Friday, March 09, 2007

A compliment, of sorts

So I'm a little behind the times (which is ironic; it'll be self-explanatory in a second), but I just saw Bruce Sterling's op-ed in last weekend's Washington Post. Most of the piece is talking about the "dot-green" revolution sweeping the globe, as more and more people get on the "global warming" bandwagon, but at one point he mentions this:

Serbia may be the world's single-greatest locale for a professional futurist. Awful things happen there faster than awful things happen anywhere else. The Balkans is a tragic region that denied stark reality, broke its economy, started multiple unnecessary wars, and basically finger-pointed and squabbled its way into a comprehensive train wreck. It suffered all kinds of pig-headed mayhem, all unnecessary.
So what's the good part? They never gave up around here. On the contrary: There's a certain vivid liveliness in the way they're scrambling and clawing their way out of yawning abyss. The food is great, the women dress to kill, and sometimes they even laugh and dance.

You don't have to predict the future when you live in it.

See, Sterling now lives in Belgrade. He is married to Jasmina Tešanović (of the "Women in Black," B92 and such crowd), which helps explain the scornful analysis of "unnecessary mayhem," but he is still capable of seeing the essence of the people: the "vivid liveliness" and determination. His wife's colleagues in the "human rights" industry lament and harangue on a daily basis the "primitive backwardness" of Serbia, and desire to drag it into "modernity" at all costs (preferably without Serbs)... but if Sterling is to be believed, Serbia is already living in the future.

It's a compliment, of sorts.

No comments: