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To be fair, I'd turn off the comments if I wrote an essay on the Israeli Palestine conflict. No good can come of it.

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Obviously this-gender medicine for children is the biggest medical scandal of our times but if you talk about it it must be because you are some gay hating evangelical.

I have had peers tell me the only reason I care is because I am getting old. I am the same age as them but the difference is I am a parent and they aren't. Like this literally affects my child and the children around him. I fucking care.

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Ugh, phrases like "why are you so obsessed with kid's genitalia" (gender stuff) or "why are you so obsessed with kid's movies" (anything regarding characters getting race and gender swapped) are so frustrating - they discount honest observations, and they imply that the observer is creepy or motivated by some prurient interest in a thing that is obviously, clearly interesting in itself if you are not wearing ideological blinders.

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Vlad, I've seen that you're a regular commenter for many months; are you just pretending to not understand or not remember that our host decreed that nobody bring this topic up in comments sections? The parameters of his demand are, like, pretty simple and consistent over more than a year.

Sorry if this comes across as blunt, but I really see no need for us to bring upon ourselves another frustrated talking-to and closing-down of comments sections.

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I get that you deliberately saw your parent comment as representing something distinct, more of a "meta-commentary" on the trans discourse, and maybe there is more subtlety to the rule than I thought. But I think you're playing with fire here, and at least one of the other commenters under your parent comment more clearly *do* seem to have crossed Freddie's line.

I think part of my concern is that I feel it just makes us all look dumb as a whole if we collectively can't seem to understand or respect (what honestly has always sounded like) a very simple request, however much we may agree or disagree with the reasonableness of it.

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Freddie's thesis that everything matters kind of deliciously runs against his policing of the comments.

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> You can disagree profoundly with Bazelon's article without saying that her interest in the topic is so inexplicable that it must have malign, hidden motivations. That's the phenomenon I was addressing.

I'm pretty sure this is why this comment and its replies haven't been nuked. I cannot read Freddie's mind, but I would guess from what I've read from him that he's just as irritated, if not more so, to see the "why do you care" argumentation used to defend points he agrees with. If you truly care about a cause, you should want its activists to have better arguments than "wHy dO yOu CaRe"!

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Wait, we're not allowed to talk about that entire hot mess of a topic? I only recently subscribed and didn't know that was forbidden. Seems weird. But nearly every Substack author has their thing that sets them off, so I guess that's Freddie's?

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What's unfortunate is there's no FAQ that lays out the ground rules so new subscribers can easily stumble into a mine field.

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It got into endless angry loops. Freddie shut it down because the entire discourse, no matter what the subject got infected. I'm glad he's been strict. I love good discussion, especially with people who have different perspectives, but rudeness and disrespect drives me away.

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Likewise "that isn't happening, and it's good that it is".

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Also "this isn't happening, and you noticing that it's happening says something bad about you, and when it happens it will be good, but no, no, no, it's not happening."

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If we simultaneously acknowledge that A: you're right and B: it matters, then we have to contend with the fact that C: we (as individuals) can't do anything about it - no one of us (particularly those of us without "platforms," without audiences to influence) can meaningfully change the paradigm. As you've pointed out, the social costs of opposing the cultural juggernaut you've identified here are ruinous. Human beings don't like feeling powerless in the face of destructive forces, so the tendency is simply to deny A or B.

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Students on campus have, since the beginning of time, had radical and frequently stupid / misguided views. Only in the last 6-10 years did the adults in the room hand students the keys to the castle and give them carte blanche to get people fired and suppress other viewpoints.

I guess my question is, what changed? Internet/Social media? The answer can’t just be Trump, since there was equal amounts of hatred for Bush in the 2000’s but the establishment didn’t abdicate their responsibilities then.

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RemovedNov 1, 2023·edited Nov 1, 2023
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Nov 1, 2023·edited Nov 1, 2023

I also think there's an absolutely enormous fear of growing old from the new generations, and it's not just the normal effects of aging either.

Instead, it's the idea that young = progressive = good, and old = conservative = bad. These people are utterly fucking TERRIFIED of reaching an age where the youth look at them and see an old conservative. So they double down on the "the kids will save us" mentality.

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This is a great point.

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I don’t know about professors so much, but I agree re: the kids will save us. It’s more like, “well, we’ve lived our lives, now it’s your turn” bullshit that totally washes hands of responsibility for the cataclysm that they created in their “good times make weak men” moment in the sun

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Definitely read "TERRFIED" as "TERFIFIED" which would probably also work in this context 😂

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It's ridiculous. "Let's argue about cancelling ideas from the Enlightenment as if we'd just heard of them and have not benefitted from them our whole lives."

My argument against postmodernism back in the 90s was that it left nowhere to go. I still think these youngsters are proving that.

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You can always go back to the beginning - APES TOGETHER STRONG

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These people are postmodernists the same way a fanfiction writer is an author: they use the tools the original authors created to do things that interest them but were not, in fact, within the original vision of the work. Unless I misunderstand Foucault, he was rather *against* categorizing people. I think he, at least, would be vehemently against identitarianism. He saw such things as a means to exert power over people (which, well, is exactly how it is being used by contemporary social justice advocates -- a tool to exert power over culture, and thus, fellow humans). The very idea of identitarian politics is exactly a meta-narrative: the kind of thing postmodernism is supposed to be skeptical about.

Maybe I'm wrong about this. And I'm almost certainly too interested in it at the expense of larger points.

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I sometimes boggle at the fact that postmodern relativism morphed into the most dogmatic and Manichean worldview this side of Evangelical Christianity.

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I agree that there's less willingness to tell students directly that they're wrong. But I think part of the issue is that more and more professors are contract workers or older TT workers who could be easily forced into retirement. They're more expendable than the students' tuition dollars.

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Some of the things I've read (I wish I could remember the references) seemed to suggest that the administrators were *worse* than the professors in this regard; it's not that they lost their willingness to criticize students; it's that they were the leaders in the issue. I don't mean, say, the Dean, but rather, many of the people in the Dean's office and many of the other functionaries hired to carry out Bureaucratic Tasks X and Y.

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If you watch popular media the constant refrain is that the kids are always right and parents/adults are wrong and misguided. Almost every family drama has heartfelt apologies by parents to kids, even when the kids have been total jerks.

Just think of how many parents you know who are doormats. Read the parenting advise in the NYT and its all about bowing down to your kids wants and desires. If you just give them what they "need" everything will be great. WRONG.

Parents need to take back their power and quit apologizing about it. (Unless you've been a total shithead. I have apologized to my kids when that's been the case.) If I accept the responsibility for your actions, then you must accept my authority.

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DEFINITELY internet/social media, coupled with the portability of smartphones. Think of how easy it is to whip up angry mobs digitally.

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I think the Academy changed too - I've said it before, but my Sociology 101 class was basically a call to activism over the course of the semester. I think the complete domination of Theory-informed humanities has hollowed out real critical thinking, leaving instrumental political uses or critiques of the identity matrix of the author/artist as the only profitable topics for students to discuss regarding art and literature.

If you teach two generations of elite young people that they're in a war against the cthonic forces of revanchist hitlerism as expressed in such vile figures as... Um... Mitt Romney, who will reintroduce slavery, they are more likely to be thick skulled partisan functionaries who are more interested in winning than in understanding.

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I dunno, reminds me of the political correctness wars of the late 1980s early 1990s.

What ended that struggle was the election of Bill Clinton, who most definitely didn't seek to overturn the status quo, so seeking to do so was seen as opposing St. Bill.

Similarly, the election of St. Obama and his espousal and expansion of America's wars of aggression did more to neuter the antiwar movement than anything Dick Cheney could have done if he were named Grand Potentate, Generalissmo and Maximum Leader For Life.

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Schroedinger's drones: you don't know if they're good or evil without knowing the partisan affiliation of the observer and the partisan affiliation of the current president.

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Phoebe Maltz Bovy did a deep dive on a satirical book on Political Correctness from the early ‘90s, and noted that the difference was the breezy mockery of the concept back then, so I don’t think Clinton ended it as much as it just didn’t take outside of the Antiochs and Oberlins of the country.

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I dunno, it seemed like a hot topic at the University of Iowa at the time.

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I think Iowa gets honorary elite status because of their writer's workshop? I remember that being a really big deal among my aspiring author friends.

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Clinton famously flew back to his home state of Arkansas to oversee the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, who was so deeply brain damaged that he saved the dessert from his last meal for "after the execution". He also publicly attacked Sista Souljah for her racial rhetoric. Why? Because the D's were tired of losing and he didn't want to be outflanked from the right.

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People weren’t getting fired in the 90s, and if someone did then it took longer for people to find out about it (and realize an example had been made), or they didn’t find out about it at all.

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You're right, as far as I recall, but that wasn't my point.

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People were indeed getting fired in the 90s and for wildly unfair things. Cf the guy who got fired for using the word "niggardly".

States that chose not to make MLK day a holiday were penalized by college sports teams picking tournament locations.

Probably more, that's just from memory.

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Similar dynamic regarding the deregulation of derivatives under Clinton, and the resulting bailouts under Obama.

Had a Republican been president when TARP paid off Goldman's billions worth of bets with their bookie (AIG), the liberal base would have been much more vocal - although given the level of bipartisan capture and corruption, I suspect the outcome would have been the same.

However, i do think the roles have been reversed somewhat, in that the grassroots left have become much more accepting of corruption by Democrat pols, so long as they fight on the "correct" side of the wedge issues of abortion, guns, immigration, and redistribution.

The apparent switch of the grassroots Democrats from being reflexively anti-war to reflexively pro-war and pro-establishment on many issues is - as you point out - rather astonishing.

I attribute this in large part to the fear mongering and reflexive opposition to any position held by Trump, and the strong "Simon says" training the public has been subjected to regarding mindless support for the groupthink around anti-Trump, then Covidism, then BLM / George Floyd, then Trans, etc

Anyone who dares to disobey the mob - pays an immediate and heavy price, regardless of how absurd the demands of the mob.

And yet many still haven't figured out "who are the baddies?" In the debate about free speech...

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Great post. IME politics and social justice also serves as a kind of cheap carbohydrate in a degree, everyone will talk about it and engage and debate, even if they're not actually learning anything, so you don't really need to teach quite so much or have professors who can teach or want to teach.

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I was just thinking about this today, it’s actually hinted at by Freddie in the beginning of this article.

One of the express purposes of Critical Pedagogy (formulated by Critical Theorists such as Paulo Freire and Peter McLaren, promulgated by bell hooks and others of the like) is the radicalization of the classroom. One of the standing criticism of this method of instruction is that it operates as a form of propagandizing, roughly speaking.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s impossible to engage in critical pedagogy or with critical theory responsibly, I find the broadly summarized perspective and trajectory or Peter McLaren’s thought quite interesting and compelling. But, what is likely happening is that these “Theory-informed” humanities classrooms really are operating as catalyst-points for disseminating ideological propaganda that aligns with the instructor’s pedagogical views. This is what has given rise to the prominence of the Postmodern/Poststructuralist philosophy, Critical Theory-derived critiques of our sociopolitical economy, and otherwise abstract-boutique politics that dominate our contemporary intelligentsia class and media as a consequence.

Interestingly, this can be related back to the question Freddie is posing here: who is willing to engage with the current conditions of our sociopolitical economy? Not the people who are pushing the kind of ideological propaganda that is vying for control and power over said economy, at least when they’re being dishonest about their intentions. I thankfully avoided a majority of this behavior in my IR program (but it was definitely present in my Sociology 101 course) and unfortunately less so in my Music Performance Masters, but I ran into it full-force once I began to spend more time online after 2020’s Covid hit.

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The interesting thing is that the takeover only worked because it was coming from the inside - as someone else mentioned, if the pedagogy being promoted was Mormon pedagogy or Dominionist pedagogy, it would be drowned in the crib with ten thousand gallons of ink from every mainstream news outlet.

Also kind of terrifying to think that this is really just beginning, there's a whole new generation being schooled under this new paradigm, and the results seem to be a lot of kids who can't read, write, or do math.

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I was in college 20 years ago. I watched the Twin Towers fall from a dorm room. My Pennsylvania state college was INCREDIBLY conservative. Evangelical Christians were everywhere, people supported going to war. The discussions in my Poli Sci classes post 9/11 involved people saying things like "Maybe some races really are superior" so no, college wasn't always this way, outside of the most elite colleges.

I first encountered all of these ideas after graduation because I went onto to working in progressive politics. At my first job most of the young people I worked with went to Swarthmore, I felt so out of place because I worked full time to put myself through public school and here were these kids from rich families using terms I never used but I wanted to fit in so I adopted them...my initial gut feeling was right though.

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First thought: there's somewhere in PA that you could see the Twin Towers? Did New Jersey just move out of the way?

Oh wait. TV. But that New Jersey idea...

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I grew up on the other side of the Delaware River and like NJ a good deal.

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I too like NJ, but it might be the coolest state if it gained the ability to just move around at will.

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What also changed is college affordability and dwindling state funding for higher ed. Universities simply can't afford to lose students anymore, the competition for their tuition dollars is just too great. They are seen mostly as customers now, and admins will bend over backwards to keep their customers happy.

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This is not an accurate description of elite universities or even reasonably selective universities. They can absolutely afford to lose quite a few students and routinely reject large numbers of students with credentials identical to the students they admit. If what you were saying was true, they would dich needs blind admissions. They haven't. Also, you can tell from the essay options they are actively soliciting the very type of students we are talking about in order to prioritize their admission over less damaged people.

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I wasn't really talking about elite institutions, they can afford to be picky.

I'm talking about your average state college. I work at one and I can tell you that when enrollment dips even 2-3% for a few semesters, admin goes into panic mode. Programs get slashed, wages stagnate, even some jobs get cut. They even hire private marketing consultants to try and 'fix' the problem. My own university has recently begun the process of getting rid of out-of-state tuition entirely to try and get more students. It's not inaccurate.

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Agreed. As Freddie often argues, we vastly overestimate the number of students that attend selective universities. Now, the cultural mimesis he's talking about in this specific article does stem from those elite institutions, but if we're making a broader argument about the lack of challenge to students' opinions then the student-as-customer aspect definitely plays a role here.

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This is slicing pretty fine, but I think upon investigation you might find that a lot of the more provocative social justice ideas were actually coming out of middle-upper tier universities and smaller liberal arts schools, rather than the truly elite and Ivy-adjacent schools (Peggy Macintosh of “white privilege” University of Denver; bell hooks, USC, Oberlin, and Berea College; Judith Butler, UC Berkeley; Ibram X Kendi, SUNY and American University in DC).. And there’s a reason for this. Academics who want to make the jump to more lucrative visiting prof gigs or get their own endowed chair (or a whole “center”) are incentivized to make more “disruptive” and seemingly revolutionary claims about their own disciplines. One has to keep in mind that profs at pretty good or even quite good schools often carry around a huge chip on their shoulders that they’re not at Yale, et al.

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I think you're right, the small liberal arts colleges ™️ were the pioneers, and this was reinforced by the fact that elite boarding schools/private schools hire overwhelmingly from the Middleburys, Williamses, and Dickinsons of the world, meaning that the new freshmen at Ivies and little Ivies were already fully primed for THEORY when they arrived.

E.g., I went to a pretty selective boarding school as a freshman in 2001, and we learned about the death of the author, reading texts in isolation, etc. our Freshman year. We got postcolonial theory Junior year. I have some older friends who were in grad school at state universities at the same time, and were basically getting the same curriculum there as we were in high school.

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I think part of the answer also lies in the significantly different relationships that now exist between colleges and students/parents. I understand that universities have always had to market themselves and compete for students. But it’s a different market now than it was 30+ years ago. In this market power where universities are compelled to build amenities that make old style campus dorms look like halfway houses, students have the consumer power to practically dictate the terms for what college experience they are willing to pay for (or have paid for them.)

College leftists have been insufferable since there have been college leftists. But now they have real power.

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I think it is social media. The way social media works it ends up filling in opinions for people before they actually have a chance to decide for themselves. The way they are set up it is almost impossible to not end up in some sort of bubble/echo chamber. So you quickly get the talking points from whatever group you closely associate with, and even if you disagree, you will likely end up not voicing it so you don't get yelled at.

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I brought this up because without the benefit of hindsight, dismissing campus craziness as unimportant in say, 2014 was a perfectly reasonable viewpoint. I don’t think anybody predicted the abject failure of campus administrations (and subsequently media CEO’s) to do their jobs.

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I think it's a combination of social media and the utter collapse of most other "normal" media that gave such power to increasingly small, increasingly passionate groups. Suddenly, with the remaining elite media filling with elite college grads, and all of them being dragged by the anchor of social media, the boss was only reading articles that confirmed the opinions of these younger social justice advocates, and it became increasingly difficult to resist without being dogpiled on social media, and impressive dogpiles can result from a relatively small number of actual people being upset.

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Do you think this was inevitable?

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I think absent some significant counterpush (either in the form of arguments or events), culture follows the path of least resistance. Inevitable? Mostly yes. I couldn't say just what might have changed it, beyond our entire communications technology not upending the entire sense-making industry while *also* providing easy discovery and organization tools for small but extreme positions. Perhaps if some 9/11-level or pandemic-level disaster had occurred during this time that pushed us into some other path, we could have avoided being specifically where we are now, but I think we'd still be in a place where passionate radicals are pulling the center apart.

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So how do we avoid making the same error again? What larger social dynamic does this illustrate?

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I don’t know, that’s why I asked the question about what had changed. One theory is that activists found highly effective new ways to exert power using social media, and perhaps even they were surprised at how well it worked. If this is the case, then we may just need to foster better social immunity to such exertions of power.

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Nov 1, 2023·edited Nov 1, 2023

I think the difference is that the speed and how far-reaching the ideas are has greatly expanded due to the internet. It was way harder for a crazy idea to spread say in the 60s on a campus, because A) There was no internet B) The mass media was confined to a few TV/radio stations and newspapers C) The vast majority of people did not go to college and therefore would not be exposed to the ideas and even the ones that did attend college could easily not be exposed to a crazy idea due to A & B. Pre-internet, you also had to be charismatic and articulate enough to sell your idea and get people behind it. Now, anybody can post online and be available to the entire planet. Also more and more of the population is attending college, coupled with internet access.

The whole selling point of college that has been pushed for the last 50 years to kids is that a college degree with give them opportunities for advancement and access to leadership roles/power and an ability to apply the lessons/ideas they learned in college.

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Trump was a factor. Even if Trump had identical policies to Bush, he'd be more hated by the type of people that work in college administration. He's viscerally disgusting (to them) on a personal level.

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Sometime in 2018 I was telling my mom about all the out-of-control angry SJW stuff I was seeing, and her response was usually something like "But it's just online stuff. It's not real life."

And then 2020 happened. Oops.

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I get so frustrated with this argument. How can you possibly have this response? Maybe if you go to a church every Sunday and see mostly older people. But everyone else? Not a chance.

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There are a lot of us older people who've been off social media and really are out of it. This is an alien world, both the SJW stuff and the GOP right wing stuff. The ten percent on the ends of the spectrum are pushing everything to extremes and knocking common sense all to hell.

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It doesn't matter until it does, and then it's too late.

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Freddie, I am a new subscriber. I would very much like to read what you’ve written about kids and depression. Is it too much trouble for you to point me to those?

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Kaighleigh lol 😂

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Nov 1, 2023·edited Nov 1, 2023

Trunk or Treat sucks. I had assumed it was for narcissistic parents who wanted to show off their kids-in-costume (also, a substantial number of young parents wear costumes to these events) to their preferred peer group (who likely did not live in adjacent houses) but I'm guessing you're right that it boils down to perceived "safety" for many.

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Nov 1, 2023·edited Nov 1, 2023

I think it can be both. My perception of safetyism is that it serves its stated purpose - keeping a child bubble-wrapped until they don't know how to cope with anything - but it's also an effective way to gain social status in certain groups. "I do this for my kids, and I'm judging that you don't do it for yours." It's the same as the dumb status games that pregnant moms are forced into, like not eating cold cuts or sushi for nine months, in that the danger being avoided is totally negligible but taking that .000001% risk in public opens up the possibility of being ostracized.

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I think there is a huge divide on peer criticism between mom groups and dad groups, and, in particular, stay at home parents (who in my universe are usually moms and do the most jockeying for status).

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Do you have any children?

They LOVE Halloween.

Seriously. They do.

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Yes, and they love it! But what they love is running around the neighborhood with their friends in the dark scarfing way too much candy. So, the opposite of trunk or treat.

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Trick-or-treating s supposed to be an adventure. Trunk-or-treating is not an adventure. It's just here's some candy, bye bye!

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For a real contrast, watch the musical Meet Me in St. Louis, where even today's trick-or-treating through the neighborhood feels tame. Those kids had a bonfire where they were burning old furniture in the middle of the streets. All the kids were out there completely parent-free, even down to ~6 years old. The children basically self-organized into groups. And the children's only interaction with adults was to knock on their doors and throw flour at them when they opened the door. Don't know if it was based on reality, but man, that would have been such a thrill to experience as a kid.

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All the holidays feel increasingly drained of any pageantry or drama. Even the homecoming holidays have lost some of their import as we are all connected all the time. People follow the dull God of rationality.

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Also I think this article ties in nicely to the campus stuff in your piece: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/arts-letters/articles/takeover-russell-jacoby

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The spread of lite academic language is so weird to me, I can't stop seeing it. If you read an article in the paper about cooking or yoga or anything at all, it's no surprise to find someone talking about "centring" or "vital acts of memory" or "at once seen and unseen" or whatever. It seems a good point to suggest the power of this thinking to influence society, no matter how slowly or subtly.

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The fun starts when you ask the person uttering the phrase what it means. Repeat until they say something in normal language (if they make it that far). Then ask then why they didn't just say [normal language version] in the first place.

If your interlocutor does not understand the DEI wokespeak they are using (and most dont) you'll have even more fun.

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All jargon is about power. Whatever side of this debate we all fall on.

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Agreed. But it can also betray weakness as it is often deployed as bafflegab by someone who neither fully understands nor is able to explain their position. They rely on jargon hoping I won't want to look uninformed by inquiring further.

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I think there was an old Last Psychiatrist blog post with a line that went something like "You may not be interested in pop culture, but pop culture is interested in you." I think similar logic applies to the situations you are mentioning. Even if you genuinely didn't care or thought it to be irrelevant, these things still have widespread consequences. And I don't even think most of the people making that case even believe it's irrelevant, it's just an easy way to defend something they can't actually make convincing arguments to defend otherwise.

The Ivy League is basically just the finishing school for the US ruling class. The people there will be running the show outright in 10-20 years. Or as George Carlin once said "It's a big club and you ain't in it." Whatever proclivities the students have there (and of course, a lot of them don't stick long term) are of large consequence down the road. These are the people who will be running your life, so you better figure out what tune they'll be asking you to dance to when it's their turn at Total Request Live. It's also true to a lesser extent for every college, which is the sort of like the finishing school for the middle management of the ruling class in the US. These are the basic PMC types, a club in which I have to admit I am a member. Honesty is good I guess, we all exist within the same system, all the necessary disclaimers.

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Another excellent DeBoer piece. Thank you

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Very much agreed, but I was a bit bothered, in your earliest piece about the Hamas attack (I think from Monday two weeks ago) that you appeared to do something very similar to this when addressing hyper-progressive youth (in places like Harvard and Yale) praising the attack and dismissing it in "just a bunch of weird college kids" type phrases. I was bothered enough in fact that had comments not been closed, I would have mentioned it. I think the overall thesis of that article stands fine, including the point that praise of Hamas attack is outweighed by orders of magnitude by support for Israel coming from pretty much all of the most powerful countries and institutions. But I think it's reasonable to be troubled also at the trend of young people taking a pro-Palestinian stance in such black-and-white, "the Palestinians are the oppressed people of color so their government can do no wrong", "activist change is made my creating disruption through any means" terms that atrocities like what was done on October 7th are actually applauded: as you continue to point out, what starts as a trend among kids at elite universities can result in huge waves in our culture.

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Came here to say the exact same thing. Thank you!

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I had the exact same thought at the time. Why is this the one issue where the politics of elite college students don't matter?

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I felt the same thing when I read the piece.

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Because that is the dog that has never barked, not remotely - college kids supporting Palestine has had literally zero influence on the lockstep support for Israel among both political parties. That's not true in terms of race, it's not true in terms of LGBTQ issues, and it's certainly not true in terms of policy towards sexual assault and harassment. College student opinion mattered because it changed things; college student opinion simply hasn't changed politics towards Israel, which remain absurdly one sided in this country no matter how much Zionists cry about their supposed marginalization. Commenters here want to ignore that paramount distinction because, again, they don't care about my actual views, they just want me to gore their least-favorite ox. But I can't do that - I substantially agree with many of the campus supporters on Palestine and I don't think what they're doing has had an ounce of influence on policy.

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You seem to be making two separate points here -- first, that student protests in this specific area will have no impact, and that you agree with those students so you're not inclined to worry about their impact. But the support for Palestine just now, post Oct. 7, is much higher than it has been in the past. I believe it will have greater influence than you are predicting. Whether that bothers you is, of course, up to you. And only time will tell which of us is right about the future influence.

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I can't help but suspect that your response is comparing the evolution of various movements but at different points in their timelines. *Initially* the new way late-millennial-and-younger college kids (or Tumblr kids) began talking about race, LGBTQ issues, and sexual harassment/assault wasn't changing anything in the wider world or being listened to outside of those narrow spaces (this was indeed the point of the people you're criticizing, when they said, "But it's just a bunch of weird college kids, nobody's listening to them!"). Then it began to gain traction. The position of those who are raising the alarm about post-10/7 Hamas apologies among progressive youth is that we are still at this initial stage, but that this new level of Hamas apology is quite possibly *going to* follow the same pattern of "woke"/idpol/SJ youth movements of 10 years ago and gain a lot more traction.

Maybe characterizing this level of Hamas apology as new is inaccurate; maybe pro-Palestine university sentiments have been this extreme for decades. I actually have a low level of confidence about how different it is at the moment, beyond having an impression that ten years ago no visible group would have responded to a 10/7-type terrorist attack by celebrating and yelling "By any means necessary!". And many people genuinely seem to have that impression, even if it's not quite valid.

As for not caring about your views and just wanting you to gore their least-favorite ox, I'm only one data point, but I care a ton about your actual views are, value you as a stubbornly non-tribal freethinker, am not particularly pro-Israel, and overall liked your aforementioned post of several Mondays ago. I do think that nakedly pro-Hamas campus sentiments should at least be addressed, beyond "They're just a bunch of college kids with no influence" and have related concerns about rising antisemitism, but it's far from the highest target of attack on my priority list.

(Loosely related: I have an Israeli university professor acquaintance who just told me that advisors have been telling prospective students not to take his course because he's Israeli. I don't know him that well or know enough details to ascertain whether this is for sure happening. I do know he hasn't felt safe coming to his campus for several weeks.)

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The Palestinian supporters are losing, on campus, right now. Again, the "facts don't care about your feelings" crowd can't engage with facts that hurt their own feelings. You are Goliath. Accept it.

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Really good point about how the people who ought to be the elders in the room are shirking their roles. It's either because, as you said, they're afraid of being seen as the actual adults because it's a role to which they give no social value (when people are botoxing at 20, aging might as well be worse than HIV). They're absolutely petrified of going against younger people and losing, thus becoming all too aware that they're no longer young. It all reminds me of that pathetic NYT piece a couple of years ago about how Millennials in the workplace were desperately trying to learn the emojis and lingo of Gen Z. Hey, you're the goddamn boss; enforce YOUR standards and predilections!

Coincidentally, I also just recently wrote about how Millennials will age terribly: https://salieriredemption.substack.com/p/millennials-will-age-terribly

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The prolonged childhood of my generation is nauseating. That's why all our children must like the pop culture from our youth and its obnoxious.

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I was thinking of something similar watching adult humans dressing up in Halloween costumes.

Harmless as far as it goes, but a generation ago, you could not have gotten a middle aged human man with the slightest self-respect to put on a Halloween costume if you held a loaded pistol to his head.

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Hmmm my dad is 75 and he always had office Halloween parties?

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Different humans than the ones I knew, I guess.

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Wanting to do things with your kids that makes them happy has a way of disintegrating one's illusory emphasis on "self-respect", but that's probably a different scenario than what you're thinking of.

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You clearly never went to the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village. You missed out on a great time!

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No cat would consent to put on a costume.

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There are numerous horror movies now which are mainly just about the sheer terror of not being young. There's even one that's just called Old. And obviously one called Men.

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No way. I remember that costume parties in the 70s were one of the few times when many middle-aged people could let a little loose, and join the the revelry of the younger adults, who were definitely having more fun than anyone is now.

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Nailed it. It's not just a fear of getting old, it's a fear of no longer being seen as cool and progressive.

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