Tuesday, 29 May 2007

About to be antiquated

There is a picture in the new Tate How We Are: Photographing Britain show of bear baiting in an English village, dating from 1910. It looks much older: we can hardly believe less than a hundred years ago that was going on in England.

Here's something that will seem equally odd soon. It is a picture of Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.
I predict that in thirty or forty years it will be hard to believe that a 'sport' which celebrates the egregious consumption of natural resources (and incidentally doesn't seem to me to be very sporting) will seem as out of date as bear baiting. By then, though, Monte Carlo won't be the same kind of place: rising sea levels will have turned a lot of the current centre into a diver's paradise. Underwater roulette anyone?

Let me end with a uncharacteristically sensible (if rather purple) piece of prose from George Monbiot today:

Motorised transport is a form of time travel. We mine the compressed time of other eras - the infinitesimal rain of plankton on the ocean floor, the settlement of trees in anoxic swamps - and use it to accelerate through our own. Every tank of fuel contains thousands of years of accretions. Our future depends on the expectation that the past will never be exhausted.

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