In his novel
"Timeline", Michael Crichton has one
of his characters saying:
"Today, everybody expects to be
entertained, and they expect to be
entertained all the time. Business
meetings must be snappy, with bullet
lists and animated graphics, so
executives aren't bored. Malls and
stores must be engaging, so they amuse
as well as sell us. Politicians must
have pleasing video personalities and
tell us only what we want to hear.
Schools must be careful not to bore
young minds that expect the speed and
complexity of television.
Sooner or later, the artifice of
entertainment - constant, ceaseless
entertainment - will drive people to
seek authenticity. Authenticity will
be the buzzword of the twenty-first
century. And what is authentic?
Anything that is not controlled by
corporations. Anything that is not
devised and structured to make a
profit. Anything that exists for its
own sake, that assumes its own shape.
And what is the most authentic of all?
The past is a world that already
existed before Disney and Murdoch and
British Telecom and Nissan and Sony
and IBM and all the other shapers of
the present. The past was here before
they were. The past rose and fell
without their intrusion and molding.
The past is real. It's authentic. And
this will make the past unbelievably
attractive. Because the past is the
only alternative to the corporate
What will people do? They are
already doing it. The fastest-growing
segment of travel today is cultural
tourism. People who want to visit not
other places, but other times. People
who want to immerse themselves in
medieval walled cities, in vast
Buddhist temples, Mayan pyramid
cities, Egyptian necropolises. People
who want to walk and be in the world
of the past. The vanished world.
And they don't want it to be fake.
They don't want it to be made pretty,
or cleaned up. They want it to be