Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Whitewater age: Nashville edition

Over 1.5 million people live in the Nashville metropolitan region. Median urban family income is $50,000. Vanderbilt university is a major player. Nashville is a significant American city.

About a week ago it was devastated by flooding. It's a federal disaster area now. I only know because I've visited there on business, and I have colleagues living there. Maybe it got some TV time, but it didn't get much notice in my media stream.

In the 1990s the Nashville floods would have received full spectrum coverage. Now, between market chaos, historic oil spills, the collapse of Greece, and the rest, it's just background noise. If Katrina hit today, it would probably get coverage for a week.

The world has changed a great deal in 15 years. Admittedly the 90s were an anomaly, a time when people could talk, with a straight face, about the "end of history". The early 20th century was not exactly placid. Nineteenth century America was flat out turbulent.

So these are not unusual times -- except in the context of our generational memories.

White water is the new normal. Ahead lies Peak Oil, climate transitions, immense environmental and sociopolitical change across the globe, and, perhaps, far worse.

We will become accustomed to the chaos; just as Beirutis seemed to grow accustomed to urban life in a war zone. Today's college students, however, will have to endure the boomers mourning the golden age of the (Bill) Clinton years.

I miss the 90s.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Is it 1984 yet?