Like many parts of the Midwest, Detroit has been suffering from unusually strong winds in the past few days and now it has created a massive power failure. As we groped our way through the dark last night before going to bed at nine, I was struck by how dependent modern society is on electricity and how quickly we would lose that which we take for granted on a daily basis. I was reminded of an incident a few years ago when a polar vortex prevented deliveries to our local supermarket. Supplies started to run out quickly. These are only temporary problems, but not long ago this was how people lived.
A few years ago, "Downton Abbey" and "The Walking Dead" competed for viewers on Sunday nights by basically delivering the same thing: an escape fantasy. "Really?" you ask. "A zombie apocalypse is an escape fantasy?" Yes, it is. The fantasy is one of forced simplicity. You don't have to worry about your kid getting into the right college, only about him not getting eaten by a ghoul. And "Downton Abbey," of course, offered a pleasant past, one more sanitized than reality.
Neither fantasy would probably prove enjoyable for most people. Yet, we continue to dream and disparage what we view as the curses of modernity, such as automobiles. Wouldn't it be better if everybody took street cars instead? No, not really.