July 31, 2022

Keep Minecraft Pre-modern

Recently, the Hololive EN streamers have visited the Minecraft world of their Hololive ID colleagues, which represents a more complex stage of civilization compared to their own — elaborate, monumental-scale railways, industrial automation, etc. This has made them more aware of the relatively primitive state of their own Hololive EN world. It has even led the keeper of Nature herself, Fauna, to talk about bringing the EN world into the era of advanced industrial civilization — crazy talk! What would the Lorax have to say about that? :)

Minecraft, for both the players and their audience, is about escape, fantasy, and returning to a less complex time and place, where coziness and playfulness replace stress, homework, and drudgery. We are surrounded IRL by advanced technology, buildings, and infrastructure — and we've never been more alienated and fragmented, behaving like joyless drones in an insect hive.

Logging into Minecraft as a player, or tuning into the stream of a player who is already there, is our relief. Not only are we experiencing a simulation of a more cozy and charming place, we're experiencing that while connected to everyone else who is plugging their brain into the empathy box for that stream.

Some players and viewers may prefer a more realistic approach to the world, but most of them prefer the fantastical and playful approach. That's how the EN world was built, and what drew in its viewers. Tree-houses, hobbit holes, ivy-covered lighthouses, playgrounds, secret underground passageways, llama stables, hand-decorated Christmas trees, and so on and so forth.

Its inhabitants built it organically from the bottom up, making it up as they went along, for their own amusement, rather than planning it from the top down, in a way that is more suited to drawing in tourists. There are so many in-jokes and idiosyncratic stories about its structures, which outsiders would not understand or appreciate. Tourists need things to be readily apparent.

So the ID server will certainly dazzle outsiders who take a tour through it, compared to outsiders touring the EN server. But if the whole point of your building the world was not to appeal to tourists, then don't worry about it. The goal was to create a world that feels cozy, comfy, and charming — and that doesn't require monumental architecture all over the place.

In fact, if your goal is to have a place where all of you can run wild, as though on a never-ending sleepover party, too much civilization would only get in the way — both as a physical obstruction after it was built, and as a huge burden of homework in order to build in the first place. Actual civilizations with massive architecture had to rely on legions of slaves to do the labor — and unless you want to become a slave yourself, it isn't worth going down that path.

If you wanted to experience a complex world, you could always visit one outside of your own (as a player or viewer). And that may be exciting as a periodic travel destination. But you will ultimately feel homesick for your cozy cottage in the countryside, and the rambunctious shenanigans of your fellow cavemen, and want to rely on that simpler, albeit more chaotic, world still being there to welcome you back home.

To that point, Gura just got gifted a massive amount of quartz as a building material. She had previously planned to build an Atlantis site in the EN world, but left it partially completed for awhile. She said it was due to lack of building material, and not wanting to turn herself into a slave and mine all of that quartz — but now she can benefit from someone else's slave-like labor that has mined more than enough quartz for multiple civilizations. Will she finally build Atlantis and bring civilization to the countryside?

I think an elaborate interconnected group of monumental structures would take away from the charm, character, and social purpose of the world that the EN girls have made over the months and years. And Lord knows our favorite hyperactive shark wouldn't have the patience to sit still and build all of that, even after already having the raw materials on hand. :)

And yet, she does have all that material now, and she did want to create something Atlantis-themed with it. But that was at the early stage of building their world, and by now it would simply not fit in as originally conceived. However, what if she made it the site of ruins from a once-awe-inspiring civilization? That would be more fitting for several reasons:

- The story of Atlantis is about a ruined civilization, not a still-thriving one, so it'd be more faithful to the source material.

- It would not require as much tiresome building, or raw materials, since you don't have to build the chunks that have gone missing after millennia of wear-and-tear on the abandoned site. You could build three ruined structures with the same amount of quartz, and labor, as one structure in pristine condition.

- It would not overshadow the rest of the EN world, or feel out of place. On the contrary, nothing could be more Medieval, Romantic, or Gothic than having the ruins of a former massive civilization lying only a few minutes away from a quaint bustling village.

I can't be the only one thinking this way, since there are YouTube tutorials for all sorts of ruined structures — here is one for an ancient Greek temple, apropos of Atlantis, but they have ruined towers, arches, statues, anything really. Some more elaborate, some more basic.

Depending on the biome type, you might not have to bother with putting grass, trees, and vines on it to create the overgrown nature effect. If it's in the middle of the sea or ocean, it wouldn't need to have that much vegetation as a jungle or forest. But it's hard to deny the charm of at least some overgrown nature on a ruined site.

One thing I didn't see on a casual look through the examples was having some of the broken-off pieces still on site, just lying around on the ground. Maybe something emo and dramatic like a broken-off head lying near the base of a statue, a la Planet of the Apes. (Server of the Monkes?)

Anyway, one approach to harmonizing the goals of building some bigger things, while also returning to nature. You all have created one of the most cozy communities, not only the environment but the social antics that take place there. And you should be proud of that. :) Keep EN Weird!

July 18, 2022

Spicy out, sour in: Lemon / citrus mania, as the 2020s revive mellow vibe of the '90s / y2k

Last week I had the most intense craving for something with a fatty richness and tangy / sour / tart kick to it as well. And then it hit me that I've been indulging in sour and citrus tastes since 2020. I was never a big sour cream person, but I've made it a staple since that year, along with tortilla chips "with a lime kick," lemon-lime seltzer, and so on and so forth.

Was it just me?

I looked around the supermarket, and there was lemon-flavored EVERYTHING, even expanding into orange-flavored versions as well. I don't ever remember seeing orange cake / loaf, but there it was -- right next to the lemon one, of course. "Lemon cake batter" cookies, "glazed lemon loaf" herbal tea, "lemon cheesecake" ice cream, Moroccan preserved lemons in the imported section (never saw them before), and on and on and on.

Thinking back on it, the "lime kick" tortilla chips were always more sold out, compared to the regular white or yellow ones. And the lemon-lime seltzer was more sold out than the other flavors. Someone noticed this huge demand for citrus, and started putting it in everything else -- and now those items are flying off the shelves as well.

It's gotten so bad that I'm going to start making my own tzatziki sauce at home, since I'm craving it like crazy in a way I never used to, and the pre-made stuff is too expensive. I'm going to be making some ground beef and rice in the crock pot, and that citrusy dairy sauce is exactly what I need for it. Just a couple years ago, it would've been more cumin-y and spicy, but now I'm leaning more on a lemon pepper spice mix, a seasoning I first bought last year and would never have considered in the 2010s.

I'm already a zealous convert of Stash's meyer lemon herbal tea (really a blend of rosehip & hibiscus with lemongrass, orange peel, citric acid and lemon oil, but the bright lemon really stands out). I'll be trying out lemon yoghurt, or maybe just add some lemon to inexpensive plain yoghurt.

And by far my favorite new go-to cologne is the '60s chypre Aramis. I was not a fan of citrus when I was buying up all sorts of late '70s and '80s colognes during the early 2010s. My fave back then would've been Kouros. But I've found myself drawn to the chypre profile now, with its citrusy top notes and mossy base notes.

Who else is on board the lemon train? Mumei mentioned buying a lemon loaf during a meet-up with her fellow Hololive streamers a few weeks ago. Thotton Mather on Twitter (now privated) has been making lemon meringue, maybe lemon curd, and even lemon & thyme ice cream! From 2020, I distinctly remember Heather Habsburg (deactivated), the 6' tall anti-woke left cottagecore lesbian aspiring tradwife, having an entire tree full of lemons that she didn't know what to do with, getting tons of eager recommendations on what to make. I don't remember hearing so many off-hand references to lemon items during the 2010s.

Now we're all on a quest -- a quest for zest.

* * *

So what's with the abrupt change? Well, first we also have to look at what is fading out, as well as what's coming in, in order to characterize the changes. The main flavor profile that used to be everywhere in the late 2000s and 2010s, but has been going out lately, is spicy. Not long ago, it was like a status contest -- who could handle the spiciest pepper, the most death-defying hot sauce, etc. It was about spiciness, and intensity.

Now, it's about tartness, but also mellowness -- we're not competing over who can handle the most mouth-puckering sour raw wild citrons. It's just, "Mmmm, I feel like a little tart in my dessert, so why not make it a lemon loaf this summer?"

What changed in 2020 was the shift from a high-energy 15-year excitement cycle (2005-'19) to a low-energy cycle (2020-'34). The 2005-'19 period was one of the most intense zeitgeists in world history, certainly since the last high-energy cycle in 1975-'89 ("the Eighties"). We're going to be dialing down the intensity for our baseline, even as the 15-year excitement cycle moves through its three phases (restless, manic, and vulnerable).

Spicy intensity easily dovetails with a high-energy period, just as a mellow tartness goes with a more laid-back period. It doesn't overload your senses, and if anything puts just a slight downer note on things -- while still making a bright and refreshing impression as well, without becoming sweet or saccharine.

You might think bitter or pungent tastes would be more up to the task, but they're too niche. Sour / tart / tangy is perfectly able to appeal to the masses, though. I'm not even sure that bitter and pungent are appropriate now, since they're pretty intense, making them more suited to a high-energy cycle -- and indeed, the late 2000s and 2010s saw a new fascination with stinky cheeses and darker and darker levels of dark chocolate.

* * *

This suggests we ought to see a similar pattern during other low-energy cycles, such as 1990-2004, 1960-'74, 1930-'44, and perhaps 1900-'14.

I'll mainly focus on the '90s and y2k period, since that is undergoing a revival right now, and is the easiest reference point for anyone reading this. But first, I noticed when browsing around that the Orange Crush drink was introduced in 1911, during a low-energy cycle. Key lime pie was invented / caught on during the '30s, a low-energy cycle. And Sunny Delight was released in the '60s, also a low-energy cycle.

Chypre perfumes and colognes were also most popular during the '60-'74 cycle, although they have existed before and since.

Looking back, there was quite a citrus craze during the '90s and y2k.

First, there was a renewed fascination with Sunny Delight / Sunny D, which was just not there during the '80s. The company officially rebranded the product as SunnyD in 2000, riding the hype train.

Then there was the revival of citrus notes in perfumes and colognes. The '90s / y2k is most known for the aquatic trend (itself part of the low-energy mellow vibe of the period), but it was just as citrus-infused. The decade-defining unisex scent, cK One, is loaded with citrus, and somewhat of a spin on the chypre concept. Acqua di Gio, notable mainly for its aquatic profile, also has a citrus-heavy opening. And the ubiquitous Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme (the first cologne I ever bought, in college during the early 2000s), is somewhat like the aromatic fougeres of the late '70s and '80s -- except it has a huge citrus blast at the outset, which did not exist in the heavier, stinkier, more animalic predecessors (other than Drakkar Noir).

U2 had a hit song / music video in 1993 called "Lemon", and there was a popular alternative band called the Lemonheads.

The pen name Lemony Snicket was used to write a popular series of children's books, A Series of Unfortunate Events, almost all of which were published from '99 to '04 (the movie adaptation was also part of the y2k era, in '04).

I'm sure there are other pop culture references to lemons from this period, and I'll add them in the comments if I come across more (or leave your own examples).

As for food, I remember eating the lemonheads candy most during the '90s, not the '80s, although it had been out for decades (beginning in the mellow cycle of the '60s). Same with Sour Patch Kids (originally called Mars Men when they debuted during a mellow cycle, in the early '70s). I have a million memories of kids junk food from the '80s, and none of them are sour.

I don't know about every food fad of the '90s and early 2000s, but by far the most trendy ethnic cuisines that took over were Eastern Mediterranean -- Greek nationwide, and Lebanese / Levantine where there were diaspora communities.

There had been Italian dressing, suddenly there had to be Greek dressing as well. Gyros, tzatziki sauce, dolmas in cans in the supermarket, mini spanakopita in the frozen section of Trader Joe's, Wendy's even debuting a line of pita / wrap sandwiches with feta cheese, and so on and so forth.

I think a key component of those flavors was citrus -- especially in the sauces, like tzatziki and hummus (which we had not tasted before the '90s), but also dolmas, since the meat and grains themselves were not novel to us. Beef / lamb, and rice? Had it already. What's special about this dish? A tangy citrusy sauce? Hmmm, not like ketchup, mustard, BBQ, hot sauce, or mayo, let's give it a try. Just what we needed during a tart-craving mellow cycle.

I also remember my mother putting lemon slices over fish in the oven, something I don't remember from the '80s, or anytime since when she has cooked.

Sprite was my junk drink of choice in the '90s, though I've never been a big sugar-water drinker, and can't really compare to what I've had in the late 2000s and 2010s. I only wanted plain carbonated water during the high-energy cycle, not one with a citrus twist. Oh, that reminds me of the iconic scene in L.A. Story (from '91), where all the yuppies are ordering their drinks "with a lemon twist".

I was not of drinking age for most of that cycle, although I do know that the mojito, with its lime kick, exploded during the early 2000s. And I remember everyone, including me, asking for a lime or lemon wedge to put in the top of a bottle of Corona beer, before turning it upside down to get some citrus into the alcohol. Perhaps that tradition goes back farther in Mexico, but it's something that American kids only started doing in the '90s / y2k.

That reminds me of another rider on the citrus train right now, Marina (@shamshi_adad on Twitter), who favors a negroni. And the OG groyper (@groyper on Gab) enjoys citrus herbal tea, as well as Earl Grey black tea (bergamot).

* * *

As the late 2000s shifted into a high-energy cycle, these mellow and citrusy tastes got left behind, in favor of more intense flavors, especially those that were spicy, pungent, and bitter. From sticking a lemon wedge in your Corona bottle, to ordering "hoppy" IPAs (still never tasted one, can't stand beer, but from reading around, it looks like it refers to a bitter, or perhaps fruity / floral taste of the hops, not necessarily a sour or citrusy one).

But now that the high-energy cycle is over, it's back to the sour and citrusy tastes of the mellow cycle that we last saw during the '90s and early 2000s.

I still prefer earthy, pungent, no-acidity coffees to the bright and citrusy ones. Still love dark chocolate. And stinky cheeses, paired with berries rather than citrus. And seasoning beef with cumin, among other things.

But it's hard to ignore how much tart, sour, and citrus has crept into my meals over the past couple years -- and into everyone else's as well.

July 6, 2022

IRL in the '90s (new series overview)

Back in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when the '80s revival was raging, a large part of my writing was focused on that trend, but putting a lot of separate pieces together into a more coherent sweeping vision of what was going on.

That led to my discovery of the link between crime rates and an outgoing social mood, and vice versa, falling crime and a cocooning social mood. I elaborated this over several rise-and-fall time periods, from those of the 20th century, as well as much earlier rising-crime eras (late 1300s / early 1400s, late 1500s / early 1600s, and late 1700s / early 1800s).

Use the sidebar to navigate through my posts from late 2009 through 2012 or so. Or leave a comment asking about a specific topic, and I'll try to remember if I covered it. Or use google to search this blog on your own.

I was never a huge fan of the '90s, either at the time, during the '80s revival when a handful of people tried to include the '90s as well, or even now when the Zoomers are trying to launch a '90s / y2k revival. However, the '80s have been revived to death by now, and I've written everything I can about that period. So I might as well focus my attention on the '90s — both to recreate the zeitgeist, and to understand the dynamics behind what made it the way it was.

During the work on the crime-and-cocooning cycle, I was already talking a lot about the '90s, as an example of a falling-crime / cocooning environment. But that was always on a downer side of things, counterposed to the exciting '80s just before. And putting down the '90s was a way to take part in the '80s revival of 10-15 years ago — and now the only revival going on is for the '90s and y2k, so I can contribute to another nostalgia wave, by playing up the '90s (while still be honest).

And by now, I've also discovered the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, as well as the 30-year cycle, whereby each 15-year cycle alternates between a high-energy version and a low-energy version. Along with the crime-and-cocooning cycle, that will help to explain the '90s pretty well.

I will be focusing more on IRL, daily life, and social contexts. It's not going to be a nostalgia trip of mass-mediated pop culture. To the extent that movies, TV, video games, etc. show up, they will be as part of a vignette about how people related to each other. The focus will be more on the video rental store than what movies people checked out. I'll do some posting about the aesthetics themselves, but only if they're largely forgotten (including by today's revivalists) and would really jolt your memories back to that time (such as the wacky colors and patterns on bed linens).

The perspective is from a very late Gen X-er, which is necessary because Millennials were helicopter-parented from infancy and don't remember much of IRL, due to being insulated in a mass-media / pop culture bubble, which their paranoid parents rationalized as being better than letting them roam around outside and potentially interact with Bad Influences unsupervised. But Gen X was still free of helicopter parents, and continued living as latchkey kids, throughout the '90s.

As always, I reject technological determinism and won't be blaming / crediting the internet for anything in the '90s. In fact, one over-arching theme will be how little of a role the 'net played back then. Life didn't get sucked into the terminally online mode of tech until social media took over during the 2010s. The 2000s and Web 2.0 were a transition between the offline and online eras, so I might also cover the early 2000s along with the '90s.

Nor will I be covering political or economic dynamics — this is a strictly social and cultural zeitgeist approach. The most I can say is that, in Peter Turchin's "fathers-and-sons" model of civil unrest / rioting / etc., the '90s were a calm valley — in between the turbulent peaks circa 1970 and 2020. It was one of the least politicized periods ever, and anyone who did try to politicize things was immediately shut down by everyone else as a politically correct whiner and killjoy.

The "end of history" added to that sense of de-politicization. The only empire to rival America, Russia, had begun imploding, and there were no other empires that had even begun to expand, let alone reach maturity. It had nothing to do with capitalism, communism, or any of that superficial stuff. It was strictly about imperial rivalry, and we were suddenly the last empire left standing — and we had not yet had our knees wobbled by the failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor the never-ending 2008 Depression.

This was not as strong of an effect on our zeitgeist as the domestic political cycle (minimum of civil unrest), because the international picture only strongly affects us if it's close to home, and the Russian sphere of influence has always been distant. But it was one of those minor factors that I probably won't write about any further.

To recapitulate the forces at work, the '90s saw:

- Falling crime rates (peaked in '92).

- Cocooning social mood.

- Low-energy excitement cycle (1990-2004, unlike the high-energy cycles of 1975-'89 and 2005-'19).

- A restless phase ('90-'94) and a manic phase ('95-'99) in the excitement cycle (and a vulnerable phase in 2000-'04). The '90s proper did not have a downer / emo phase, although y2k did.

At the most general big-picture level, I would capture the essence of the '90s as the most boring decade ever. But others would interpret it in a glass-half-full way as the most cozy or low-key or just-straight-vibin' decade ever. When I try to think of how I felt at various times, the recurring impression is of a lull, a void, a vacant non-space that is hard to go back to through your own recollection (unless you remember everything, like me), and the nostalgia feels like taking a trip to nowhere.

How do you vividly evoke the world of the Decade From Nowhere? I'm sure this will be far less engrossing and memory-awakening than my exploration of the '80s, but then that seems to be the appeal for the '90s revivalists — that it was not a sensory overload, social overload, political / economic overload, or even technological overload.

In fact, to get more immersed in that mood, I'm writing this series on my y2k set-up, whose defining feature is the beige / light gray color palette. The PC tower, the CRT monitor, the mechanical keyboard, the rollerball mouse, the speakers, and the disk case. It is absolutely mind-boggling to me how this blandest of computer rigs has been all the rage for the past several years. What's so fascinating about beige?

But that's just it — people have grown tired from over-exposure to the super-sleek black or pure blinding-white colors, the very high-contrast RGB streamer lights, and the rest of the aesthetics from the high-energy cycle of 2005-'19. They want to take things down a notch, to the beige computer, forest-green Subaru, Gregorian chant, baggy sweatshirt Nineties.

Exactly as the literal '90s people were reacting, after the intense cycle of 1975-'89 — time to take things down a notch for a little while. From bright pastels, synth, and gay, to heavy earth tones, Unplugged, and lesbian.

Let's end with one of the most iconic songs of the '90s, which ought to resonate all the more strongly in the current climate of nostalgia for a less corrupted time.

July 2, 2022

No mass action over Roe, ending decade of woke psychosis (until the 2060s)

The most remarkable aspect of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade is the absence of violence, property destruction, rioting, etc. This is the first clear sign that the wave of collective violence of the late 2010s has not only peaked -- in 2020, hard to top that year -- but has entered the fizzling-out phase of the cycle.

That's right -- there is 50-year cycle in mass political violence.

* * *

But first, a necessary overview of how impoverished the online information ecosystem has become after the switch from blogs to social media and podcasts. If you only consumed media, including podcasts, you never heard about the 50-year cycle during all their coverage and takemeistering in reaction to the escalating riots of roughly 2014 onward.

Plenty of content-creators in media / podcasts had read something about it, perhaps, but they can't give contemporary competitors in the takemeister economy credit, without demoting their own status in their petty zero-sum world. And they would get called out for blatantly stealing the idea if they didn't give any credit whatsoever. So they just have to ignore it. This is why they can and do cite dead people -- they're not locked in a zero-sum competition with dead people, or even retired people.

Bloggers acted the opposite way during the blogosphere heyday of the 2000s and early 2010s. We were happy to clue others into some exciting new idea we came across -- and provided a link, a citation, a name, a something, to connect our readers to someone else's ideas. It was not zero-sum, we were all working together toward the same grand project.

And it worked well while the blogosphere was mostly Gen X in its creative and consuming sides, with some hobbyist Boomers to round things out. Once the Millennials started to make up more of the online creators and audiences, though, they ditched blogs in favor of social media and podcasts.

However, unlike their striver ancestors, the Boomers, they weren't doing this as a hobby by people who already had it made in the shade. Nope, the Millennials are way worse off than their Boomer parents, and they have always viewed any form of media labor -- including shitposting on social media, or spitballing takes and reactions on a podcast -- as a career that they ought to be paid a real salary for. At least shitloads of clout online, at most a six-figure or more annual income. "These takes don't write themselves" (yes they do).

So the Gen X blogger was more of a gallery curator, when it came to someone else's stuff -- here's an array of things I find interesting, with an ID tag on each item to give proper credit, and if you like the kinds of things I find and gather in this one place, stop by regularly, the collection on display is never the same. And crucially, if you like some specific item, follow its ID tag to items by that same creator that are outside of my current exhibition.

The Millennial takemeister is more of a pawn-shop operator -- he, or his finders / fencers, collects an array of things in one place, but the browsing audience has no idea where it comes from. This makes it somewhat like the museum exhibit, but without any ID tags, it's impossible for the audience to follow a trail from an item they're currently looking at, to other items by the same creator. I don't mean the original manufacturer -- who may be out of business, who may not have stamped a logo onto their products, etc. -- I mean the source of where this specific item came from.

For the audience, no trails lead outside of the pawn-shop itself. Those sources are highly protected, confidential, etc. Otherwise the customer could cut out the middle-man. The takemeister is not merely a gatekeeper, deciding what goes in vs. what stays out of the collection -- he's *the* connection. You want more? You gotta keep going back to only that shop, since they won't tell you who their suppliers are.

So maybe they're more like drug-dealers for take-junkies, whereas the bloggers were more like the taste-testing / free samples stands for an audience that is a little hungry and curious about different options, but not looking for a fix and a pusher.

* * *

At any rate, Peter Turchin discovered this 50-year cycle in the late 2000s, wrote articles for a popular audience a decade ago (such as this one), and wrote an entire book in 2016 (Ages of Discord). I've been writing about it here for a decade, always trying to get Turchin's name to stick in the reader's memory.

Since this was all very topical during the Trump 2016 campaign year, everyone was familiar with it among the political takes crowd on Twitter and elsewhere, from the edgy NEET shitposters to the wealthy centrist think-tankers.

By 2016, mass political violence was only beginning, so it felt like more of a prediction -- that there would be a SHTF situation around 2020. And right as that happened, everyone pretended not to know Turchin's name, the 50-year cycle, the title of that one book, etc. Someone other than me was proven right, oh no!

Worse, the media-ites rely mostly on emotional appeals to keep their audience hooked and craving stronger doses of The Stuff. So they projected the trend of 2015-2020 indefinitely out into the future.

I knew that was wrong from the outset -- the point of a cycle is that it waxes and wanes, because there are negative feedback loops in the system, not just positive ones that push in the same direction forever. I figured things would lighten up by 2024 and after, based on the previous waves that Turchin documented -- lots of rioting during the second half of the '60s, the very early '70s, and then quickly petering out to nothing for the rest of the '70s. Lots of agitation around WWI, peaking in the race riots of 1919-'20, and quickly fading out during the '20s. And so on.

But it looks like mass violence is wrapping up a couple years earlier than that.

Imagine if the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade in 2016, the year of mass assaults on Trump rally-goers. Or in 2017, the year of millions pouring into the streets for the Women's March, and the smaller but hotter Charlottesville showdown. Or as late as 2020, the year Democrat mobs burned down multiple major cities to intimidate voters into showing up to the polls.

And yet, in 2022? Absolutely nothing. A handful of professional activists are not a mass action. No mobs, no protests, no property destruction, no violence, no anything. Crucially -- no counter-mobs, counter-protests, or counter-violence, like there had been a few years earlier. No street battles.

There is no other explanation than that the tank has run out of gas. This is the precise dire outcome that the millions of pink pussyhat wearers were apocalyptically warning about back in 2017. Their side has been given free rein to loot, burn down, murder, whatever. They were encouraged by an activist campaign, Jane's Revenge, to stage a night of rage (or whatever it was supposed to be called) on the day that Roe was officially overturned. A week later, and it's still crickets. It's not an obscure issue that only affects a few people, they should be able to mass-recruit like before.

If anything, there ought to be more of them out in the street than when it was only a hypothetical, and they ought to be wreaking more havoc than when they were just concerned but still had Roe v. Wade in place.

People are simply tired of the practice of mass violence and chaos at this point, even if they agree "in theory". This is no different from the exhaustion of would-be Weathermen and Black Panthers by the mid-'70s. Or would-be race-rioters by the mid-1920s. Or would be Civil Warriors by the mid-1870s. Enough already.

* * *

The slow build-up of mass actions, followed by a fairly quick drop-off, and then a period where it seems impossible to spark another wave, suggests some kind of excitable system model. Akin to exercising, sex / orgasm, eating to satiety, drinking / hangover, and so on. Apparently starting right now, and going through the rest of the decade, we're going to be in an activism hangover, having binged / overdosed on it during the second half of the 2010s and the first couple years of the 2020s.

This will face a clean test in 2024, the next presidential election year. If the late 2010s and 2020 were only just the beginning, then '24 is going to literally blow up the entire country. If would-be mob members are exhausted and can't get it up after so many I'M GONNA LOOOOOOT episodes in the recent past, then '24 will be tamer than '20.

I predict '24 will be like 1976 and 1924 -- pretty uneventful compared to the peak of mass violence just a few years before (1968 and '72, 1916 and '20). We already had two consecutive election years with mass violence -- 2016 and '20 -- and that means people will be too tired to do any more in '24.

Now, this is only for the phenomenon of mass violence, civil unrest, etc. Polarization is going to keep going on for awhile, since the partisan reaction to overturning Roe v. Wade is exactly what you'd expect for a still polarized, and more-and-more polarizing country. It just won't be expressed in mob violence.

Nor does this have to do with the fragmenting of the American empire, something that is going to continue for decades and centuries.

I'm strictly talking about huge crowds of people fucking shit up in public. Or, for that matter, the battle of words on TV, online, etc. Neither side is as fiery about this as they would've been just 2 years ago, let alone 5. Imagine Trump's first year he ends Roe v. Wade -- the endless dunking and victory laps the right would be running online. Now, they're both reacting in the expected directions, but to a far smaller magnitude.

At some point, the hangover will wear off, we'll be back to a baseline level of inclination toward mob violence. And then it'll start to rise again, if Turchin's model continues to be correct, in the mid-2060s, peaking around 2070, and then going into another hangover all over again.

As a final, lesser prediction, I don't think there's going to be any Black Lives Matter crap among Democrats in '24 either, in contrast to 2016 and '20. It would be like signs about "Remember Watergate" or "US out of 'Nam" in 1976. Sorry, those signs belong to '68 and '72, by '76 nobody could keep it going any longer. It was over for radicals then, and it's more or less already over for radicals again (until the lead-up to 2070).