Wednesday, April 06, 2022

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

A consequence of getting older is understanding how quickly things can and do change. Probably centering myself a bit more than is warranted, but I do feel like I grew up at the peak (or trough) of modern retrograde cultural prudishness, coming of age during the AIDS crisis, the peak of the Christian Right, racist racial backlash politics, the visible anti-abortion movement, and a broad culture of pretend sexual morality that was horribly damaging to my generation generally, and pretty nightmarish for gay kids (and adults).

I don't think people even 8 years younger than me have a sense of just how constraining the culture was, and "culture" doesn't just mean 'what's on TV' or whatever. That matters, but it's a whole framework for acceptable existence, including economic, that is now under very successful assault.

The generation gap between the millennials/older zoomers and the next group is going to be, um, interesting, as all those closet doors start slamming shut again, as retrograde cultural norms spread.  Don't think it's limited to red states or red areas, either, as our supposedly progressive but fundamentally patriarchal and racist institutions are happy to return to their comfort zones.

A lot of people are going to happily embrace the backlash because they think trans people are icky and a black person talked back to them on twitter. Best I can say is they're too dumb to know how good they had it, but that's overly generous.

The organized cultural forces pushing in the bad direction are nothing new, but I admit I'm a bit surprised at how much it is in part, as it always has been, due to the brains of old people (like me) being totally fried by the rage of not being young and beautiful and cool anymore.