I found myself watching 42 last night. I love sports movies, and it's one of my favorite.
I enjoy the movie for the sports. I enjoy the movie for the history. Most of all, I enjoy the movie for demonstrating just how quickly the world around us can change and put the "facts" of yesterday thoroughly into the realm of fiction.
Most telling of all is the attitudes of some of the film's characters. On the one hand, laughable because of the ridiculous nature of their conversations. On the other hand, horrible because you realize this is a story rooted in historical fact - people did once say those exact things and feel that way.
With various political debates going on today, and different people coming down hard on opposing sides of certain issues, I can't help but wonder how history will look at us. Will they record historical films and find our contemporary discussions and fears laughable? Will our attitudes and opinions come across as horrific?
In 42, the cultural shifts around baseball are purported to happen quickly (after all, there's a lot of ground to make up in a 2-hour movie). In reality, I know many of these debates and arguments are alive and still as heated as they were in 1947. With almost 70 years of perspective, we still haven't managed to get past ourselves to look at the big picture.
While parts of the world shifted very suddenly, other parts were firm in holding their position. They've done so for the better part of a century - what will things look like in another 70 years though? As I watched the film I found two thoughts running simultaneously through my head:
"Wow, I can't believe things were really that bad."
"Wow, I can't believe it's been this long and we still haven't moved past this problem."
It makes me wonder whether we've really changed at all, whether or not we can change in the first place, and what those on the outside looking in will think of our capability to change.