A recent spate of attacks on Joe Biden for being a handsy creeper has failed to derail his presidential bid even slightly. Lest you think that's only due to his Establishment credentials, earlier in the year when Bernie announced his bid, they tried these attacks against him as well, referring to the work climate of his campaign in 2016 -- but they accomplished nothing, and are already forgotten.
No doubt these attacks will continue throughout the year, showing that there's still a bit more life left in the #MeToo movement, but not much. Contrast with the figures large and small, Establishment and otherwise, who were taken down over the last several years -- Trump (pussygate), Hollywood mega-mogul Harvey Weinstein, SNL alum and senator Al Franken, "Civil Rights icon" Congressman John Conyers, and so on and so forth. On the Right, Bill O'Reilly got canned, while Tucker has survived the 2019 attacks.
The stalling out of MeToo reflects the ending of the vulnerable phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, as people are pretty close to getting back to baseline energy levels, after suffering in the refractory period since 2015. Each of the phases lasts 5 years, so we're on the last one for this phase.
In an earlier post, I detailed the history of feminism over the course of multiple excitement cycles, showing how the concerns and attitudes regularly repeat during each of the phases. During the manic, invincible phase, feminism is exhibitionistic, sex-positive, and agency-granting toward women. When excitement levels collapse during the vulnerable phase, feminism focuses on victimhood, feels like all sexuality is rape-y, and denies women agency. Finally when their levels restore to baseline during the restless, warm-up phase, they're in between -- done with victimhood, but not yet so exhibitionistic, more like coming out of their shell, getting flirty and feisty, and getting to know the opposite sex all over again.
During the Kavanaugh hearings, I noted how the Slutwalk-era feminists were ignoring the MeToo hysteria over the supposed rapist-nominee, since the "you go girl" feminists of the early 2010s wanted no part of a narrative about how powerless women were, how they need rescuing from the big scary men, and the overall tone of sex as dangerous rather than liberating. But during that height of MeToo, they were in the distinct minority, a shrinking holdover from the ever-receding world of Slutwalk and the No Pants Subway Ride.
The Kavanaugh hearings were so over-the-top hysterical, that they forced people's vulnerable feelings to hit rock bottom. After that, they can only drift upwards toward a normal baseline, and we're in the process of that already.
We've seen similar rock-bottom moments for other moral panics of this vulnerable period, which seems to give rise to them in all sorts of domains, not just dating-and-mating. The peaks of moral panics striking during the vulnerable phase of the
cycle is a topic for another more detailed historical post, though.
The whole Alt-Right / white supremacy / everyone's a Nazi panic began during the 2015-16 election season, and hit rock bottom with the media hoax against the Covington high school kids. Whining about everyone and everything being racist is only going to get more tiresome during the remainder of this year, and although that may not keep some from beating a dead horse in 2020, it will not result in the hysterical panics that we've had to suffer through since 2015.
Then there was the whole "Russia's working to undo America" hysteria, and that hit rock bottom when the Mueller report's findings were announced. More accurately, it "is hitting" rock bottom, since it'll take some time for the "full report" to come out, etc etc etc., but it's basically done. Again, some fools may run with it in 2020, but it will not resonate like it has since 2016.
As people stop feeling so vulnerable -- so sensitive to external stimulation that everyone else is somehow victimizing them just by existing -- they won't be so susceptible to these hysterical panics anymore, or at least for the next 10 years (two phases of the cycle, until the next vulnerable phase hits around 2030).
In the meantime, we can look forward to a new restless warm-up phase beginning around next year. The last time we were in that phase was 2005-09, after the early 2000s vulnerable phase of Law & Order: SVU, emo music, the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, 9/11, the Valerie Plame affair, and "everyone who voted for Bushitler is a Nazi".
In contrast to the first half of the 2000s, the second half was way more do-whatever, anything goes, hold nothing sacred or taboo, experiment, play around, and don't give a fuck. Raunchy anarchic Family Guy humor came into the mainstream after being an obscure cult hit during the early 2000s, the Game / Pickup Artist phenomenon showed that people didn't feel sex was icky or dangerous, American Apparel ads, pop music got more flirtatious instead of distancing, young people began packing dance clubs as a neo-disco atmosphere took over, and the Left stopped taking itself so seriously and moralistically, as shown by the viral hit site Stuff White People Like (which ended, fittingly enough, in 2010, as the manic phase replaced the warm-up phase).
It may not feel like it right now, but before you know it, there will be no more "Girls Like You" and "Happier" songs on the radio, but flippant and decadent indie hits just like the last time around: