Which Major Ideas from the Sixties Stuck?
If the patterns of history described in the last posting hold, then to understand what the Next Crisis will be about, we need to consider which major ideas raised in the Sixties didn’t stick. But to figure out what those are, we need to first eliminate the ones that did stick. Because the next crisis won't be about these.
Three major movements of the Sixties were:
- Civil Rights Movement
- Women’s Movement
- Environmental Movement
To assess whether the Civil Rights and the Women’s Movements of the Sixties “succeeded”, one way is to ask the question: Where, in terms of social, political, and economic power, did minorities and women stand in 1963, and where do they stand today, in 2003? Subtract the two values, and if the distance between the two places is measured in “light years”, then we can reasonably conclude that the movements “succeeded”. At least, they certainly did so when compared with the Sixties movement that will be discussed in the next posting.
If that analysis was unsatisfying, let’s try another one. I once read that during the First World War, Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis practice fell off considerably. The patients just weren’t coming in anymore. As a biographer of Freud explains, “patients … thought about the war more than about their neuroses.” [page 350] In other words, during wartime, people in Europe were too busy trying to stay alive to indulge in the luxury of going crazy.
Now that may sound pejorative against mentally ill people. But consider our own culture. For centuries, white men have apparently felt quite free and safe enough to be crazy as jailbirds. Two examples I can think of are psychopathic serial killers and criminally selfish businessmen.
In 1963, white men dominated the roll call of psychopathic serial killers and criminally selfish businessmen. Nobody could touch the white man’s claim to the throne of sociopathy. Perhaps everybody else (i.e. women and minorities) was too busy keeping a wary eye open for the sociopathic white men to feel relaxed enough to go psychopathically crazy themselves.
But just this year, we read about an African American psychopathic serial killer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This fellow, apparently a rather charming sort, prowled some expensive neighborhoods of Baton Rouge, and practiced his insanity on some relatively affluent white women.
Now, in America, relatively affluent white women seem, in general, to be the sort of victims who quickly generate the most intense sort of community interest. At least it has seemed that way in the past in comparison to the serial killings of prostitutes. So the killings in Baton Rouge generated quite intense interest pretty much right from the start. Yet, despite this heightened attention, the killer managed to slay between five and ten women before being caught. Presumably, the killer was "blending in" well enough in the relevant communities to avoid detection.
Just a guess, but I’d be willing to wager that in 1963, the moment such a man as the actual killer so much as set foot in those neighborhoods, the authorities would have had him in leg irons straight away. Not because they would have suspected that he was mentally disturbed. But rather, merely due to the color of his skin.
But in 2003, such a man could, like the rest of us, apparently blend in with the ubiquitous electrical lines that few of us notice anymore. Slowly, imperceptibly, over the past four decades, it seems that substantial pockets of this nation have become more or less color-blind.
I draw another conclusion from this case, and from other recent cases involving African American psychopathic serial killers. Referring to the earlier story about Mr. Freud and his patients, perhaps these sorts of cases reveal that, by 2003, many African Americans are more or less feeling comfortably like "one of us" - at least enough so to go as crazy as the rest of us have been for centuries.
For the women’s movement, it doesn’t help us to look at female psychopathic serial killers. Yeah, there’s a smattering of them (I'm referring to the "organized sexual murderer" type identified by the FBI). But, now that we men have irrevocably lost golf, at least psychopathic serial killing seems to be one of the few remaining activities us males can keep to ourselves. While we’re at it, we may as well put overt farting on that list too.
Instead, to assess the success of the women’s movement, let’s look at criminally selfish businessmen. There’s more men like this than you can shake a stick at. Today, there’s so many of them stacked so high that politically ambitious sorts are attempting to scale the pile, perhaps all the way to the White House.
Now as for female criminally selfish businesswomen, you can see that there are also lots of … um … let me think here for minute … ah … just a sec … er …. Wait! I’ve got it! I almost forgot about her.
Phew, I was starting to think for a minute there that women might just be “better” than men. I mean, there’s a growing number of women business leaders. But if none are criminally selfish, what might that say about men and women? Banish the thought.
But, you know, scientists have discovered something very interesting in the human cell. Most of us know that inside every cell is human DNA. That comes from both parents. DNA is used in criminal cases to identify culprits.
But sometimes, especially in old cases, DNA is not available. So the scientists then rely on something called mitochondrial DNA or mDNA. These are little strands of DNA that sit inside little capsules called “mitochondria”.
Each cell has many mitochondria. The mitochondria act as the “power source” of the cell. Kind of like the batteries. In fact, mitochondria can be thought of as the source of human life itself.
Now here’s something interesting: mDNA, unlike DNA, does not come from both parents. Scientists have found that mDNA comes only from the mother.
In other words, life itself is female. We men are only along for the ride.
Think about it. Women have said: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” To us men, this phrase used to be merely cute, but obviously false feminist propaganda. Now modern science has turned the tables and proven that this phrase is scientific dogma!
Um, women, please stop reading at this point. Men, please continue
OK guys, listen up. This mDNA stuff is dangerous. Our most popular men’s magazine has long said that women come from the rib of a man. But science is now saying that men come from the fingernail of a woman — that is, she uses it for while, then cuts it off and throws it away when she doesn’t need it anymore.
Can you believe it?! We men invented science. And now these ungrateful louts are trying to ruin us. Hey, when I came into this world, it was a patriarchy. And if that was good enough for our dads, it should be good enough for everybody.
But listen, here’s the good news. Hardly anybody knows about this mDNA stuff. I asked around and none of my friends know. So I think we still have a fighting chance here. Hear me out:
I suggest that we men form a Men’s Front Group. It will be non-profit organization. We’ll call it: “Women for Truth in Science”. We’ll raise money from all the men in the world. We’ll have mondo bucks.
Then we’ll install an all-female board of directors. How will we get women to do our bidding you ask? Listen, if you don’t know how to manipulate a woman to do your bidding by now, how can you call yourself a man?
Now Women for Truth in Science will have three targets: science, politics, and the masses. On the science front, we’ll buy off some scientists and have them publish studies about “pDNA”. We’ll have them say that they’ve looked closer at what these other scientists have called mDNA, and discovered that mDNA comes not from the mother, but rather from the father. In fact, we’ll have our scientists call it “pDNA”, and say they’ve discovered a tiny phallus on the pDNA. We’ll say this proves definitively that pDNA is a guy thing, and mDNA is just a hysterical female fantasy.
Of course, this will just create confusion in the scientific community. So for the kill, we’ll go into the political arena. There, we’ll buy some key Congressmen. Don’t get squeamish on me now. That’s how the system works. Everybody does it.
We’ll get our key Congressmen to add a small rider to an appropriations bill. We’ll get them to call the appropriations bill “Children Apple Pie Mom and the American Way”. Only a handful of Green Party weirdoes will notice our little rider.
But that rider will say: “Any institution caught promoting mDNA as a female thing will get no funding, and will get a swift kick in the pants”. Once that becomes law, all we have to do is sit back and wait. In no time, the mDNA research will dry up like donkey turds, and blow away. Mbwahahahaha!
Now for the third prong of our plan. We’ll still have tons of cash at this point so don’t worry. The third prong is directed toward the masses. Even after we kill off all scientific research on mDNA, there will still be some wackos who won’t give up so easily. We need to neutralize those people through television.
So we’ll get Women for Truth in Science to buy up ad time on the morning programs that normally run SSRI and dieting ads for sad, chubby women. Our ad will be modeled after that old Sixties ad where hippies sat around singing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” (That was a beauty! The original version of the song was “I’d like to buy the world some high fructose corn syrup and caffeine, and make everybody fat and sick” but the PR folks worked with the wording a bit, and turned the commercial into a classic.) In our own ad, we’ll have a group of people, say 90% women, sitting around, holding hands and singing. They’ll be singing: “It’s man’s world after all.”
I’m telling you fellas, this will work. We’ll get ten, maybe even twenty more years out of our old, rusting, patriarchy. And it’ll be worth every penny.
OK Women, you can come back now. Well, I suppose it’s still an open question where women stand in America today. I, for one, certainly feel your pain. But let’s change the subject anyway and move on to the environmental movement.
Here is a chart showing the progress of the environmental movement from 1963 to 2003. Based on that chart, one might conclude that this movement hasn’t exactly succeeded. So maybe the next crisis will involve an environmental war.
Well, I don’t think so. I believe the problems facing the environmental movement pretty much come down to one issue. And that issue is addressed in the next posting.[posted: 12/14/03]