Is nothing sacred?

This is the kind of post I dislike writing, because it’s not usually my nature to want to sound as though I’m scolding. I don’t think the people who read this blog are in need of scolding on the points I am about to make — besides which, I’d rather write to you as peers and as friends, not as my students. So this is not for the regular readers (if any) but about the ”conservatives” who are found around the internet. Some, in their behavior, are often indistinguishable from the leftists, who pride themselves on being transgressive.

So I hope I can be excused for venting here. I wonder if I can get an Amen?

It seems there’s no subject that isn’t considered joke fodder on certain ”conservative” forums (and blogs, too). I’ve seen the grimmest and most disturbing news stories provide material for bad jokes, with seemingly everybody trying to outdo each other in gross, or even blasphemous “humor.” Many of the ‘wits’ who resort to the crude ‘comedy’ are self-identified (or should that be ‘self-styled’?) Christians, as well as being ‘right-wing.’

I’ve seen flippant threads about gruesome murders, cannibalism, and now this.

Is it any wonder I rarely look in on that forum these days? Their politics, mostly ‘cuckservative’ in nature, and their fondness for ‘DR3’ pleadings, are enough to annoy me into staying clear of the place. But beyond that, it’s become distressing to realize that our folk are becoming so jaded and unshockable that they can joke about something like the subject of that article. Suppose the parents of the young woman in question happened to read these comments, or to hear about them from someone? I suppose if that were known, they would joke and laugh about that, too.

Remember when those articles appeared a while back about the ‘experts’ and the leftist wreckers promoting anthropophagy? I’d rather not say the more well-known name. Well, that too was treated as one big joke, rather than provoking shock, which is just what should be the reaction of a civilized person. But all the comments I read were the usual stale, hackneyed jokes about ‘fava beans and a nice Chianti.’ By the way, I recognized the ‘fava-beans-and-Chianti’ jokes as being from that movie Silence of the Lambs, though I never saw it — so often do people make the same old tired ‘jokes’ containing that phrase.

People like to defend those jokes as being just ‘black humor’, and a coping mechanism, just trying to lighten things up when disturbing subject matter is discussed, etc., etc. Always some kind of ‘psychological’ pseudo-explanation is offered up for every bad habit or quality people exhibit.

Personally I can laugh at a little black humor; it’s not anything new, but there are limits; some things are not fitting subjects to be discussed in civilized or mixed company, much less to be the material for jokes.

Nothing is sacred, it seems, nothing is taboo anymore. What becomes of a society which appears to be shedding every inhibition, erasing every taboo, allowing people to transgress all the rules that governed civilized societies.

I think we have crossed the line from a civilized society already, for the most part. And it’s hardly necessary to say that the left has been the main source of this kind of deliberate and systematic shattering of all our former taboos. But it can’t all be blamed on the left; as we can see online, where people are emboldened by anonymity, that the ”right” has aided and abetted the left in tolerating this profanation of everything. Online we can find ‘right-wing’ people using gutter language — the ‘F-word’ and the ‘C-word’ (both of them, all of them). And it’s not merely the crude words which were once used only in anger or for strong emphasis, but now are just used habitually or to strike a pose) but it’s also the use of obscene imagery when ordinary metaphors would do the job just as well. I don’t want to be explicit, but what I mean is metaphors involving “knee pads”, ”vaseline”, certain orifices, etc. All involve perverted acts. But this is ordinary language even on blogs whose bloggers say they are Christian. But it should not be just Christians who should want to use non-vulgar language.

The English language, for those who know it well enough, is a very rich language. Now, modern ‘experts’ say it’s impossible to count the words in a language; after all, no language can be ‘superior’ to another; linguistic ‘supremacy’ might be implied, and we can’t have that! But back in the Era of Sanity, in my college linguistics class, we were told that about 700,000 words were part of a fluent English speaker’s vocabulary, and that is a rich store of words from which we can choose. Our language is full of nuance and varying ‘hues’. We can express ourselves without falling back on crude language and metaphors. We don’t have to use the vocabulary of perversion to get our meanings across. We can talk or write like civilized adults.

Children used to be taught that those who used profanity were displaying ignorance; why else resort to the ‘four-letter’ words when other words were far more expressive and nuanced? I think that is a valid criticism, but it’s not the whole story. Usually people adopt crude language in adolescence as an attempt to sound ‘tough’ or street-wise. It does make people sound hard and jaded. Surprisingly (or not), lots of young girls today say they aspire to be (in their words) “badass.” Is that what we are encouraging in them? The school system and the feminist ‘teachers’ feed them this kind of thing, or at the very least, they allow it. And what we tolerate, we get more of.

Nobody wants to enforce standards. And if traditional adults don’t uphold any standards, then who will?

I wonder: does anyone today realize that people once used to be shocked by the gutter language and the cavalier use of the vulgar metaphors — used today even in the presence of very old ladies and little children? Are we proud of our ”frankness” today? Have we all become so hardened and immune to shame or embarrassment that we reject all limits?

The conservative forum I linked to used to be, even ten or fifteen years ago, much more civilized and mature. Once the commenters were people who were able or willing to discuss the news without relying on four-letter words and ugly metaphors. There also used to be mods who enforced rules, and didn’t tolerate the balding Beavises-and-Buttheads, the public who are now middle-aged, yet still adolescents, using their crude words and obscene metaphors.

Our society needs to be rescued from the crude and profane. Rules and standards need reviving, but is it too late for that? There may be too few adults nowadays to pull our society out of the gutter.

'What the Old South can teach us'

The following was published in 1903, written by Cephas Shelburne:

What the Old South Can Teach Us

SIMPLICITY, CULTURE AND BEAUTY IN COLONIAL AND SOUTHERN LIFE

In this busy, rushing, grasping day of commerce Americans might find much instruction and inspiration, and learn a valuable lesson, if they would turn for a moment once in a while to consider the stately, generous and beauty-loving order which marked the later colonial and earlier national period of our history, particularly in the South. The present owes a real debt to the South of the past and to the early colonial period of our history — a debt that cannot be ignored as long as faith, courage, beauty, culture, and unselfish devotion and hospitality may be reckoned among a people’s virtues. Separated from us by the chasm of the heroic “late unpleasantness” and by four decades of time, both the South and North have entirely put the past behind them, except in so far as both may learn from past history. And the range is now long enough for correct perspective.

Shall we not today find something sweet and sound in the South that will yet be a powerful, conservative influence in the republic? “Will it not be strange,” asks, a distinguished biblical scholar and an old-time anti-slavery radical, “if we have to depend, after all, upon the orthodox conservatism of the South?”

The word “Southerner” carries with it as distinctive traits and characteristics as the words Scotchman or Frenchman. Isolated from the ultra-industrial spirit, undisturbed by “isms” of any sort, “born of a stock that planted itself with like vigor and purity nowhere else outside of its island home,” it was bred under separate and unique conditions. And, though the old South is a thing of the past, a new era of freedom has set in, and we are one people and inseparable, the South has left a legacy and memory invaluable to this
generation.

The old Southern life and civilization was full of power and inspiration. At no other time perhaps in the history of America do we find a period so fraught with sincerity, openness and frankness of manner, charm and graces of cultivation. It was a time of simple faith, honesty, and open simplicity. The voice of the scoffer at religion was seldom heard and never heeded in the Southland. There were no disintegrating influences of modern skeptical thought. The conservatism of the South refused to pipe to the mad dance of the times.

While this cultured generation is elsewhere framing artistic prayers to an “eternal not ourselves” or asking unanswerable questions of the “Unknowable’
and puzzling itself over “Two Isaiahs,” everywhere in the Southland there were, and are, earnest men and women reverently thanking God for sunshine and rain, seedtime and harvest, and “into every corner of whose homes shines the light of God by day and by night.”

The old days in the Sonth was a time of faith, of reverence, of simple honesty. In every land but the South good and wise men are mourning the decay of reverence, of the religious spirit. Reverence is the need of our time, of all times. As long as a healthful reverence for the beautiful, the good and true, for God and the manifestations of God, in man remain, we are safe, let creeds change as they may.

Now while this religious revolution is working, some land, some people must stand out as a light, must bear the ark of the covenant. In our boasted industrial and commercial supremacy, in our mad rush for the dollar — when we are forgetting that there are stars in the heavens, flowers in the fields, and beauty in the landscape, and virtues of soul — it is well that some land and people stand a beacon-light, content to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present evil world, and to remember that the kingdom of God and of man is not altogether “meat and drink, but righteousness, joy and peace.”

A thriving, pushing, hustling Northwesterner, just returning from a trip into Old Virginia and the South, in the course of which an “immense ennui” possessed him, remarked, “Oh, the South is behind the times, out of date, a back number.” By which he meant that the material, commercial and industrial interests of the South were not in keeping with that of the Northwest. “But,” he added, “the ‘New South’ is manifesting some life, and is coming up to date.” And by the “New South” and “up to date” is meant that the South of today, the new industrial South, “has joined the procession,” and has turned her mind to the development of her resources, to business, to enterprise, to money-making. By the “New South” is meant the South of today, busy developing coal, timber and mineral lands, drilling oil wells, building factories, towns, cities, railroads, forging to the front — bringing herself up to date.

This is all very well in its way, but to the thoughtful observer it is inadequate, one-sided, unsymmetrical. Along certain finer lines of development, such as beauty, culture and refinement, we are sadly lacking. Our machine-shops, factories, labor-saving tools, railroads and other means of communication, such as the electric telegraph and telephone, and electrical appliances generally are not matched by a mental, spiritual and esthetic progress. The activities have outgrown the finer things of life. The body has out-flourished the soul.

The course taken by our civilization since the war has been toward developing and perfecting the material contents of life; whereas the culture, the mind and heart, the esthetic and ethical nature of our people themselves have by no means progressed in the same degree. It has been a vulgar struggle, a spirit of plutocracy, in which, by slangy phrase, we are told to “join the procession,^’ to “be alive,” “hustle,” “catch on,” “get there, Eli.”

What was finest and best in the old Southern, colonial regime has been eliminated to make room for the materialistic spirit, and a very disagreeable atmosphere has been created for people who value the higher things of life more than money and vulgar display. We have drifted into materialism, a mere struggle for wealth. Money, the almighty dollar, is the circle within which everything moves, the center around which everything revolves. This is our aristocracy, the altar at which we bow, the purpose for which we are educated and live. All else, we are told, is mere sentiment, romance, impractical, “a back number.” Inventions, machinery, the forms of commerce and of finance, industrial training — all these forms of life have developed to an unprecedented degree; yet no one will assert that the mind, the soul, of our people has been thereby correspondingly refined, uplifted and spiritually enriched. The real refinement of living does not go along with this mad rush — certainly has not kept pace with it.

The refinement, manners and culture of today cannot compare favorably with those of former times; and it is certain that intellectual and social life generally has not reached so high a level as in the old colonial and old ante-bellum days. The American genius for beauty, culture, refinement and the fine arts has not kept pace with the advance of a mighty material progress.

Is humanity to be measured by wealth, by power, by material prosperity? We are told to get rich, to fight, to win the game to be smart, to use tact and be up to date. Are these worthy motives? Are the seeds of godlike power in them? There is a sensible debasement of tone, a lowering of our ideals, a marked decline in simplicity, purity and culture as compared with a few generations back. A lit- erary man and student of history gives it as his conviction that “our immediate generation has been sinking of late to meaner ideals, to coarser ways of life, to more vulgar types of literature and art, to more open craving after wealth, and to a more insolent assertion of pride and force.’ “Take the decade which closes the century,’ says Frederick Harrison, ‘can anyone pretend that it equals in power either of the middle decades of the century (1840-1860) in poetry, in literature, in science, in philosophy, in religions, and in manners?”

There needs to be a general awakening and revival along certain finer lines of thought and life. There never was a time in the history of our country when we needed so much to encourage a spirit of beauty, culture and refinement. We need to look to a greater dignity of citizenship, a larger and more fruitful culture, to the best that has been thought and said by the wise and great, and lived by the most refined and cultured. Something yet higher in pitch, and larger in scope, and finer in quality and tone, than this ultra-material progress, is needed to express the fulness of the American life, to voice the aspirations and thought of the American mind, and to perpetuate the memory and glory of American history. Let us pause in this busy rush to look backward once in a while. Speak to the past and it shall teach thee.

Lord, God of hosts, be with us yet. Lest we forget, lest we forget.

Published in Home and Flowers Magazine, March 1903

Generational rift, continued…

There’s a post here all about the boomers,– how I loathe that term! It originated with the lying media back in the 50s-60s and it’s been turned into the ultimate word of derision or accusation.

This is nothing new under the sun; many young people go through the phase of feeling contempt towards their progenitors, especially Mom and Dad. There is the resentment that often leads to the adolescent idea that “the older generation has messed up the world, and left it for US to clean up and to repair the damage THEY did. “

This is a trope in a lot of older movies, where the young see themselves as wiser than their “ignorant” parents, and include only people of their age cohort. But it used to be that young people outgrew that phase, and moved on to become adults. Now, becoming an adult is considered undesirable for some: it requires taking a share of responsiblity, rather than carping about others’ failures

But on it goes. The ‘Victim’ age cohort seems to be escalating the situation. And very few of the targets of the scapegoating are willing to speak up and defend themselves and their generational peers. Sad. But all the better for the ‘boomer’-fixated group to go on slandering and accusing and fostering more divisions. How does this help us to deal with the existential threat?

Answer: it doesn’t.

It does just the opposite: it divides so that there is no cohesion, no loyalty or kinship-feeling, all of which would be essential, if we want to avoid being consigned to oblivion.

There could and should be a book written about this situation, looking at the rift between the generations. I have to say that I have never seen this kind or this level of animus between generations. Other divisons in our society are nowhere near as bitter.

Paul Gottlieb in a comment somewhere spoke critically of WASPs (another group that is blamed for the current evils of our society). That seems to be driven by envy; most people who carry grievances about WASPs are just as irrational in their animosity as those who say openly that they wish the older people would hurry up and die. And the worst is that almost no one objects to the open hostiity. I think the elder generations are even more passive than the Post-WWII Generation in reacting to these verbal assaults.

But lo and behold: some Post-WWII generation members are showing a healthy reaction to being verbally assailed — as anyone should.

Of course there is little evidence that the accusations and the blaming are founded in any truth, but like their lefty counterparts, the aggrieved younger people don’t need to examine any evidence or to learn just how the whole system, especially the media and the schools — took a wrecking ball to our society.

And a great many people had a part in that; not just one generation. The world has never worked like that, with one generation in total control. In fact even now people of the pre-Boomer generations, like the Silent Generation, still sit in Congress, though most are octogenarians.

What do the grievance brigade have to show for the years since they came of age? The extent of activism amongst the X-ers was peace marches, and ‘Live Aid’ where they raised money for Ethiopia. And as a group they made major stars of the likes of Madonna, Boy George, and Michael Jackson. And did anyone notice the signs of our society becoming so corrupt then? It was becoming obvious. More than obvious. But “boomers” somehow were responsbile, of course.

Popular culture is a mirror or an indicator of the state of our society, which means our folk. Or can we even say we are a real ‘people’ now? Feminists pushing their envy-based agenda, men who (maybe righfully) shun women in general. And now many of the young, or middle-aged, have disavowed their elders.

I expect the same people who have been pushing the fictional narrative about ”Boomers” will continue to curse the older generations (and wishing them dead is a curse) but it will do nothing to heal the ills of this world we live in. It’s a dead end. And resentment and envy of those who are accused of “having it too easy” — living in luxury, supposedly, living on the ”inheritance” of their children — It is just not so. It’s a fabrication, but it’s somehow been adopted by the young ‘right’ as the justification for hating their elders.

I don’t know how many of the daddy-haters profess to be Christian, but if so they need to educate themselves about how Christians are to behave towards their parents, grandparents, and all elders. Hating one’s elders cannot be reconciled with being a Christian.

It’s been said that the measure of how civilized a people might be is to consider how they treat the weakest members: children, and our elders. It seems the people of today’s America have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.

Of course it’s about politics, but…

As this faux-impeachment business plods on, the Townhall blog has a piece which, among other things, compares two female politicians, the leftist Rashida Tlaib and former South Carolina governor Nimrata Randhawa ‘Nikki’ Haley.

Tlaib, shortly after being sworn into office, promised that she and the other Democrat congressmen/persons were going to try to remove President Trump from office. On what grounds? After all, there have to be appropriate reasons. Under Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the House alone has the power to impeach, and Article 3 specifies that the Senate is the body which has the power to try an impeached President — impeachment means only that formal charges have been brought by the House. Article 3 states, as to the legal grounds on which a President may be impeached, besides treason and bribery, ”…or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The phrase ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ is carried over from English law, and I think there is a lot of obfuscation among American politicians about the actual meaning of those terms in the present context. I won’t attempt to go into that; I’m neither a lawyer nor a legal scholar. I do remember that there was considerable quarreling between Democrats and Republicans over the meaning of the terms back when Clinton was impeached in the late 1990s. Recently I read an article where the argument was made that Clinton was only accused of ‘sexual’ misbehavior,and the Democrats insisted that his offenses (if any) weren’t impeachable. But no mention was made of ‘Chinagate’ — how many living American have ever heard of that term? The left did a very effective job of keeping the American public in the dark about the transactions between BJC and China, involving illegal fundraising and also certain improvements in Chinese military capabilities.

But then as the complicit media, acting in concert as usual with the left, managed to keep the majority of the American public ignorant of these things. The L.A. Times here told the public that Chinagate was ‘A Figment of Imaginations’.

And what about the figments of the left’s wild imaginations, the supposed ‘collusion’ with Russia and now with Ukraine? The media’s ”news” is almost 100 percent ‘figments of imaginations’. Or do the controlled media even imagine these things they report or allege? I don’t think it’s imagination as much as knowingly false allegations and accusations — utterly cynical and calculating, meant only to stifle anything that doesn’t support the left’s dogmas and falsehoods.

The article from Townhall, in its quote from Rashida Tlaib’s promise to impeach the President, deletes one of the words used by Tlaib. She is quoted as saying “We’re gonna impeach the (expletive).” What did she say? If it was bad enough to be deleted in this age of ‘anything goes’, in this age of brazen profanity, it must have been pretty offensive.

This, as much as anything else, is what I find so appalling about the degradation of our public sphere, the lack of standards, the lack of civility, the plain old lack of ”class” in 21st century life. The ostensible right used to be ‘classier’, more gentlemanly (and ladylike: remember Phyllis Schlafly?) Maybe this too is a product of the changing generations, the changing of the guard.

The younger generations deplore the weakness of the GOP establishment, the fake ‘conservatives’, who never conserve anything, as people say, but the latest initiatives of the politically correct/globalist left. Carleton Putnam, who was an early foe of what we now call political correctness or Cultural Marxism, used the phrase ‘castrated conservatives’ to describe the spineless ‘right’. So today’s young critics are right to deplore and despise the fake right, but the old right has made these same criticisms for a long time.

The old Paleocons were very critical of mainstream ‘conservatism’ and the GOP. There is a way to be tough, uncompromising (and uncompromised) without being effete and spineless and craven, which is what today’s mainstream ”right” is. Or maybe they are so far gone that they don’t even realize that they are liberals in all but name — with their crawling political correctness and their embracing of every misguided or malevolent initiative by the left.

But foul language, and embracing the gutter culture of the times is not necessary in order to be strong or tough. Being profane and crude, and adopting the retrograde cultural norms of the left is not a necessary part of being tough or strong.

I think culture is far more important than many people realize. Politics as such is not the be-all and end-all. What good is it if we win political battles but we still have to live in a gutter society? Will anyone ever have the nerve and the will to try to reverse all the cultural changes for the worse that have come mostly from ‘pop culture’, even more than by political action?

One further observation about the article from Townhall: the article contrasts Nikki Haley (she who oversaw the removal of the CSA flag from the state offices in South Carolina) with Rashida Tlaib. Haley, according to the Townhall article, is a ‘Woman of Color.’ But look at her official picture online. She looks European, though she was born in India. It’s a stretch to call her a person ‘of color’ but then she chooses that identity, and in fact she plays the ‘race card’. She says that her immigrant family felt the ”pain” of being treated as being different. Well, that’s as may be, but it appears that they — and she — choose to identify as ”Other” and to play the race card, implying mistreatment by Whites. It’s the same with the overwhelming majority of Republicans ”of color” — they have their little stories of being treated badly, and in that way enforce the official narrative of White Guilt. As such they are apparently in the Republican Party to remind ”conservatives” that we do in fact have sins for which we have to atone, and then obedient ‘conservatives’ vote for them, reinforcing the guilt narrative. We should vote on merit only and keep in mind that ‘Others’ will likely never see the world as we do, and that voting to assuage any guilt we may feel is always a bad idea.

And, in an impeachment vote, would Nikki Haley vote with the other ‘POCs’ in Congress or can she really identify with the rest of us?

I am not a big fan of President Trump but this spurious impeachment business is just wrong, and in general everything the not-so-honorable opposition is doing is unlawful, unethical, unholy, and just plain malicious.