The Best of Times: Weekend Contest Winners

 

MaliWell, I enjoyed that contest: spending a weekend thinking about human contentment was much more agreeable than thinking about current affairs. I hope that discussion was just as pleasant for you. I appreciated all of your comments and thoughts, especially about the 1980s, which of course is the only one of these periods I remember personally.

paleoOnly three Ricochet members technically adhered to the rules of the game. (I’m beginning to realize that Ricochet just doesn’t like rules. Okay! We don’t have to have rules anymore. This isn’t boot camp.)

But let me acknowledge those who did follow the rules.

edo-1The candidates for the Ricochet Glory Trophy are John H, who made the case for 14th Century Mali; American Abroad, who submitted a spirited defense of the very late Paleolithic; and Pencilvania, who argued for turn-of-the-century Sweden. I was very intrigued by the suggestion of the Tokugawa Shogunate — nominated by Mugwump and Matthew Gilley alike — but alas, these entries were unsupported by evidence in the form of the pleasant artifacts of the period. (Not that one cannot find it by Googling it — the evidence is ample — but rules are rules.)

Among these, the entry that in my view most wistfully and lovingly evoked the contented lifestyle of a bygone age would be Pencilvania’s. The Sweden of Carl Larsson’s illustrations certainly does look like a tranquil and civilized place, doesn’t it?

Was it really? I don’t know. I don’t know the first thing about turn-of-the-century Sweden, to be honest. But it was certainly nice to imagine it during the few minutes I spend perusing those illustrations.

Congratulations, Pencilvania: You are the winner of this handsome image of a trophy!

Trophy

 

There are 8 comments.

  1. Pencilvania Inactive

    Thank you, Claire!
    I enjoyed reading the other comments too. Certainly there were hardships among all these eras, and we’re fortunate we have the modern comforts and leisure now to look back at them and contemplate their happiness. 
    Now, I have to go build a virtual trophy case!

    • #1
    • September 3, 2014, at 6:06 AM PDT
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  2. Jason Rudert Member

    I guess I would have been more cooperative, and less flippant, if I’d known you were actually to hand out a trophy. Maybe next weekend…

    • #2
    • September 3, 2014, at 6:30 AM PDT
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  3. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Pencilvania:

    Thank you, Claire! I enjoyed reading the other comments too. Certainly there were hardships among all these eras, and we’re fortunate we have the modern comforts and leisure now to look back at them and contemplate their happiness. Now, I have to go build a virtual trophy case!

    My only concern about Sweden, I have to confess, is that I can’t deep-down convince myself that people can be happy in that climate, no matter what their social, political and cultural arrangements. Perhaps pure projection on my part, but even in the painting above–obviously of high summer–I notice the eerie pallor of the light and think, “That’s just not compatible with contentment.” Summer mania, maybe … but a stable mood year round? I have my doubts.

    • #3
    • September 3, 2014, at 6:57 AM PDT
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  4. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive

    Claire, an argument from personal incredulity!?

    It’s funny, isn’t it, how you don’t know what you don’t know. When the Great Blizzard of 1978 happened and there were six-foot snow drifts around my family’s southern Indiana home, we dug out and the snow angels we made were… uh… especially voluptuous. It didn’t occur to us to leave (well, at least it didn’t occur to me, and my parents are made of sterner stuff).

    Besides, inclement weather is great for the conservative character. By contrast, I give you the governments of… every tropical paradise on the planet.

    • #4
    • September 3, 2014, at 7:29 AM PDT
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  5. Pencilvania Inactive

    Hmm, and as someone commented on the OP, about 1/3 of Sweden’s population left the country around that time, perhaps because of those winters – many, I’m sure, settling in Minnesota.

    • #5
    • September 3, 2014, at 7:43 AM PDT
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  6. David Foster Member

    I know very little about Swedish history. The movie “Pelle the Conqueror,” about a Swedish boy and his father who immigrate to Denmark because of desperate poverty, gives an impression of the country which is definitely non-golden-age.

    • #6
    • September 3, 2014, at 8:56 AM PDT
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  7. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    It is fitting that a lady who makes her living from creating images, should win an image of a trophy! Congrats!

    • #7
    • September 3, 2014, at 9:00 AM PDT
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  8. Fastflyer Member

    • #8
    • September 3, 2014, at 10:08 AM PDT
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