Saturday, 15 November 2014
the wrong car
I’m never sure what postmodern is, or indeed was. I’m not even sure what modern is. Some people might call me old-fashioned. Maybe my time-frame is too temporal. I’m reading George Saunders which doesn’t help. That Brechtian idea of putting you outside the text to understand something you don’t understand anyway is something I don’t understand. Once upon a time a story was just a story.
I’ve got a stupid mind that’s not very good at organising things. About thirty-five-years ago, or perhaps longer, I can’t rightly remember, I read a story about a woman who jumped out in front of a car. I don’t know who the author was, but I’d guess you’d describe it as sci-fi. The car stopped before it hit her. Ho-hum you say. That’s not a very good story. It would be better if it hit her. Then the author could go on to describe the impact: blood, broken bones, gore, and a scatter of screeching metal wrapped around an acute case of guilt and, for modern readers, post-traumatic stress disorder.
The car and roads had sensors. It carried passengers but was driverless. Jump forward in time and we have Google-driverless cars. They’re too modern for the road.
Even Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang had a driver, but it had wings to help out the driver in a tight scrape. The prototype Slovakian flying car unveiled last week in Vienna has a flight range of several hundred miles and an average ground speed of 125 mph. You can imagine the postmodern signs outside school gates: ‘Using the school football pitch as a runway is both stupid and selfish.’ Try and decipher that.