Friday, May 06, 2005

The Majority Culture?

Recently I was reading the back to the cover of a book about a certain recently deceased person of some fame who shall remain nameless. The reviewer took great pride in telling the story of this person who "challenged the moral establishment of the day... for him, nothing was taboo... a penetrating insight into a counter-cultural mind."

Now last I checked, albeit that's been a while, "counter-cultural" assumed there was an opposing culture there to be countered. Where is this wonderful culture and where do its inhabitants live? A quick trip down numerous streets in NY will leave the reader certain that the book couldnt be referring to this city, nor do I believe that any of my suburban homes would cut the mustard.

As best I can tell, folk such as this, be they Madonna, Hunter Thompson, Britney Spears, or any other variety of pop idol, command a much higher degree of attention than even the most widely read Christian author. Sure, people are starting to know who James Dobson is, with his ultra-conservative views, but ask 100 people at random if they know Dobson or Madonna and I guarantee you that he will get outvoted fast.

Where is this land of Bible-Thumping prudes? Where are these sexually repressed nitwits? Where are these people who never entertain rather dark topics in the course of casual conversation? Where are these drug-adverse prohibitionists?

The problem here is that every generation follows the old military addage: "The army is always prefectly prepared to fight the previous war." Which is, of course, a backhanded way of saying they're never ready to fight the current one. The Culture War is the same thing. The well dressed rich WASP who mindlessely stifled their kids to the terrible realities around them and who really needed nothing more than a little hippy liberation army to show them the way - it's a caricature of a time gone by. If anything it's now the hippies who need tempering. It's now the religious establishment that needs help, it's now the vulgar we can't even keep off of the screen (big or small), it's the ability to believe in some and not the ability to critique that is currently lacking.

I think the reason that people are turning more conservative, particularly those of middle age voting credibility, is that they realize the pendulum swung too far. Oh and be not mistaken, these are the same hippy Baby Boomers who once believed in Sex, Drugs, and Rock'N'Roll as the catch-all solution to world issues. Finally it's come full circle. Did our society have huge sores and blisters of problems 2 generations ago? Definately. It's no wonder that the youth reacted the way they did. But, as with most crusades, it started out with divine intentions to help the folk and it ended up burning the churches with the people still in them.

There's no doubt that we live in a less grounded culture than we ever did before. Political pundits kept talking about Bush and Kerry being "divisive figures".Well, maybe. I would propose that it's more accurate to simply say that they were figures who represented a divided population.

It's true that there are two Americas, or maybe 200 Americas. It's not the have's and the have not's though. Indeed, it isn't Republican or Democrat either. I knew plenty of Republicans that felt dirty voting for a President who had gone to war in Iraq, I knew plenty of Democrats who could hardly pull the lever to sign off on an anything goes moral platform. Fact is, I knew very few true believers on either side. Most of the sincerity was true belief negative - they just couldn't stand the other guy.

In any case, the one thing I certainly can't substantiate from my own observations is that what we really need, and what's really lacking, is an envelope pushing, rabble rousing troublemaker. We're not lacking for drug addicted sex fiends like the person described in the review. What we're lacking is a few good people to tow the line - We're lacking an establishment worth attacking - We're lacking some prudes who need offending - We're lacking an envelope that hasn't already been pushed to the creases.


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