Camille Paglia on Apollonian vs. Dionysian times
Here is a recent op-ed of hers ostensibly about a drug that would increase a woman's sex drive, but really more about how shriveled up the culture has been for the past 20 years compared to the libidinous era of the '60s through the '80s. The theme is a familiar one here, but she doesn't connect it to the crime rate, which it matches perfectly (including the contrast between the high-crime Jazz Age and safe, priggish 1950s).
Unless you pay attention to the crime rate (as a proxy for the level of violence, which is how people gauge how risky the world is), you won't be able to explain why the past 20 years have been so flaccid:
Nor are husbands offering much stimulation in the male display department: visually, American men remain perpetual boys, as shown by the bulky T-shirts, loose shorts and sneakers they wear from preschool through midlife.
Well the average male offered no better visually from the Summer of Love through Studio 54 through arena rock concerts, yet girls were still boy-crazy.
And why has rock music been so bland during the same time period?
But with the huge commercial success of rock, the blues receded as a direct influence on young musicians, who simply imitated the white guitar gods without exploring their roots.
But why did this fading of the blues influence only become dooming during the early 1990s rather than the 1980s or 1970s or the 2000s? And why did blues die out as an influence in black music? That can't be attributed to imitating white guitar gods. Same goes for R&B generally -- it's been as boring as rock has, and the timing is the same. Still, even if her explanations don't work, I'm glad that there is a growing awareness of how unique the '60s - '80s period was, that the initial Gen X caricature of the '80s is officially dead -- Paglia even gives props to Belinda Carlisle -- and that the desperate attempts to make the '90s look cool are quickly unraveling.