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That was once true. While the old 19th-century order carried on as if nothing could change, artists, including fashion designers, somehow anticipated the chaos that was coming in their work. Can they still do that?
A summary of Themes in George Orwell's 1984
There is another problem. “Fractured Times” is not a fully worked book but a collection of essays from the 1960s on. I wish Hobsbawm had found the time to reconsider some of his judgments before he died. He repeats his beautifully nonchalant line, “Why brilliant fashion designers, a notoriously nonanalytic breed, sometimes succeed in anticipating the shape of things to come better than professional predictors, remains one of the most obscure questions in history.”
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Yet regret at the passing of his certainties still lingers. Writing the introduction just before he died, Hobsbawm says he was, “looking forward with more troubled perplexity than I recall in a long lifetime, guideless and mapless, to an unrecognizable future.”
Book Review: Inadequate Equilibria | Slate Star Codex
Really? The world is more troubled now than during the battles between dictators of the 1930s and 1940s? Or during the “mutually assured destruction” of the cold war? I do not think that this is just the pessimism that comes with age.
Euphemism Examples and Definition - Literary Devices
American economist Brad de Long was the first to notice that for as long as the Soviet Union survived, Hobsbawm believed that humanity was progressing in some form, as a Marxist should. Once it was gone, despair engulfed his writing. This rings true. My grandfather was Hobsbawm’s mentor in the British Communist party. He died before the Soviet Union did, but I noticed that his friends gave up once it had gone.