A Vast Wasteland Revisited”: A Berkman Center discussion on the state of  television and media » Nieman Journalism Lab

We don’t know when it is, we don’t know where we are since we’re still learning about this place we walked out into. Hell, we didn’t even know how to read and write until the old stranger came and informed us of what had happened, and why.

The Ancients burned the earth, or at least that’s what we believe. He told us that there was something called a war out in the lands beyond our big cave home, a conflict, a disagreement, I don’t know. He used a lot of big words that we hadn’t learned yet, but I remember that eventually we got the point. The Ancients had ruined the world for the rest of us, they were the ones that had tucked us away, to hope for something better that might come along. They were hoping for us to be the future I guess. It would have been nice for them to leave us something to learn from, a book like the stranger spoke about, or a story of some sort. All we’d known at that point was what the broken word-thing had been telling us since we were younger, babies actually.

When we were younger there were still people to take care of us, to give us food and clean us up when we needed it. There were a lot of us to start with, but after learning my numbers, thanks to the stranger, there are only five of us now, five uneducated dummies left in a world that looks like a burned piece of toast and has stuff we’ve never seen lying around all over the place. We’ve even seen what the old man called a ‘skeleton’, a pile of different-sized things we all have inside of us apparently. Nuh-uh, she’s my favorite of those that are left, didn’t want to believe it, but I saw that she did anyway.

It’s hard being out in the world we were told so little about, especially since the stranger who tried to teach us stopped breathing a while ago. I listened for the thumping sound in his chest for a while, but it didn’t come anymore, and I learned what that means. He didn’t work anymore, kind of like the stupid word-thing that used to teach us stuff when we were still little. Sometimes I wish I could say that we just forgot about the world around us, that we knew more about it than we really do, because saying we forgot would mean that we’d known something about it, and maybe it would just come back to us.

But we don’t know anything, and that’s even worse.

(to be continued)

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