Benefits of dating in the twentieth century
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Europe has been a place of battles and political intrigue for centuries.
It was all about getting cleaner, neater or faster.“Go Slow” might have a whiff of Sixties industrial inaction to it, but it also has a keen sense of the future. The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.How will the story stack up against the greatest films about business?Even flight had been known to mythology’s Icarus and the Montgolfier brothers in the 18th century.Contracting time and space with the help of sophisticated machinery was a fundamental part of the Modernist project.But in our busy world we want things to be under control.
True, there is a sense that doing things fast means having to get them right first time, but it would be impossible to argue that the speedy facility of Twitter encourages literacy or profundity.Petrini has described his philosophy, which mixes passion with fastidiousness: “Only two things,” he says, “are necessary to the continuation of human life. Each is best done slowly.” There is always a trade-off between speed and quality.The great New Yorker journalist A J Liebling said: “I can write faster than anyone who can write better than me and better than anyone who can write faster than me.” And in the spirit that nothing is more vulgar than haste, Nancy Mitford refused to use air mail because it suggested an unseemly urgency.Thus, mid‑century, we had streamlined fridges, as if a piece of kitchen equipment needed the aerodynamic potential to fly through the air with least resistance. And we had supersonic Concorde, the ultimate expression of the fallacies of speed.Sitting there with a glass of Bordeaux and a sublime view of the curvature of the Earth under a purple heaven, you wanted the experience to go on for ever, and it was a bitter disappointment to arrive in New York so quickly. Huxley’s view of speed identifies him as a Modern Man, and nowadays few things seem so dated. It is a notable paradox that people who own very fast cars rarely drive them quickly.The novelist had said that nothing could be more absurd than to die in a car crash, and this was exactly so.