IN THE NEW PRUDES, author/illustrator Christopher R. Taylor writes:
The people who told us “love the one you’re with” and “if her daddy’s rich take her out for a meal, if her daddy’s poor, just do what you feel” are now telling us that you have to get signed proof for every stage of sexual contact and even if you do, if she regrets it later, it was rape. The people who created Animal House are now wondering if its even okay to laugh at it. People routinely say “that could never get made today” about films like Blazing Saddles, but could you even make Pretty in Pink? Not according to its star Molly Ringwald.
Russ Douthat recently wrote about this odd shift in of all places the New York Times:
The world of Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford’s youth, the world that’s given us this fall’s nightmarish escalation of the culture war, was not a traditionalist world as yet unreformed by an enlightened liberalism. It also wasn’t a post-revolutionary world ruled by social liberalism as we know it today. Rather it was a world where a social revolution had ripped through American culture and radically de-moralized society, tearing down the old structures of suburban bourgeois Christian morality, replacing them with libertinism. With “if it feels good, do it” and the Playboy philosophy.
After spending 50 years tearing down everything everyone held dear, mocking morality, breaking apart a system of ethics and behavior, cynically undermining all sense of public etiquette and cultural norms… now we’re being told everything they said to do is all wrong.
Suddenly what pretty much everyone has done in the past is grounds for dismissal and attack. Went to parties and got drunk? Now you’re a sinister potential rapist. Got a diary accounting for where you went and what you did? Got witnesses? You might need them now; all it takes is a woman to suddenly remember something she says you did, and a political benefit and you’re doomed.
20 minutes into the latest “GLoP Culture” podcast at Ricochet, titled “We Like Beer,” John Podhoretz said that he believes that the left’s current pose of being anti-college partying scolds “is all situational:”
So two years ago, yeah, everybody, everybody on the left was freaking out. Because Mike Pence said he wouldn’t go out to dinner with a woman who was not his wife. And now that would seem to be, that would seem to be exactly the kind of standard that would be necessary in order that that is the thing when people say, yeah, men shouldn’t be afraid. Now, men should be very afraid, the culture has changed, and they better behave well because they should be afraid, well, hewing to a standard according to which you only go out anywhere in public with your wife would fit entirely that model we live in a world in which you can make used and or you can be credibly accused of things. So you better only be in the company of your wife, right, say and, and this this is what we got from them two years ago about pence.
So that’s why I say it’s situational. I think this is just classic liberal, leftist and Democratic you know, sort of all arms fire, anything that comes to hand you throw at the problem that you face, which is you don’t like the right, you don’t like its policies, you don’t like the vision of the country or the world that they’re going to portray and all bets are off and all arguments are merited and justified.
To which Jonah Goldberg responded:
I agree with that. My only point is, is that there’s some weapons, you know, once you use the neutron bomb, the radiation has an effect long after you use it. And these arguments are being instantiated in the culture. The price for deploying them is being lowered by the minute. It’s like the virus that escapes the lead. You cannot predict how much blowback it’s going to have on some of the very people who are doing it. I mean like like feckless [Jeff] Toobin. He’s going out there sounding like he’s friggin Cotton Mather, um, and his sexual history is not one that is going to be ignored because all you do is go look up Gawker pieces about the things that that guy did, and there’s gonna be, you know, reprisals for this stuff for a long time to come. And I’m not saying that’s good but that’s how these things work now in this sort of tribal climate.
As with Teddy Kennedy’s attack on Robert Bork permanently changing the culture in DC, it’s going to be fascinating watching both the short and long-term implications of how the past few weeks play out in the culture at large.