June 1st, 2006


The New Dickensians

I once joked, back when I was working insane hours for a fiend of a boss, that we were the New Dickensians. But now I reflect on the fact that I know an awful lot of New Dickensians, people who have been marginalized by the way life runs in 21st Century America. People who worked in tech who now live with their parents, because they have lost jobs and never regained them. People who were reasonably successful in their lives in some previous era, and now are surfing the margins of survival. They crash and burn, they excavate out, but not very far, etc. I know too many people who fit that mold.

And it struck me: this is the sort of stuff Dickens wrote about. People in his era ended up in debtor's prison (like he did), or living on the streets, or somehow eking out a marginal existance. But sometimes they managed to pull themselves out of it. Was it ever any different? Is it just that, in our present materialist society, where every medium urges us to spend, spend, spend, and accumulate "wealth" and material goods, the contrast, when things go wrong, is so noticable?
  • Current Mood
    contemplative analyzing the system