June 14, 2011

I love my dead gay she-blogger

As Jim Goad details over at Taki's Magazine, the Syrian lesbian martyr-blogger put-on is just the latest in an ongoing series of homosexual hoaxes that the elite have eagerly eaten up and swallowed whole. (Even as I write this entry, news breaks that another member of the Lesbian Blogger Hall of Fame is actually a middle-aged guy as well.) And of course it doesn't end with the gays, as there's been a string of race-based hoaxes as well, most notably the elite witch hunt of white lacrosse players at Duke after a crazy black stripper accused them of rape.

Conservatives with no memory will attribute these shenanigans to the legacy of the '60s, but in fact they are entirely a product of the past 15-20 years, the era of political correctness, identity politics, and so on. Earlier I explained what The Sixties was about and was not about, and identity politics played little role. It was only in the early '90s that it broke through into the mainstream. See the footnote for a summary. * The reason there was no series of hoaxes like this back in the '60s is that they had real problems to point to -- the War in Vietnam, the Kent State shootings, assassinations of public figures, and so on.

Not that rising-crime times did not produce its own warnings and panics about imminent demise, preached by its own brand of false Messiahs. However, at least it was largely religious in character, it did focus on a real problem -- what seemed to be a more and more chaotic world -- and when the hucksters were found out (such as when Jim Jones lead a mass murder / suicide in Jonestown), the rest of society learned to not be so naive toward such movements.

In falling-crime times, though, the moral panics are about as profane and trivial as you can get -- omg someone left HATE SPEECH on my dorm room whiteboard!!! -- the signs that are supposed to trouble us turn out to be fake, and the whole of society keeps turning a blind eye to each case of fraud, never remembering for next time. If in fact the average person had a memory for this stuff and a healthy dose of skepticism, the media could not continue parroting each round of ridiculous claims. Hogwash can only be sold wholesale to a public that has so sheltered itself from reality that it cannot immediately tell that the story must be bogus.

Most conservatives would like to portray the people as helpless victims, dupes of the media-with-an-agenda age that has landed from outer space to colonize the outclassed Earthlings. Sorry, but the elite media can only brainwash a mind that has grown weak from a lack of engagement with the real world, just as a tiny army can only conquer a large nation whose bonds of cohesion have already dissolved and where apathy already reigns.

So we see yet another class of examples where falling-crime times turn people more hopelessly naive, for want of exposure to real life as they hide in safety, unaware of how sick people can be. Rising-crime times make people lead more risky lives but with a more cautious and alert mindset. It sounds paradoxical -- riskier and more cautious -- but our minds become more alert in response to a riskier way of life, excepting the truly pathological junkie cases.

Folks in the era of helicopter parents should not pride themselves on being wise and cautious, unlike those clueless and reckless people from the good ol' days, because a person can only be said to exercise caution when they either are or are tempted to act in a somewhat risky way. "Be cautious when walking alone at night," or "Be cautious when crossing a busy street in the dark" -- not "Be cautious when taking a nap," or "Be cautious when leveling up your Pokemon characters."

* The culture war of The Sixties was mostly about ending the Vietnam War -- do they even teach that in school anymore, or is there no time left after studying the Stonewall Riots? -- stopping imperialist foreign policy in general, smashing capitalism, and forcing the rulers to uphold the civil rights of the citizens. In the protesters' view, these rights were being denied on the basis of race, sex, and age (again, the youth/student rights movement seems to have vanished down the memory hole, impossible as it is to believe, but then they're not a protected minority). Still, it was all about the elite rulers and the ruled masses.

In total contrast, the culture war that erupted in the early-mid 1990s was not about a corrupt government, but a more pervasive and insidious fog of racism, sexism, and homophobia that had knocked out the brains of the ordinary people at the grassroots level. The "politics of race" was not about some handful of government employees with firehoses trained on blacks, but about white privilege and the racist consciousness of the vast majority of everyday white people. The "politics of gender" was not about a small number of executives paying women however-many cents to the dollar they paid men, or a cabal of politicians trying to prevent legal access to abortion, but about male privilege and the sexist consciousness of just about every guy you run into in daily life -- given the right opportunity, none would hesitate to date-rape you. And the same goes for the gay agenda, whose action was not directed just at the powerful but at the masses in need of re-education.

So, the '60s culture war saw the power structure as concentrated at the top of society, which emphasizes cohesion among the bulk of the population below -- The Establishment is out to screw us all. The '90s culture war saw the power structure as broadly and deeply distributed across all individuals, which leads to social disintegration as the anxious groups split off from the suspect groups (blacks from whites, women from men, etc.).


  1. Reminds me of a time in the 90's back at Brown when my Classics Professor accidentally said the word "Judeo-Christian", to which a student responded, "Please don't insult my heritage by associating it with Christianity."

  2. The anti-war movement has been central to most accounts of The Sixties I've heard. The image of hippies spitting on returning soldiers may even be more salient now than in the past.

    In the sixties there was black power, black pride, black nationalism, so I'd definitely say there was identity politics. And it wasn't simply directed at government witholding their rights, the civil rights act restricted private actors which is why Barry Goldwater voted against it. MLK didn't want to overthrow capitalism, he was basically a liberal welfare statist. Jane Alpert and Valeria Solanas certainly thought there was oppositional identity politics between men and women before the decline in crime. The BBC 4 series "Lefties" (which I believe all takes place during the Thatcher era) had an episode "Angry Wimmin" on that stuff (some of the other two in the series featured similar identity politics divisions within the left of that time which it implies helped to marginalize it).

    The framing of a decade as being "about" something sits ill with me. Stuff happens and afterword we try to fit it into a narrative framework involving some purpose which makes sense of it all, but that's a story we try to push rather than reality.

    Anonymous, Razib would agree on the silliness of that phrase.

  3. Black power was a fringe thing, although highly visible. The bulk of the civil rights movement was only about civil rights. Also note the lack of identity politics from other ethnic groups -- again, not some fringe, but anything visible. Probably the most visible were Puerto Rican nationalists, but that was good old fashioned nationalism.

    In comparison to these fringe groups, it was the mainstream in the early '90s culture war that brought up these topics. During the Rodney King riots, they were angry at all white people -- the entire system of white oppression, in their view, not just the cops.

    The movie Higher Learning sums this up pretty well -- even the harmless white kid from a good neighborhood can turn into a fanatic Nazi.

    There were identity politics divisions in the New Left -- that's how 2nd wave feminism was born -- but again that was totally marginal. The women's movement was about rape crisis shelters, abortion, the ERA, equal pay, etc., not the Society to Cut Up Men.

    The decade of the 1960s is different from The Sixties, which I try to distinguish by spelling it out like that. The Sixties lasted from roughly 1967 to 1973.

  4. Yeah, as the overton window shifts what was once a marginal viewpoint becomes mainstream.


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