28 December 2013

Past, Present, Future

" The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealised past."
Robertson Davies, "A Voice in the Attic", 1960

A friend of mine sent me this quote earlier this morning, with the note that it reminded him of the things I often say when talking about life in the second hand business and/or mighty internet. This is exactly how I feel whenever the #menswear blogosphere starts to whining about how Brooks Brothers, manners, style, etc. aren't precisely the same as they were in the past, frequently even before they lived.

Bonus points for the fact that the man is a titan of style. Seriously, do an image search.


WSTKS-FM Worldwide said...

That's very true, but there is no denying a sad and steep slide in standards of personal appearance outside the confines of home and manners/behavior over the last few decades.

Best Regards,

Heinz-Ulrich von B.

James Redhouse said...

@Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke

Wouldn't you agree that there has also been a sad and steep slide in standards of personal appearance inside the confines of home?

Anonymous said...

I think if we are to return to any kind of past, it had better be a very idealized version of it indeed.

LLP said...

I'm not from the days of iron men and wooden ships, yet I come down on modernity. Manners, medicines, material surfeit... they matter as necessity requires. What I enjoy is the collective knowledge and information we have available at our fingertips. The good old days were not necessarily good or bad. But they were full of ambiguity, ignorance, and superstitions that we can mostly avoid. Happy New Year to all.

Young Fogey said...

I think that some people set up a straw man here regarding the "return to the past" notion. Lamenting the loss of the good things of the past, be it behavior, clothes, or anything else, is not the same as wishing to return to the past.

Change is inevitable. Some change is for the better; some not. We deplore the boorish manner of so many around us, so we strive to be well-mannered ourselves. We bemoan the loss of standards, so we strive to uphold standards ourselves. It's not the same as saying something like, gee, I wish it were 1937 again.