Two grumbles about modern life

When I started this blog, I was determined that I wouldn’t get into Grumpy Old Man mode. There are a lot of ways in which we live in a very good world, in spite of all the bad things that happen, and although we all like to look back on some golden age of our childhood, there’s an awful lot that I wouldn’t want to go back to.


There have been a couple of things in recent weeks that have discomfited me. I’m putting them down here to get them out of my system – if I know the people who read my posts, I’m expecting people to agree with me for the most part, but I’m not expecting anything to change from me saying it.

lincoln memorial

The Lincoln Memorial

The first one was during our holiday trip to Washington DC a couple of months ago. The last time we were there was in 2008, and on both trips we visited the Lincoln Memorial. As we remember it (it wasn’t just me, me wife remembers it this way too) the people visiting that Memorial were quiet and respectful, contemplative even, reading the inspirational carved inscriptions of the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. There was a warden (I can’t call him a guard) asking people to respect the sense of the place, to treat it respectfully and, essentially, to be quiet. And a very moving and emotional experience it was.

Not this year.

This year, it was like the proverbial bear garden. The chatter was incessant, there was no sense of place – this was just another stop on the tourist round. It was all about the photos, particularly the selfies – I was surprised that no-one was actually climbing up to have their photo taken sat in Lincoln’s lap.

How did this change so quickly?

And it got worse. We visited a number of the nearby Memorials and although some were well-respected (the Vietnam War Memorial, for example), the one that was shocking was the Korean War Memorial.


The Korean War Memorial, Washington DC

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, it’s a haunting sight. The depiction of 19 US soldiers and Marines wearing waterproof capes trudging through the undergrowth is unlike any of the other other memorials, and in the early evening twilight was particularly moving.

So why are people taking selfies of themselves there?

As someone who dislikes having his photograph taken at the best of times, I can’t understand the need to place oneself in every photo. What’s the purpose? Are you worried that people won’t believe you were actually there unless they can see you in the picture?

And people are smiling for the camera for a photo they are taking of themselves. Why? I can semi-understand people smiling if someone else is taking their photo – it’s what you do, it’s how we are all brought up – but smiling at yourself while you’re taking a picture of yourself standing in front of a War Memorial???

Is it just me that has a problem with this?

The second incident was at the Of Monsters And Men concert last week. We were there a little late (that’s another story) so had to settle for the unreserved seating to the side of the auditorium. As a result, we were viewing the stage from an angle and, being on the second row, through the gaps between the heads of the people in front.

concert iphoneWhich would have been fine if one girl in front hadn’t been filming most of the concert on her iPhone. Which, of course, she had to hold to one side so that she could still see the stage which, in turn meant that the iPhone was filling one of those gaps through which we were trying to see the stage.

Why? As my wife said, if she went on YouTube when she got home she could probably find better concert footage of the band than she’d just taken on her phone. I don’t mind people taking the odd photo, but filming whole songs?

So there’s my Grumpy Old Man grumbles. Sorry for going on. Calm again now.

And to cheer me up, and to show better live footage than the girl in fron got, here’s Of Monsters And Men performing King and Lionheart.




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5 Responses to Two grumbles about modern life

  1. calensariel says:

    Absolutely agree about both things. I haven’t yet experienced the concert thing. I this k I would have gone to find someone in charge and asked them to intervene. It was my money, too. But we’ve been to DC several times and have seen some inappropriate behavior from people who should have known better. Our daughter lives about ten miles from DC. The whole selfies thing drives me nuts! Can’t wait to see what happens when these kids are running our countries! 😮

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DangleLuke says:

    Agree big style. Live for the present and the future. Nice analysis Howard.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mike says:

    Absolutely agree about the concert filming. I stood behind three people who lifted up ipads for goodness sake. Those who know me can imagine that at some point I had to say something simply because I couldn’t see properly. It got worse when the lead singer crowd surfed. They need no filming zones in the halls for people who just want to watch and listen. At another concert someone turned to tell me off for dancing and “bumping” into them while they were filming. It’s a generation thing. Bands want people to film and upload to get more google search hits and more online presence.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a name for what you describe here in your most excellent post: It’s the 21st Century Disease. It isn’t just associated with a total lack of respect for what came before, it also is an insidious blight from a sector which we need as we enter that once celebrated ‘Elder-hood.’ That being the human services community. Once was, there was caring, and time was taken to ensure the quality care necessary to live life. Now it’s 10 minute visits to the doctor, and no more, and forget if you need to get through to your doctor for important reasons. They don’t want to hear about it. We’re told to hang up and dial 911.

    Sorry… I didn’t mean to go on, but you did such a wonderful job of soap-boxing, that it just felt like more was needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: How I Got Into….Rhiannon Giddens | Intermittent Daily Posts

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