Monday, August 14, 2017

Ceylon Sliders

Though far from complete, I count 54 issues of Monocle in my bookshelf. Maybe, in some post-apocalyptic future, these will become like charred Roman scrolls, unintelligible, not so much in linguistic terms as political ones. For a Medieval Europe ravaged by war, it was hard to imagine that such a stable social order as the Roman Empire had even existed. Perhaps, our interest in Sri Lankan surf and yoga retreats, Japanese manicured gardens and Swiss onboard cuisine will one day seem just as remote as Roman deities.

Or, most likely, it will not. But with Trump and the nuclear codes, to say nothing of the prolonged climate deadlock, we are definitely pushing our luck. In retrospect, our generation will be unique in that it experienced both the nuclear psychosis of the Cold War and the populist-nationalist madness of the late 2010s.

Almost a decade ago I travelled through the Caucasus by train. In Yerevan, I took the picture above that somehow perfectly captured the post-communist experience of gross inequalities, rubbish and ironic distance to it all. Maybe that is what I had in mind when counting my Monocle collection.

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