Hey Mr DJ: Culture Clash Edition

As some of you know, I’m very interested in Generational Theory as described in The Fourth Turning by Strauss & Howe. The intricacies of their writings are a bit too much to detail here, but as early as 1997 they clearly saw what we were heading for. The future they predicted is happening now and it is as bad as they thought. In fact, worse is coming. Much worse. We cannot stop it, but we can avoid prolonging it.

The authors described the era of their time as a Third Turning, an Unraveling, a cyclical period in which the social order begins to fall apart. Strauss and Howe called that era the Culture Wars and forecast that as the Baby Boomers rose into the senior leadership of the nation, they would wage it as a continuation of the great social issues of the 60’s. And how they did.

The authors saw that America would remain divided on social and economic issues until our society was no longer able to resolve any problem. The result would be a devaluation of assets, national debt, and other upheaval as parties serve their own interests and bicker too much to stop any of it. It would lead to a Crisis period, or Fourth Turning where everything is broken apart and remade. Previous Fourth Turnings included the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Depression/WW2 eras. Yeah. It’s going to be that kind of decade.

In 2008, the surviving author Neil Howe pronounced that the Great Devaluation had begun. We are early in a Fourth Turning area that will see a radically different America by the time it ends, sometime in the 2020’s.

Anyway, it’s a fascinating book.

One characteristic of a Crisis period is that as the greater problems facing society become more daunting, the small, previously unsolvable issues become manageable by comparison. The Culture War issues are already starting to either resolve themselves or take a back seat. The best example is probably our society’s complete reversal on gay marriage over less than a decade.

See how the Boy Scouts finally dropped their objection to admitting openly gay members. Similarly, we await a Supreme Court verdict that may spell the death of the Defense of Marriage Act as well, making this the greatest year in the history of gay Americans since track lighting was inventedsince the first male masseuse filed a complaint against John Travoltasince Magic Johnson cured AIDS…ever.

Abortion continues to dominate the battlefield. The federal courts chose to protect Planned Parenthood’s funding, but the states are still finding ways to kill it with a thousand cuts. The Gosnell trial may have had an impact in altering the public’s perceptions, but it’s too soon to tell.

The Supreme Court (which, as an institution is mostly to blame for the Culture Wars, in my opinion) is also set to rule on Affirmative Action. Who knows what to expect?

We also have guns, church and state separation, drugs (a lot of movement happening there at the state level), birth control, and on and on. I believe that all of these issues will be decisively resolved within 15 years, for better or for worse. It’s not that we will so much change our minds on things, we just won’t be interested in fighting over it anymore. Bigger fish to fry and all that.

The paralysis in government and the chaos that is ruling the news are there because Americans have not accepted the Crisis stage and still want to cling to the simplistic comforts of the Culture Wars. Democrats won in 2012 by scaring the bejeezus out of women and minorities on old Culture War issues. Conservatives didn’t turn out to vote because they couldn’t support the Mormon. Am I simplifying? Probably, but does any serious person truly believe that America chose to keep Obama in the White House, the Democrats in the Senate, and GOP in the House because they thought that was the answer to the debt and deficit crises, bankrupting of Social Security, or any other problem that is gazing right at us? Fear of The Other and apathy won the day.

This is why I was so despondent after Election Day. It’s not because “my guy” lost. It’s because the American people showed that they are going to let it all keep slipping out of control, because they won’t acknowledge the real threats and stop bitch-slapping each other until they’re forced to.

We have to start finding common ground, folks. I know some people would rather let it all burn than work with the other side, but that’s what it is going to take. We need a realignment. We need to find a consensus.

So here’s your chance to get the Culture War out of your system. Let’s have:

1. Sounds of the Third Turning: Music from 1984-2008. Particularly that which really captures the death of the American dream, culture clashing, and decadence.

2. Culture Warriors: Artists who are known as lighting rods for social issues. Lady Gaga is a good one.

3. You Have Issues: Songs about any Culture War issue you can think of. Race, religion, abortion, homosexuality…

Bankruptcy Bonus: Songs that truly captured the spirits of their eras. They saw things as they were and spoke up about it. We really need that now.

Oh, and in true RTFLC tradition, I encourage everyone to support their selections with outrageous personal insults whenever possible. We never merely argue explosive social issues with reason and logic do we, you dicks?

Biggie G, have some white boy blues, you neck-bearded hipster. Sums up how I feel about our current state: Everything is Broken by Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

Mississippi Yankee, you should enjoy this, you tea-bagging jarhead: Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other by Ned Sublette

Santino, ah, I just can’t do it. I’ve even learned to accept your lifestyle choice of enjoying Oasis. You’re too good-natured for this blog: Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis

InsipiD, you are a straight-shooting gentleman and I cannot find fault with you for anything except that time you lost an arm-wrestling match with Rachel Maddow’s clitoris. Let’s be friends: Sexuality by K.D. Lang

stogy, if I thought that Eric Holder needed to be circumcised, I’d simply kick you in the jaw and have it done. Let’s destroy the institution of marriage: Divorce Song by Liz Phair

pfluffy, you once believed that Barack Obama was an acceptable libertarian alternative to Ron Paul once he bowed out of the GOP primary. Just let that settle in. It will start to sting shortly. This is a great Third Turning band: A Drug Against War by KMFDM

WVR…Damn you. Just damn you. Bodies by The Sex Pistols

Iconoclast, you forgot to post a song last week, you bloviating theocrat! But I’ll let you have a dedication anyway: Theologians by Wilco

DJ Thread Subpoena: I summon dakrat. A powerful culture warrior, this one.

This week also proved to be a great personal milestone for me. It held the first thread in which one of my comments was downvoted into oblivion, despite my best efforts to upvote myself on as many computers as I could log onto. Remarkable, given my astonishingly high personal popularity around here. Proof, if proof were needed, that I remain the most divisive individual in the annals of RTFLC. Seriously: You guys are pricks.

Comments are closed.

  1. Thrill *

    WVR, only you could fail so utterly by choosing Madonna and not playing Papa Don’t Preach.

    Here is a truly beautiful song of the Unraveling:

    Thumb up 1

  2. Santino

    You’ve been on a comedy roll that last couple of days. Thanks for that!!!! And once MY removes the pickle from his ass I’m sure he’ll appreciate it as well (see I CAN do it!)

    #3 Race – Mr. Cab Driver (this would have been an excellent selection for the bassist desires thread).

    #1, 2, and maybe bonus – Material Girl

    Thumb up 3

  3. Mississippi Yankee

    The Supreme Court (which, as an institution is mostly to blame for the Culture Wars, in my opinion) is also set to rule on Affirmative Action. Who knows what to expect?

    Don’t think 9 unelected Judge Dredd wannabes will give any unexpected rulings. So in that respect here’s one for #1 and #3

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdT8jzQrxkM

    Youtube has PC’d it’s landscape and although this song fits “your” criteria the more fitting song was “Damn I Wish I Was A Ni**er”, also by David Allen Coe.

    Hate Away

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  4. Mississippi Yankee

    In a sorta reverse Bankruptcy Bonus

    Santino, you have no earthly idea how much I detest pickles of any kind :-)

    Thumb up 2

  5. pfluffy

    pfluffy, you once believed that Barack Obama was an acceptable libertarian alternative to Ron Paul once he bowed out of the GOP primary. Just let that settle in. It will start to sting shortly.

    Actually, T4T helped to divest myself of the cognitive dissonance quite awhile ago. It stung quite a bit to have to acknowledge that, while my birth year virtually requires me to think in libertarian terms, it is not necessarily a valid philosophy for effective governance (basically, without rules, people act like roving packs of feral dogs). I have also divested myself of the notion that we need an “intellectual” in the White House. Thinkers are great, but they don’t do.

    In the meantime, I have freed myself to ponder important issues such as … What is this guy going to do in the conformist 1T? http://tosh.comedycentral.com/blog/2013/05/30/yee-haw?xrs=synd_facebook

    Eye bleach is on aisle six.

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  6. Thrill *

    Hey, some of these are really pointed. Very nice.

    I’m LOVING the Public Enemy. Thanks for that, you two.

    The New Radicals

    It was a great song for defining the late 90’s. Just weird that it sounds so 80’s. And can I point out how funny he sounds when he says: “We’ll kick your asssssses”. I can’t help but think it came across as less tough than he hoped.

    Actually, T4T helped to divest myself of the cognitive dissonance quite awhile ago.

    Oh, yes. That book totally changed the way I look at politics, news, the entertainment media, and even child-rearing, Every day, it seems like I see something that S&H predicted for us 15 years ago and I just say, “Yep.”

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  7. Thrill *

    This one is almost trite, but I remember this being the song that always seemed to be playing as the Soviet Empire crumbled.

    Thumb up 1

  8. pfluffy

    This one captures #1, 3 and the bonus. It could be #2 if you count Layne Staley as poster child for the crazy heroin fad of the 90’s.

    “Name your God and bleed the freak.” Sounds like your average Boomer.

    Thumb up 3

  9. InsipiD

    I thought about it and I’ll throw another one in the mix, as a culture clash and belated protest song: 19 by Paul Hardcastle.

    Thumb up 0

  10. Mississippi Yankee

    Pluffy, I used David Allen Coe songs to make a point using Thrill’s criteria. Nothing more. And yes I do know him, he was a very good customer when I was in the casino industry here in Mississippi.

    Charles Manson, on the other hand, scared the shit out of me. I was a half of a world away when TWO incredible things happened in August 1969, 1) the Manson family murdered Sharon Tate et al… and 2) my first child was born. And I was helpless to change the outcome of one or witness the miracle of the other. I’ll let you decide which was which.

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  11. pfluffy

    Pluffy, I used David Allen Coe songs to make a point using Thrill’s criteria. Nothing more. And yes I do know him, he was a very good customer when I was in the casino industry here in Mississippi.

    Charles Manson fits the criteria as well, as does pushing your buttons :^). I referenced your earlier post because of the PC comment and that Manson was actually racist.

    Of course, I only vaguely remember the Manson murders. I was five.

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  12. Thrill *

    They left this family man’s stuff for you

    I see what you did there.

    Gen X in the 2nd Turning, pfluffy.:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUwjNBjqR-c

    Looking at it again, it almost looks like the son becomes a 4T Gen Xer. Work is a hassle, but he is also minding the sick kids.

    Unless he’s lying and just doesn’t want to see his dad. That would be pretty typical too.

    Thumb up 1

  13. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast, you forgot to post a song last week, you bloviating theocrat!

    Well, Santino kind of beat me to the punch, and posted the very song I would have.

    My initial offering for this week…

    Thumb up 1

  14. Santino

    My apologies to Iconoclast for apparently getting into his head the last couple of weeks.

    Here’s a little #2 and bonus. One of those songs I will never get bored of, and still get goose bumps on the opening riff.

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  15. Iconoclast

    I cannot believe I let such a golden opportunity pass me by…

    Iconoclast, you forgot to post a song last week, you bloviating theocrat!

    Well, Santino kind of beat me to the punch, and posted the very song I would have, you humorless shit!

    There — fixed it… ;-)

    Thumb up 1