If we think the present is wrong, we want the past to have been right, and to have existed in an eternal, unchanging state of rightness. But just as U2’s falling sales are the result (at least in part) of having been released in the MP3 era, Cole Porter’s success was equally as much the result of his unique historical circumstances. His success on Broadway was only possible because of the mass urbanization that had taken place in America over the last 50 years. The success of his songs independent of the stage relied on two inventions only recently popularized: radio and recorded music. Had Porter been working 20 years earlier, he would have had to rely on sheet music and home pianos for his music to spread, and would have consequently composed in a different way—and, presumably, a less successful one. We are all the product of historical circumstance, and while it is important to recognize the ways in which the present moment is different from those that came before, we have only two options for how to deal with these changes: adapt our own behavior to the new environment, or work to push through changes that will bring about some other new, more beneficial context. But there is no going back; culture is, as statisticians say, path-dependent, always determined by what came before. To pretend otherwise is de-plorable.