America is becoming weird. Here are some recent examples.

Summary: America has become quite weird. It’s getting more so. Here are a few recent examples. With an important conclusion at the end.

Katy Perry in "California Gurls"
Weirdness everywhere

Political parody and comedy blur together in our America

Mad magazine ran the photo on the left on 12 December. Time ran the right cover on 29 May. Trump’s leftist critics have run out of new ideas.

Our Russia-White House - Mad vs Time

Katy Perry’s new music video. It’s art! It’s weird…

Here is a new music video by one of America’s top pop stars. In the comments please explain what it is means. Perhaps it condemns objectification of women. But why the rappers (artists often misogynists, but with a special exception from feminist strictures)?

 

Memes show the darkness in the corners of America

These memes bubble up from the darkness in America’s soul. There are thousands of them. This is a relatively tame one. If you don’t immediately get it, you’re not going to understand much of the next few years.

A dark murder meme

Milo Yiannopoulos sometimes makes sense

Extremists (e.g., Breitbart News) manufacture propaganda through exaggeration and lies. Milo does it by showing news about the Left in action. He has gathered a large and growing following for his often-weird views.

Sydney Boys High School Attempts To Celebrate Women, Gets Attacked By Sydney Girls High School. ” Boys learn a valuable lesson about the fate of beta boys, no matter how loyal to feminism.

DNC Workers Are Suing The Party For Failing To Pay Minimum Wage.” Irony alert! In fact they are talking about suing.

University of Illinois Cancels Nobel Prize-Winning Molecular Biologist James Watson After Faculty Cries Racism.” No heterodox ideas allowed!

Nearly A Quarter Of Young Women Don’t Shave Their Underarms.” The next step in women liberating themselves from men’s desires. Of course, men need not play the game either.

A portrait of modern America.

"The Persistence of memory" by Salvador Dali (1931))
“The Persistence of memory” by Salvador Dali (1931)).

Conclusions

“The Crazy Years:  Considerable technical advance during this period, accompanied by a gradual deterioration of mores, orientation, and social institutions, terminating in mass psychoses in the sixth decade, and the interregnum.”
— By Robert Heinlein; first published in Astounding Science Fiction, May 1940.

We’re in the Crazy Years, as foretold in 1940 by sci-fi author Robert Heinlein. There are precedents. The 14th century was a time of crazy years in Europe, brought about by a combination of massive social and political changes, plus natural catastrophes (e.g., plague and the onset of the Little Ice Age). For a vivid account of this time see Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (1978). More recently the French called the 1920s the années folles (crazy years), the aftershock of WWI followed by large social and political changes.

This irrationality is like an infection spreading through our society. I suspect (a wild guess) that it’s our response to our apathy and our resulting powerlessness. If so it is a choice not a destiny. Individually we’re pawns, but together we are strong.

All our reforms have helped strip the teeth of our gears, which can no longer mesh. They spin idly, side by side, unable to set the social machine in motion. It is at this exercise in futility that young people must look when thinking about their future.
— From Allan Bloom’s “Closing of the American Mind” (1987).

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Another portrait of modern America.

M.C. Escher: "Relativity" (1953)
M.C. Escher: “Relativity” (1953).
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21 thoughts on “America is becoming weird. Here are some recent examples.

    1. Free market,

      I suspect you have the content of the article backwards. Easy to do for clickbait, where journalists take what scientists tell them — understand 10% of it — and write sensational articles to get clicks. The point made is not that heterosexuality was “invented” (only someone heavily indoctrinated would believe that). It was explored and defined and categorized (the opposite of being invented). Excerpt:

      “In 2007, the International Institute for Species Exploration listed the fish Electrolux addisoni as one of the year’s ‘top 10 new species.’ But of course, the species didn’t suddenly spring into existence 10 years ago – that’s just when it was discovered and scientifically named. As Blank concludes: ‘Written documentation of a particular kind, by an authority figure of a particular kind, was what turned Electrolux from a thing that just was … into a thing that was known.’

      Something remarkably similar happened with heterosexuals, who, at the end of the 19th Century, went from merely being there to being known.”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dana,

      On second thought, I suspect you won’t see the point.

      Past fashions for personal adornment were a social interaction between men and women, part of our mating rituals. Like those of other animals, but not hard-wired.

      Women’s growing economic independence during the past two centuries plus control of their fertility has allowed them to sever that link. Women can lead independent lives, and so do what they have so often wanted — to dress for themselves. Walk on a US college campus and see the result. Unattractively dressed and coiffured young women, very often overweight — in terms of the male gaze. Let’s understand the historical uniqueness of this. That’s their right. But there are consequences.

      Your comment reflects the usual reaction to change: denial.

      The second reaction appears in comments. Women can behave as they want and men have to marry them. In other words, women set the terms and men must accept them. That is quite obviously false. See the links in this post for more discussion of how this fascinating collision might play out in the next generation.

      Like

    3. @free: It was a glib comment, though of course the social construction of these categories has never – then or now – been some perfect match for how people actually feel.

      @Fab: This is a good point – however my specific point is that “shaved-smooth underarms” are not necessarily some universal standard for beauty or “being disgusting.” (To invoke a stereotype: consider all the little French children born of French mothers.) My own visceral impression, coming out of that wonderful anecdotal source of life, is that this is much more about attempting to exert a measure of control (or the feeling of exerting that control – not always the same thing!) on young women, then about any individual style element.

      You’ve probably seen people talk about how disgusting and fake bright hair colors are – except for blonde, of course; THAT one, somehow, is completely acceptable even if it looks hideous on your complexion.

      Like

    4. Dana,

      “however my specific point is that “shaved-smooth underarms” are not necessarily some universal standard for beauty or “being disgusting.”

      Do I really need to point out that this observation is true but completely irrelevant to my point? People’s ideas of beauty are what they are. Nobody cares what about ideas of beauty in other times and places.

      Your comment is another in the thousands long list of those on the FM website by people faced with simple but disturbing facts who take refuge in denial.

      Like

    5. “Your comment is another in the thousands long list of those on the FM website by people faced with simple but disturbing facts who take refuge in denial.”

      Well, then: I won’t add more than one more.Thank you for providing your unique perspective. You have significantly broadened my intellectual horizons since I have found your blog. I hope that the project continues to meet with success.

      Like

    6. Dana,

      Thank you for your kinds words. But the project has been an abject failure. Four thousand posts (roughly 6 million words) and replies to almost 50,000 comments — a total word count equal to the Columbia Encyclopedia. Plus scores of successful predictions. It’s a massive body of work since 2007. Results: almost nil. I have seen evidence of a few minds changed. Perhaps a dozen.

      You have commented on 48 posts. Have you learned anything that changed your beliefs or behavior? I doubt it.

      Despite our hopes at the beginning in 2007, we’ve just provided entertainment for the Outer Party — like the hundreds of similar websites on the web. I continue it now in hope (probably quixotic) that through it I might discover or find some effective means of political and social change in America.

      Like

  1. FM, I believe you’ve got your identification of magazine covers reversed. Mad is on the left and Time is on the right.

    Like

  2. Katy says: “The world is such a dark place we have to laugh threw it.”

    Youtube: “Katy Perry Explains That Eye in Her Mouth on the Witness Album Cover

    She is 32. And she says such things? Enter into this and these things at your own risk. There is simply a deep solipsism and overriding nihilism in American culture. It is Disneyland. Screens starting with television have garnered the attention. Look at me! I’m lost but I’ll look good Being…..

    David F Wallace, Infinite Jest. Hardly worth commenting except it is so insidious. Bravo for FM to continue to point out the extremes for whomever wishes to note and care. Art and especially fiction and music is all about what it means to be a human being. Sincerity, truth, generosity and respectful interaction. What are we missing?

    Like

    1. Breton,

      Katy says: “The world is such a dark place we have to laugh threw it.”

      In my opinion that is a simple statement of fact. Others will choose to cry. I don’t believe anyone can read world history and come to a different conclusion.

      “There is simply a deep solipsism and overriding nihilism in American culture.”

      Solipsism, yes. But why”ninilism”? That seems quite unlike American culture, imo.

      Like

  3. This is one explanation for Kate Perry’s weird video. This fellow figures that the entertainment business is controlled by a cabal of perverts. “Katy Perry’s “Bon Appétit” is a Nod to Occult Elite Rituals” at The Vigilent Citizen — “In “Bon Appétit”, Katy Perry is cooked by chefs and offered as a meal to a party of elite guests. It directly alludes to bizarre rituals the occult elite practice behind closed doors – and in plain sight.”

    Like

  4. Nihilism. You have answered your own question today. Why “nihilism”? Here in America?

    Truth. Not just my truth or your truth but Truth is a supreme value. There was a My Lai massacre. There were no WMDs. Wikileaks have been seen to almost entirely to be true. Wasserman Schultz, et.al. DNC did conspire. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was promulgated and based upon lies. Those are political examples, good ones, ones you used. Numerous other examples may be found in other areas of our life. Wiki can list the elements quite well in this case: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism

    Truth among other ideals is the white illuminating bright light that penetrates the “darkness ” of life that Katy Perry says she lives within. Fake, faux…..reflect upon her Theme Park Video.

    I disagree with you, my experience is different and similar to yours. Life for me is not Dark! My life is not experienced as Dark nor do I believe that yours has been either. Perhaps I assume too much. Difficult? Yes. Very difficult sometimes. Mine, yes. Yours? Every life is difficult.

    Historically yes some lives can be considered Dark and difficult. Such is the nature of a singular life. However the overriding warm blanket we seem to feel and use in life is Hope, belief in a better day ahead. This comes from a trust in a common sense experience of a truth that we experience a similar reality….undermine this with lies and willful public fake news and the darkness encroaches a bit more each year.

    If Katy says she is faced with darkness, Darkness, and I believe she experiences that. If Raymond has a point on a Cabal of Perverts….how can that be for her? A very young woman who hardly has enough experience to begin to understand life, at the pinnacle of popular success and all it entails, wealth and beauty and health and her experience of Life is Darkness!

    Nihilism. (Pick up David Foster Wallace’s book, 1,000 pages. “Infinite Jest”. You may get a sense, after finishing this, of the encroaching nihilism in American culture that resonates with the experiences of most people under 45.)

    Like

    1. Breton,

      “My life is not experienced as Dark”

      That’s not what I meant. I doubt that is what Katy Perry meant. Look at the news. Read about history. Lots of darkness out there.

      Also, Nihilism is the belief that life is meaningless. People seldom lie and kill from nihilism. They do so for instrumental reasons, to accomplish goals — economic, political, religious, ideological, or personal. Those are the opposite of nihilism.

      “The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was promulgated and based upon lies. Those are political examples, good ones, ones you used.”

      They are not nihilism in any usual sense of the word.

      Like

  5. The Katy Perry video reminded me of pictures of the linked function.

    Fabius, I don’t know to what extent it is the evolution of your views or mine. But I disagree with you far less than I did when I first came across your site around 10 years ago. Your thoughts have certainly been included in my mental models and will have changed them. My views have certainly shifted over that period.

    I write and post elsewhere. I too will nudge some, who in turn nudge others. Little ripples percolate out. Change often seems to take a lot longer than we expect to occur, then happens much faster. A bit like a tipping point.

    Keep plugging away and do not be disheartened.

    Cheers
    Rob

    Google Images: Will ferrell cannibal spirit cooking.

    Like

    1. Rob,

      My views have changed over time for the various subjects investigated on the FM website. I often start writing about a subject with only a general knowledge of the subject. But after scores of articles I know a little more, and that usually changes my views.

      “Your thoughts have certainly been included in my mental models and will have changed them.”

      Thank you. It’s not something I often hear.

      Like

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