Artists would be doing Americans a service by telling these stories again. Ernest Hemingway called those who came of age during the Great War “the Lost Generation”—not because they have been forgotten, but because they felt adrift after the social, spiritual, and historical rupture they’d endured. Today, for every brilliant leap forward in technology, a new and brutal development seems to announce itself. In the hands of groups like the Islamic State, media itself has been made a weapon of terror; innovation, as it did during WWI, harms as much as it helps. In the 1920s, the Lost Generation sought relief in decadence and meaning in fascism; they also tried to recapture in art the humanity that failed them during the war. We’re both the inheritors of this period and, perhaps, the prologue to a similar cultural moment. One hundred years later, we might see our way clearly to alternatives the more we sit with our relevant past.
Pacific Standard, June 27, 2017