Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chauvinism for sissies
Booze and smokes split the atom and conquered the moon. Beatnik drugs are responsible for cultural innovations such as teaching second-graders how to put a condom on a banana.
Taki’s Scott Locklin watches ‘Mad Men’ which I’ve not seen but considering how much I like this show I’d like to, just to compare.
One of those historical TV shows which is pleasant to look at, but has almost no historical verity to it.

Everyone on this show sports an accent that didn’t exist until around 1980.
I can imagine: young people in historical fancy dress talking like Valley Girls and dudes.
People were more refined in 1961 than they are now, just as they were more refined in sartorial style. People had good manners in the old days. It was considered important.

Does anyone actually think professions such as “life coach” or “diversity officer” or even “C++ programmer” won’t seem absurd and dated 50 years from now? I suppose there are a lot of modern Panglossians who think they are living in some sort of high era of moral and intellectual sophistication — “the best of all possible worlds,” rather than a shabby age of cultural decline. Such people will find a lot to feel smug about in watching “Mad Men.” The reason modern SWPLers are able to experience this smugness is the very definition of cultural decline: they never spoke to their grandparents about the way things actually were in the old days.

Real beatniks made the imaginary misogyny of “Mad Men” seem like small beer.

While the cultural revolution of the 1960s claims to have freed women from the sexist chains of their evil white male overlords, women are now “free” ... well, to work unpleasant office jobs and to be chased down like pieces of meat.

Certainly women didn’t have the bludgeon of political correctness in those days. They were also generally expected to eventually quit work to raise a family. In normal societies where people get married and reproduce themselves without requiring the intervention of trillion-dollar social-engineering programs, this is how things generally function. Yet, women were measurably happier.
The woman who gave me my break in the newspaper business was a national news reporter from this period who indeed dropped out for a time to raise a family.
Modern people have certainly developed a similarly byzantine set of status rules for “polite society” to replace the antiquated WASP folkways of fair play and avuncular good manners. Really, we’ve replaced all the outdated cultural totems of 1961. Instead of valuing sexual fidelity, we sort our recyclables. Instead of general consideration for the feelings of others, we have developed a sort of Kabuki theater of politically correct groveling. Rather than fly-fishing, sailing and hunting, the modern upper middle class goes on ecological vacations to third-world hellholes to marinate in their superior state of moral consciousness. Upper middle-class sanctimony is now generally directed at people who drive large cars, or who make “insensitive” jokes, rather than the old WASP vilification of people who abandon their families, or who cheat and steal. Being rude and egotistical is now considered “being yourself.”

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