At my advanced age (even allowing for the likelihood that my age is the new ten years younger), this can look a little odd. A friend, a woman of roughly the same age as me, was describing a recent (perhaps current) case in which an elderly entertainer was being prosecuted for an (alleged) offence that amounted (my friend said) to putting a hand on the leg of a younger person. Now, we're all good at jumping to conclusions these days, so I needn't spell out that the elderly entertainer is male, although perhaps I should say that the younger person is female. My friend's point was that the alleged offence didn't seem to merit the attention it was getting.
My friend and I are the new young, or perhaps the new middle-aged, and there is a long tradition of "in my day" views expressed by "you're not old!" people like us. But we talked more about the inflexibility of belief these days. Admittedly, we talked a little about that young scamp who's taken the White House and caused such a ruckus. And a little about the likely professional life of that elderly entertainer in his prime - performing in crowded studios, probably jostled by youngsters only too keen to get their hands on him and vice-versa. We did talk, at some length, about prosecuting the crimes of the past as a cheaper and easier alternative to investigating today's crimes for cash-strapped police forces.
There's a moral hazard, we decided. But mostly, we talked about certainty. About how the now-rejected liberalism of the recent past can see no alternative - apparently asking "why can't they see we're right?" rather than "where did we go wrong?" - and about how much of the world believes in a world different from ours. And yet we stay rigid in our beliefs. We talked about how quickly and completely beliefs and morals, and attitudes change from generation to generation,
Somewhere in this house, probably in a box, I have a mass-market paperback copy of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. There have been films, plays, television, radio dramas. It's a popular book. Story, anyway. My paperback, mass-market, popular, probably a bestseller, was published in the seventies, around the time the Apollo programme was shuttling people to the moon and back. Published in the seventies, not so long ago, under its original title.