As I contemplate reviving my old podcast Uncle Warren’s Attic, I’m thinking of using a standard introduction that riffs off a piece I wrote many years ago:
I like old stuff.
The aroma of old paper and long-dried ink.
The scratches and pops that accompany a long beloved and cherished recording.
The pain-staking, jerky movement of models animated by stop-motion photography.
The expressive pantomime of an actor before microphones were invented.
The mind images painted by the actor who has only a microphone.
The earliest efforts to combine the two forms of film, silent and talkie.
The analog before the digital.
The carving of David from the stone using only hand tools.
Communicating over the miles with only paper and ink and willing couriers.
The power of words and the urgency to convey messages over the miles – over the years: We know 1535 better than we know 1286 because we learned how to leverage and preserve words better.
Paper has, so far, outlasted pixels. Vinyl has outlasted magnetic tape and the tracks of compact disc. Electronic devices preserve with great efficiency and searchability but then become obsolete. The old records have survived a century; the old books have survived for centuries.
The words and voices and songs of the long dead are still alive, and not just in the memories of the living – their words and music survive the next generation and the generation after that.