One theme I keep coming back to in this blog is an annoyance at the notion that there was some perfect yesterday from which we are in decline. I notice it probably most often in those seemingly evergreen pieces that bemoan the state of “kids these days.”
Doghouse Riley takes down Maureen Dowd who apparently wrote one of those “things fall apart” columns in relation to the Jerry Sandusky matter. She suggests that our “formerly hallowed institutions” are sinking into a moral dystopia; leaving our sense of right and wrong more malleable. To which Doghouse responds:
Listen, I dunno about you, but I was filled to dyspepsia with mid-range Boomers like Dowd pretending there were such things as hallowed institutions and icons in their (my) youth, which have mysteriously sunk into anything in the interim, around two decades ago. Pius the Fucking Twelfth for the win, MoDo. These institutions were hallowed-out by the end of the 19th century. Did two World Wars escape your notice growing up? Maybe they weren’t routinely ignoring boy-buggering football coaches at Penn State in the 1950s. Would you care to guarantee it?
(Internal link added). This notion that humans have been in a state of decline since being ousted from Eden drives me nuts. It’s a kind of fatalism that’s frequently used to blame other (presumably lesser) people for things you don’t like. It allows you to sit on your ass, do nothing to change yourself or those around you, and bask in your moral superiority.
Humanity is not entirely good or entirely evil. We have a stunning array of coalitions of the two, both within ourselves and among others. Those coalitions are constantly regrouping, preserving, destroying and building. And if you think that, at one time, there was a center holding it together, that’s because you weren’t stepping back far enough to have much perspective. Like thinking the earth is the center because you have no notion of the sun or that the sun is the center because you have no notion of the galaxy, and on and on.
The kids are all right.