February 10, 2018

"Oh, sweetie. Bless your heart. Lie still while we sink our claws into you."

Say Tom & Lorenzo blogging an introduction to this week's podcast:
First, we roll up our sleeves and harrumph ALL OVER the buzz-heavy (among the gay twitterati) Attitude magazine opinion piece charmingly titled “YOUNG QUEER PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE OBLIGED TO CARE ABOUT LGBT HISTORY – AND THAT’S THE BIGGEST SIGN OF SUCCESS THERE IS.”... After we get done launching our volleys into the Great Gay Generational War of 2018....
The young guy they tear into is Dylan Jones, and let's see what's at that link:
Shame is largely a thing of the past and homophobia is, like, SO 2008.... Things still aren’t perfect. Of course, discrimination - particularly transphobia - is still rife in many schools.... But it’s way better than it used to be....  these kids have started to hit their late teens and early twenties, a sort of super-race has emerged, blinking, into 2018’s Instagram-hued social and professional stratosphere....

There seems to be an attitude among older generations of LGBTQ people, particularly older gay men, that their younger counterparts are “losing sight of the issues.”.... It must be hard to swallow, after going through such struggles, to see young, chatty, confident gay men swanning about like they own the place....

According to these self-appointed sanctioners, we’re allowed to fight for our rights, but we’re not allowed to enjoy them once we’ve got them. Instead of cracking open a Strongbow Dark Fruit and having a dance to Little Mix, we’ve got to sit back down, and somberly start drawing up plans for the next march.

All this raises the question – SHOULD young LGBTQ people care about their history? They’re certainly not obliged to. Why should they? This is just their lives. They’re existing as they should always have been allowed to exist – happily and freely. They shouldn’t be made to feel guilty, or even grateful for that....
I could say more, but I'll just say there's a big difference between:

1. Knowing history, venerating the heroes of the past, keeping vigilant about preserving liberty, and...

2. Seeing life in terms of endless grievances and yourself as a member of an identity group that must stay coalesced and ready for action.

ADDED: This controversy made me think about how we Baby Boomers grew up in the 1950s world that our parents generation suffered to create. We knew, theoretically, superficially, about the Depression and World War II, but we thought 1950s suburban American life was hollow and bland, and we just had to do something completely different.

45 comments:

PB said...

Current day young people, minority, LGBTQLMNOP, etc, don't understand history and feel they face the same obstacles that were eradicated long ago. They need to pump up the volume to prove their bono fides (virtue).

Favorite phrase I saw yesterday, "the love that dare not speak it's name has turned into the the love that just won't shut up."

David Begley said...

Today’s Democrat party is 100% about identity politics and global warming. That’s all they have. Why else would Pelosi stand and talk - in high heels - for over 8 hours about illegal aliens?

rhhardin said...

Everything will be rife for 15 minutes.

MayBee said...

I have been staying away from Tom and Lorenzo because they get too political.

The Elder said...

"there's a big difference between:
1. Knowing history, venerating the heroes of the past, keeping vigilant about preserving liberty, and...
2. Seeing life in terms of endless grievances and yourself as a member of an identity group that must stay coalesced and ready for action."


This statement stands as the wisest, clearest, and most liberty-committed words ever posted on this blog! Thank you, Professor!!

whitney said...

"I have been staying away from Tom and Lorenzo because they get too political"

#MeToo. Haven't been to that site in months

Lyle said...

Wanting something different is what some people of every generation want. They think if they just do the different thing, life will be even better. Sometimes they are right. On and on it goes.

traditionalguy said...

Interestingly, once the Gay people stopped being feared and hated by straight culture, they lost identity. Now they are just boring people who do sex different with nothing left to fight for.

And that happened 10 years ago. Maybe they can have a Gay Pride Parade or some other useless remembrance of bad times long ago.

Lucien said...

You can tell that Tom & Lorenzo are just hateful -- they use the term "LGBTQ", when there should be SO MANY more letters in it. Clearly they must be "two-spirit-phobic"!

bgates said...

a sort of super-race has emerged of young, chatty, confident gay men swanning about like they own the place who don't care about their history.

What could go wrong?

PJ said...

We have all (well, those of us of a certain age) seen this in the women’s movement: when one generation has succeeded in transformng the lives and expectations of the next, the younger group has only a limited, and largely intellectual, ability to understand the lived experience of the older group. The older group, while deservedly taking pride in the progress made and genuinely thrilled to witness the younger group unshackled, nonetheless keenly feels the absence of the shared lived experience and expresses that feeling as a demand for recognition and appreciation that can never be met.

Big Mike said...

... but we thought 1950s suburban American life was hollow and bland, and we just had to do something completely different.

Well you did. I grew up in a quarry town, and the thought of what it meant to work hard for a living was always right there at the edge of town.

Jersey Fled said...

Ann

I grew up in the 50's as you did, and never found 50's suburban life as hollow or bland. We had great fun with our friends without benefit of "play dates", spent most of our days outside engaged in physical activities, walked to school, valued education, watched g-rated shows on our black and white tv, and grew up in homes with a mother and father. As young boys we didn't dress like thugs and the girls didn't dress like ho's.

In fact I wish my grandkids had the same opportunities.

Phil 3:14 said...

Can I just say that it seems odd in an article written by a gay man for an audience of gay men to see this phrase:

"It must be hard to swallow"

Phil 3:14 said...

And now I'm wondering why there aren't more gay miners.

Roughcoat said...

I'm so glad I'm not gay. Too much angst.

Oso Negro said...

I think there are better analogies. The Baby Boom cohort was distinguished by the fact that they came of age in an unprecedented era of prosperity, unlikely from an historical point of view. As has been observed, many didn't rebel against their parents. As the daughter of a chemical engineer, one would be firmly in the upper-middle class of the 1950s and 1960s, and likely bound for professions perceived as even more substantial, such as law or medicine.

A more interesting contrast would be young black people, who have succumbed to hysterical grievance mongers instead of enjoying social acceptance and opportunity that would not have been available to their grand-parents (great-grandparents? great-great-grandparents?) in the 1940s and 1950s.

Inga said...

Respect for the sacrifices and struggles of those who paved the way should be internalized by any group that at long last has a better life. Enjoy, but don’t take your forerunners for granted, if not for them, you’d be the ones doing the struggling now.

Sebastian said...

"1. Knowing history, venerating the heroes of the past, keeping vigilant about preserving liberty, and...

2. Seeing life in terms of endless grievances and yourself as a member of an identity group that must stay coalesced and ready for action."

Which progs advocate "knowing history" as a way of "keeping vigilant about preserving liberty"?

Which progs favor any version of 1. over 2.?

In what sense was a 5-4 Supreme Court edict overturning democratic decisions and many years of precedent an exercise in "liberty"?

Crazy Jane said...

A lot of the culture now encourages people to hang onto their grievances, and there is some comfort to be had in this. But at some point you have to person up and stop taking your baby blanket to work with you. To get on with things.

It doesn't matter what bad thing has blocked your way. You can be sure that someone else has endured much worse and managed to turn that hardship into a triumph.

Tommy Duncan said...

"Oh, sweetie. Bless your heart. Lie still while we sink our claws into you."

I saw the headline and mistakenly thought this was an "Inga" thread.

Roger Sweeny said...

Putting yourself into a group called LGBTQ is itself a very political thing to do. It throws together very different people whose only similarity is "not exclusively straight in conformance with my birth body." (Which is one reason it has expanded from early LGB to LGBT to LGBTQ--and there are any number of additional letters that various people will add).

Jon Burack said...

"1. Knowing history, venerating the heroes of the past, keeping vigilant about preserving liberty, and...

2. Seeing life in terms of endless grievances and yourself as a member of an identity group that must stay coalesced and ready for action."

Obviously, 1. is preferable to 2. by a long shot. However, BOTH accept a Whig view of history and of the proper orientation toward the past. That is, the past was more benighted than the present, but the present must move yet further toward the inevitable light. And therefore, BOTH leave out the real value of historical understanding. Which is not to venerate heroes of the past but to understand them - and to understand their opponents and everyone else in between. And to understand how different they all were from the present. And when I say understand, I mean sympathetic understanding, a kind that challenges the hubris of thinking that you yourself have escaped history into the bright light of pure enlightenment. In that sense, the first of these options may be almost as limiting as the second. Both assume we've really got nothing more to learn from the past. One because it is past, and the other because it still the present.

Ann Althouse said...

"I grew up in the 50's as you did, and never found 50's suburban life as hollow or bland. We had great fun with our friends without benefit of "play dates", spent most of our days outside engaged in physical activities, walked to school, valued education, watched g-rated shows on our black and white tv, and grew up in homes with a mother and father. As young boys we didn't dress like thugs and the girls didn't dress like ho's."

I agree that in the actual 50s, we had great fun in suburbia, stepping outside any day to find lots of other kids to play with and enjoying kid life. But in the 60s, we got dissatisfied and looked at our elders as boring and complacent. To be fair, a lot of that had to do with their elaborate, devious plan to kill half of us in Vietnam, and some of it had to do with anxiety brought on by the Kennedy assassination and the civil rights protests.

Fernandistein said...

Jon Burack said...
"2. Seeing life in terms of endless grievances and yourself as a member of an identity group that must stay coalesced and ready for action."


Like #metoo and the "recalcitrant men" and the fake campus rape culture, and the fake wage gap, etc, etc.

Sebastian said...

"their elaborate, devious plan to kill half of us in Vietnam" I appreciate the tone of this remark, but still:

"We" got "dissatisfied" due to propaganda. "We" drew the logical conclusion that a crazy war foisted upon us by liberal Dems required us to support--umm, liberal Dems. And "we" certainly did not give a damn about "preserving liberty," such as it was, in South Vietnam, or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, many of "us" actively cheered for the oppressors. To be fair.

MayBee said...

But in the 60s, we got dissatisfied and looked at our elders as boring and complacent. To be fair, a lot of that had to do with their elaborate, devious plan to kill half of us in Vietnam, and some of it had to do with anxiety brought on by the Kennedy assassination and the civil rights protests.

But *my* 50's was the 60's. And I had fun in suburbia (although I lived in a city limits), stepping outside any day to find lots of other kids to play with and enjoying kid life.
My worst memories as a kid are of the neighbor teenager and his WW2 veteran dad getting in screaming matches we could hear because the windows were open in the summer. That was your generation making things uncomfortable for mine.

MayBee said...

My above comment: Obviously, there were two generations at fault here in these screaming matches. But would it have *killed * the hippies, who were so about peace, love, and understanding, to try to understand what their parents had just been through?

Zach said...

This controversy made me think about how we Baby Boomers grew up in the 1950s world that our parents generation suffered to create. We knew, theoretically, superficially, about the Depression and World War II, but we thought 1950s suburban American life was hollow and bland, and we just had to do something completely different.

When you think about it this way, it would be kind of creepy to spend your childhood and early adulthood venerating the very recent past. 1955 was a very different year than 1945 or 1935! The Germans were our friends and the Russians were our enemies, just for starters.

Too much veneration for the recent past can make people too resistant to change.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Regarding the Boomers looking disdainfully at the 50's: When I started blogging a decade ago it was one of my frequent topics that black-and-white photography changing to color was psychologically a powerful driver of that. It sounds small, but I made it on the basis of how often people made that association aloud with realising it. I ask your indulgence that I post three of the better links, as I don't get much traffic to decade-old posts. I think Boomers and those on either side of them will enjoy them, even if they disagree. https://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2005/12/history-becomes-lost-but-is-found.html
https://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2007/08/black-and-white.html
https://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2006/03/reduced-shakespeare-company.html

exiledonmainstreet said...

Too much veneration for the recent past can make people too resistant to change.

2/10/18, 11:22 AM

There is certainly far too much veneration for the 1960's.

Unknown said...

I'm just old enough to be at the tail end of the Boomer generation and so from my perch in the 70's looked quite disdainfully at those 60's era Boomers that were looking disdainfully at the 50's. Hasn't it always been thus, the younger generation looking disdainfully at their elders?

-sw

Gahrie said...

To be fair, a lot of that had to do with their elaborate, devious plan to kill half of us in Vietnam,

Why did you care? The half they wanted to kill were just splooge stooges after all.

ALP said...

"Things still aren’t perfect."

Lord save me from perfectionists. They are the most perpetually disappointed people on the face of the earth.

Mark said...

There should be a comma after "Lord."

To wit: "Lord, save me from perfectionists."

Lydia said...

"But in the 60s, we got dissatisfied and looked at our elders as boring and complacent. To be fair, a lot of that had to do with their elaborate, devious plan to kill half of us in Vietnam, and some of it had to do with anxiety brought on by the Kennedy assassination and the civil rights protests."

Then where did the 1955 Rebel Without a Cause come from?

bagoh20 said...

" To be fair, a lot of that had to do with their elaborate, devious plan to kill half of us in Vietnam, and some of it had to do with anxiety brought on by the Kennedy assassination and the civil rights protests."

Any generation could find such things to claim as triggers and excuses for their excesses, but it was just normal youthful exuberance and rebellion, with a little a lot more hubris than normal. Though the rebellion of youth is always happening, it seems only us Boomers have a huge contingent that finds themselves to be special for it - great heroes of change. Many improvements were made as is the nature of modern history with or without all the fireworks, but the counterculture heroes of the 60's also killed a lot of the great hard-built cultural flora of the past, like respect for things not brand new. So much of it is lost now forever and unretrievable.

If we permitted ourselves to prevail in Vietnam, the Vietnamese today would be like the Germans, Japanese, and South Koreans - some of the most advanced, free and prosperous societies in history instead of still struggling in poverty and fascism living off the crumbs of the new surplus in nations saved by the U.S of the past. That result may not seem worth the sacrifice to us, but it was to the generation before us, and they were in charge when Vietnam started. It was us who failed them a decade later.

buwaya said...

Best to look at the present, and from there project the future. The future is what counts. And there is, for nearly all of us, and certainly for any collective, only one way to the future, and that is children.

All these "confident" young gay people are, each of them, a dead end. Finis. A dead branch at the start.

Thirty years from now when the pleasure and excitement are gone a huge number of them will wonder what it was all for.
Its a glittering sort of tragedy.

Nancy Reyes said...

Why do you assume all your readers are "we baby boomers" who rejected "Suburban life"?
In the 1960's, while some of my more affluent classmates were partying and taking drugs and ridiculing me because I was busy studying (I was on a scholarship), in contrast, a lot of my classmates and relatives were fighting in VietNam and working at blue collar jobs.
The hatred of the "deplorables" began when a returning soldier was spat upon by a hippie from an affluent family...
and no, I don't consider the war in VietNam wrong: because the elites who congratulate themselves on their anti war partying never worked with boat people or heard the stories of the post war reeducation camps there. Maybe in another 20 years, one of those survivors who fled will rewrite the history book on the subject.

Roger Sweeny said...

The '60s "overlapped exactly with the change from black-and-white photography to living color, for both TV and still photography. This mere technological improvement at a minimum reinforced, and was possibly even a major cause of our attitude toward previous eras. We were vibrant, fascinating, and alive. They were gray, stilted and boring."

I'd go with slightly reinforced, but it's a fascinating observation.

n.n said...

Politically congruent, "=" or PC, politics.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thank you, Roger Sweeney.
Now let your imagination run to it. What if it really was the driving force? what if we really are that easily persuaded to take credit for how wonderful we are, based on things accomplished by others?

Roger Sweeny said...

Assistant Village Idiot, I think there was too much else happening for "black and white to color" to be "the driving force." The first thing that comes to my mind is music. "We" thought it was so much more interesting, so much more colorful than the lame music of the '50s. Or '40s or '30s! I mean, Frank Sinatra? Snooze.

I think music would have changed the same way without any change in photography. And there still would have been the bulge of baby boomers, the pill, the prosperity that spoiled us, etc.

Annus Mirabilis

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

Up to then there'd only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

by Philip Larkin

BillyTalley said...

1. Succession in ecology defines the progressive replacement of communities.
2. The orderly transition of government after the election is disputed by Democrats, which is no surprise since the Constitution gives them indigestion.
3. What constitutes Progress is the pivotal issue. All agree that is about a better future. The Left insists that Progress will occur if government was left solely in n their hands. The Right (in the USA) places their faith in the design of a Constitution that allows a hit or miss process that hinges on a (Hegelian?) idea that the give and take of argumentation eventual arrives at a better understanding. “Are we there yet?” Impatience, province of youth.
4. Curious, then that the Progressives seem to have lost faith in the eventual arrival, impatient as they are to get to the promised land. Best, enemy of the better. Did Hegel mention this at all?

Renee said...

Gay Pride parades are no different than Saint Patrick's parades or Cinco de Mayo. A reason to get drunk.