I was upstairs in my office last night thinking about today’s first post when I overheard some very familiar dialogue from the TV.
It was the scene where Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are arguing. The music that crept up the stairs—a refrain from “As Time Goes By”—the snatches of dialogue—were a dead giveaway. It was Casablanca, no other. I’ve seen the movie easily a dozen times, and it takes very little to remind me of the scenes.
There is the moment when the Nazis come into Rick’s Cafe, get drunk, and start to sing the German national anthem. Rick and the French then stand and try to drown them out singing the anthem of France.
There is the “…we’ll always have paris…” line. There is the scene when Rick gives up his “letters of transit” so she and Victor, her freedom fighter lover can get away from the Germans. A classic. Oh, and then that magical moment when the French Captain Renault lets the Germans know that some of their men have been killed, and says, “…round up the usual suspects.”
And then I remember the scene where Rick and Lisa talk about how wrong it is to pirate DVD’s… And everything screeches to a halt.
Two cultures collided, and wreckage ensues.
You see, there is a whole generation of kids who will only know that movie as the weird black and white “anti-piracy” commercial that shows up on some DVDs. The movie will be a non-starter for them.
Today’s Writer’s Challenge is to look for pieces of the culture you grew up with that have been changed by movies, books, television… and especially radio and TV commercials. Try to pinpoint a place in your personal history where one thing, something that was of daily understanding for you, transformed into something else, something that the next generation would miss—perhaps, altogether.
Why do this? Understanding how and when a culture changes is a powerful and valuable realization, one that belongs in your Writer’s Bag O’ Tricks.
Here’s looking at you, kid.