Musings from the Bunker 3/26/21
My mother was a great mix of sophistication and naivete. To her, she couldn’t quite understand why people didn’t appreciate symphony and theatre as much as she did. She couldn’t grasp the attraction of much rock and roll (although she definitely appreciated the musical talents of Steely Dan and Chicago). And she always seemed surprised when people didn’t behave to her standards. She was never able to grasp that people didn’t always do the right thing, nearly always opting to do what was in their best interest.
THE ANAHEIM BOWL
A funny story really encapsulates how my mother could reach a conclusion based upon her expectation rather than a more realistic representation of the world. My father loved to tell of her first visit to Anaheim. Obviously, this “New York girl” was concerned about moving to a suburb of Los Angeles, not yet the metropolis it is today. They drove past a place called the “Anaheim Bowl.” She remarked, “well, this place has more culture than I expected—look, they have the Anaheim Bowl.” My father laughed out loud each time he told this story, “Jessica, that’s not the local version of the Hollywood Bowl. That’s a bowling alley…” These were the days of bowling (and not alone). Within a mile or so of our home were also the Wonder Bowl and the Linbrook Bowl (the portmanteau of Lincoln and Brookhurst Avenues). Not only were leagues popular among many adults, but the bowling alleys were regular destinations for youth groups, clubs and group dates. FOCUS ON H.W. BRANDS AND HISTORY More H.W. Brands. I recommend wo additional books by H.W. Brands, both about great states, each of which began as an independent nation (in California’s case for only a bit…), that continue to lead the nation in so many ways—good and bad:
The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream
Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence
IS ANYTHING REAL? We are all familiar with those old sepia-colored photographs that stand in silent recognition of days gone by in the 19th century and early 20th century. When I look at photographs of distant ancestors, names nearly lost to history, and photos of the great and near-great, I wonder what it would be like to see them while alive—to experience them smiling, talking, laughing. There now is a program that purports to do just that. Called “Deep Nostalgia,” t is one of the natural byproducts of the “deep fake,” the ability to manipulate a computer-based image into nearly anything a person wants. In this instance, it is the relatively benign “reanimation” of those long gone. The program advertises that you can upload a picture and animate the person. Eventually, the ability to manipulate images will be part-and-parcel part of the Internet experience. We no longer will be able to trust images we see or even moving images and speeches that purport to be people we know. People will be “animated” to do whatever the manipulator chooses. As frightening as this breakthrough is, even the benign breakthrough of animating faces from bygone years is just as creepy, if not as insidious. I marvel at the ability to see Oscar Wilde, Abraham Lincoln or Albert Einstein “in the flesh” and smiling back at me, head turning right and left. But it is altogether unnatural and at some level deeply disturbing. It is good enough to see my great-grandparents in a photograph. It is something cheesy and inappropriate to “steal” their essence by animating them—not as they were but as a computer program imagines them to have been. See if you agree. https://www.deseret.com/faith/2021/3/3/22311446/new-photo-animation-technology-bringing-abraham-lincoln-einstein-others-life-myheritage-rootstech Best regards, Glenn