trying to capture is fascinating. It's real and in Greenwich you're constantly reminded of it.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I feel I've been nitpicky here but of course I accept that we can generalise about ANY period of time. Decades are no different. We feel the 00s was a different decade to the 90s, and if we looked at 1995 to 2005 as one decade and 2005 to 2010 as another, no doubt we'd say they both have their own character.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I feel I've been nitpicky here but of course I accept that we can generalise about ANY period of time. Decades are no different. We feel the 00s was a different decade to the 90s, and if we looked at 1995 to 2005 as one decade and 2005 to 2010 as another, no doubt we'd say they both have their own character.
You said it was impossible to generalise facts don't care about your feeling and that we are all cunts and you hate us all.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
See now, if you didn't have this prejudice that this sort of writing "stinks of nerds" or however you want to put it, this is a pretty apt summary of Neal Stephenson's 'Baroque Cycle', which is fucking fascinating. Its subject matter is nothing less than the birth of the modern world.
His beard puts me off. He looks like one of those white supremacist "intellectuals" that go on about Norse mythology and runes and shit.

8YK0a82.jpg
 
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luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I thought cryptonomicon was a bit on the racist side. Definitely iffy.
 
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