Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time Capsule

Norm Geras, who loves conducting polls of his readership but hasn’t done it in a while, brings the feature back with a super-sized example: We’re asked to consider that civilization is coming to its doom (not that tough to do), and we’ve been “assigned the task of assembling for posterity a representative collection of the Arts of Humankind, to be preserved in a sealed container so that some future beings of intelligence, discernment and taste can discover it and be impressed.” Norm offers 12 categories, wants answers for at least nine of them, and 12 total. Meaning, you can eliminate up to three categories and use the slot to name an extra in one of the other nine. This is what I’ve done, eliminating Sculptor, Architect, and Photographer; not because I don’t enjoy those arts. These are pretty conservative choices, but I think that’s the point. These future people won’t know they’re conservative. They’ll just see, hear, and read them anew.

1. Poet: W. B. Yeats, Philip Larkin
2. Playwright: Bill Shakespeare
3. Novelist: Dostoyevsky
4. Composer: J. S. Bach, Mozart
5. Jazz musician: Miles Davis
6. Rock or pop star/group: The Beatles
7. Country music ditto: Hank Williams
8. Movie director: Alfred Hitchcock
9. Painter: Rembrandt, Picasso


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