January 18th, 2018

Stranger in the land

Commenter “Dennis” wrote on the “Grace” thread:

So. A sleaze and a twit get together for an evening of mutual satisfaction. Disappointment ensues. Maybe it’s time to evaluate your culture.

Yeah, Yeah. I’m 73, and as Charlie Russell said : “An old man is a stranger in his own land” I can sure vouch for that.

When I read that I had just come from the memeorandum page, where I’d been glancing at the day’s big stories. It struck me that they seemed to be a combination of stupidity, triviality, and propaganda. And there’s nothing so special about today, either; it’s a feeling I have almost on a daily basis and it’s been building for quite some time.

So when I read that “stranger in his own land” quote my reaction was “Yes!” I can relate, although I’m not really old-old (as Whoopi Goldberg might say), and I’m not a man. But I feel increasingly that, although I can observe and remark on news events and/or memes du jour (among the latter would be the sad tale of Ansari and “Grace”), I seem to have an exceedingly different sensibility and outlook about such things compared to what’s current, particularly among young people.

The details of the events and stories keep changing. But I increasingly feel a sense of pessimism about where we’re going. In this post, I’m not talking about what led up to it; we’ve mined that territory a lot over the years. Right now I’m talking about my impression of the direction of the country. I know it’s a cliche that old people often think that way about young people, but that’s not a whole lot of comfort.

Which brings us in a very roundabout way to this story, in which the author of the Ansari/Grace article, 22-year-old Katie Way, unleashes a fusillade of ageist (hey, I can speak identity politics lingo, too) “mean girls” hatred at TV journalist Ashleigh Banfield, who had the temerity to criticize “Grace”:

According to report by Business Insider, HLN invited Way to appear on their network to discuss the story. She refused and sent this email to the HLN producer who invited her:

It’s an unequivocal no from me. The way your colleague Ashleigh (?), someone I’m certain no one under the age of 45 has ever heard of, by the way, ripped into my source directly was one of the lowest, most despicable things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Shame on her. Shame on HLN. Ashleigh could have “talked” to me. She could have “talked” to my editor or my publication. But instead, she targeted a 23-year-old woman in one of the most vulnerable moments of her life, someone she’s never f—— met before, for a little attention. I hope the ratings were worth it! I hope the ~500 RTs on the single news write-up made that burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been feel really relevant for a little while. She DISGUSTS me, and I hope when she has more distance from the moment she has enough of a conscience left to feel remotely ashamed — doubt it, but still. Must be nice to piggyback off of the fact that another woman was brave enough to speak up and add another dimension to the societal conversation about sexual assault. Grace wouldn’t know how that feels, because she struck out into this alone, because she’s the bravest person I’ve ever met. I would NEVER go on your network. I would never even watch your network. No woman my age would ever watch your network. I will remember this for the rest of my career — I’m 22 and so far, not too shabby! And I will laugh the day you fold. If you could let Ashleigh know I said this, and that she is no-holds-barred the reason, it’d be a real treat for me.


Katie Way is young, but she’s not in junior high, is she? See, I can be ageist, too.

As Dennis wrote, maybe it’s time to evaluate your culture.

[NOTE: Here’s what Banfield had said. At the very end there, her language wasn’t so very hifalutin, either, for a TV journalist compared to the olden days (“‘the only sentence’ a guy like Ansari ‘deserves is a bad case of blue balls, not a Hollywood blackball…'”). Then again, in my book, she’s young, too.]

23 Responses to “Stranger in the land”

  1. Ray Says:

    She’s obviously offended, probably a snow flake. One of my friends used to tell people, “you must have mistaken me for somebody that gives a sh** if you’re offended” and that’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m an old fart. It looks to me like these snow flakes can’t take a little adversity and have a temper tantrum when things don’t go their way.

  2. Griffin Says:

    It’s the entire social media obsession that makes me feel like a stranger in my own land. Most of it is so unbelievably narcissistic as to be nauseating. And I’m not as ‘old-old’ old as many others commenting here but the under 25 cohort seem like an alien race to me sometimes.

    It’s their seeming emotional fragility that really concerns me for the future as they will be the leaders of this country in a few short years and God help us all then.

  3. parker Says:

    I seek paths to optimism. The vulgar, rude, and ignorant have always been with us. As have whores, thieves, and politicians. Culture is not static. Extreme swings happen over decades. Be patient, do what you can do in your daily life. Teach your children well so they may teach your grandchildern.

    First step, return baseball to the throne as the national sport.


  4. Gary D. G. Says:

    It’s really a shame that most people can’t recognize “attention-getting” in a 3-year-old twenty years later. Having seen it in my children and my grandchildren, it no longer comes as a surprise when it’s not corrected.
    From an old-old-old

  5. Ann Says:

    I mostly just feel sad for young women who’ve been brought up in a culture that’s taught them it’s perfectly fine for a first date to end (or start) with being naked (and more) with a man they’d met maybe a day ago.

  6. Mac Says:

    It does seem that the combined forces of journalism and social media are going through some sort of collective mental breakdown. And women, especially young women, are, as they say, over-represented among the participants. Not that I’m by any means letting men off the hook, but there’s a distinctly feminine voice that tends to be predominant.

  7. Gringo Says:

    From Katie Way, denouncing Ashleigh Banfield’S description of Grace’s encounter with the celebrity:

    Grace wouldn’t know how that feels, because she struck out into this alone, because she’s the bravest person I’ve ever met.

    Part of what Ashleigh Banfield wrote:

    “Let’s take a moment to reflect on what you claim was the ‘worst night of your life,’” she added. “You had a bad date. Your date got overly amorous. After protesting his moves, you did not get up and leave. You continued to engage in the sexual encounter.”

    So Grace was “the bravest person” Katie Way “ever met,” but Grace didn’t have the courage to “get up and leave.”

    I am reluctant to make generalizations about millions of people I don’t know. There have always been people who could be charitably described as equine posteriors. In reply,I would say that Grace and Katie are people I do not know, and have no inclination to get to know.

    That being said, it would appear that one difference between today and when I was younger is that in our age of social media, there is a greater tendency to make private encounters very public. Very public. “None of your business” is a phrase less used these days.

  8. kevino Says:

    RE: “It struck me that they seemed to be a combination of stupidity, triviality, and propaganda. And there’s nothing so special about today, either; it’s a feeling I have almost on a daily basis and it’s been building for quite some time.”
    I agree. Most days I feel like a stranger, too.

    It has probably always been this way. George Orwell said, “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” However, this generation seems particularly fragile, entitled, and unprepared for the challenges of Life.

    [cue Dr. Jordan Peterson]

  9. Griffin Says:

    I really believe that social media has the highest ratio of negative to positive impact on society of any major ‘invention’ in the last generation at least.

    The loss of privacy, modesty, humility and about a hundred other virtues have been accelerated to warp speed by social media in recent years.

    What it has done to the emotional health of so many people far outweighs the ability to see photos of your grandkids I would say.

  10. Gringo Says:

    What it (social media) has done to the emotional health of so many people far outweighs the ability to see photos of your grandkids I would say.
    Class action suit against Facebook? 🙂

  11. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    One of the (many) things that puzzle me about encounters like the one involving “Grace” is how it is that modern, seemingly empowered and liberated young women have such difficulty saying no to men who are pressing them sexually. I’m also struck — like commenter Ann — at the sadness of these young women’s needy willingness to take off their clothes and engage in all sorts of sexual conduct with young men they’ve just met. Yet then the same young woman castigates the young man, who after all barely knows the young woman, for being unable to read her mind and her non-verbal cues well enough to understand that, although she isn’t saying so, the young woman doesn’t want the sex to progress to actual intercourse. It’s so sad and strange – at least to my certainly-getting-old-but-not-yet-old-old perceptions — to be so free and casual about intimacies like nakedness and oral sex while disconnecting that so completely from intercourse.

    In thinking about this I remembered an article Caitlin Flanagan wrote a long time ago about the then-new willingness of middle-class 12- and 13-year-old girls to perform casual oral sex on boys, with no strings attached and no quid pro quo. It stuck in my mind, in part because it was well-documented and horrifying, and in part because I have a daughter (though she was older than the cohort Flanagan described, thank goodness.) Thinking about this today, I wondered if these are the same girls. I looked up the article, and lo and behold, it was published in 2006. Girls who were 12 and 13 then are 24 or 25 now. Katie Way is 22. “Grace” was 22 when the encounter with what’s-his-name happened. These ARE the same girls who were growing up in a milieu where girls their age considered oral sex to be “like licking a lollipop. It’s no big deal,” according to one of the girls in Flanagan’s article.

    What does this mean? Maybe nothing — except that it seems that the weirdly fractured attitude that young women like “Grace” seem to have about sexual encounters may have been forming itself in their social cohort for quite a long time.

    Link to the Flanagan piece here:

  12. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Ooh, I like the editing feature! (Though it means what it says about 5 minutes and keeps ticking down relentlessly while you type your edits. Still, much better than nothing!)

    Can’t resist adding one more thing, now about the fragility of this generation. My youngest child is now 30, and when he was in elementary school the whole self-esteem helicopter-parent thing was just kicking in. (We live in a bit of a rural backwater, so probably this thing was happening faster in more sophisticated places.) I just want it recorded that I. Saw. This. Coming. I told people and told people, making a bore of myself, I’m sure, that all this focus on protecting kids from adversity and disappointment — trophies for everybody in soccer, no red-pen corrections on homework, parents interceding with teachers to give their kids higher grades, etc. etc. — was NOT going to increase the self-esteem of kids and was going to do just the opposite. What adults teach kids when they protect them from every blow and insulate them from failure by zooming in to solve their problems for them is that the adults think the kids are too weak to handle trouble. The child, of course, takes that in and believes it about herself or himself. And then they grow up and sure enough, here they are, a whole generation of fragile snowflakes who think that Somebody Else ought to fend off every disappointment. Of course I’m generalizing — I know many young people in their twenties who are just as capable of dealing with life as anyone was before them. But we certainly are seeing a weird new surge of young people like “Grace” who seem to think that they have no agency to solve their own problems and that Somebody Else Who’s Stronger (the man, apparently, in cases like that of “Grace”) should have taken responsibility to protect her from the pain and embarrassment of a bad sexual encounter. I can’t say that I anticipated the sexual aspect, but I did predict the snowflakes who create safe spaces in college and imagine that they have a right not to hear speech they disagree with. I don’t know why anybody who paid even a little attention to what was going on in schools and families a decade or two ago is surprised.

  13. Griffin Says:

    Mrs Whatsit,

    I have a nephew who is now 31 and I’ll never forget when he was about 11 or 12 I went to one of his grade school basketball games and I said to my sister ‘where’s the scoreboard?’ and she said ‘oh, they don’t keep score anymore’ and I thought, OK. But then as the game went along it became obvious that most of the coaches and some of the dads were keeping score ‘off the books’ so to speak.

    I wonder if twenty years later and now the parents are those kids if anyone even bothers to keep score?

  14. AesopFan Says:

    Griffin Says:
    January 18th, 2018 at 5:28 pm
    I really believe that social media has the highest ratio of negative to positive impact on society of any major ‘invention’ in the last generation at least.

    The loss of privacy, modesty, humility and about a hundred other virtues have been accelerated to warp speed by social media in recent years.

    What it has done to the emotional health of so many people far outweighs the ability to see photos of your grandkids I would say.
    * * *
    Started sooner than that — link via PowerLine
    (Peter Hitchens about “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” breaking down the wall between civilized society and the gutter.


  15. AesopFan Says:

    kevino Says:
    January 18th, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    [cue Dr. Jordan Peterson]
    * *
    Somewhat tangential, although Dr. P. does discuss the gender wage gap, trangenderism, male-female relationships, and other things somewhat peripherially related, beginning with why raising snowflake boys makes life miserable for their female partners.

    My favorite line:
    The interviewer at one point during her fuming ranting tirade of deliberately misstating his words and beliefs (or else she is just very very stupid*) asks, “What gives you the authority to say these things?” to which Dr. P. replies with a perfectly straight face, “I’m a clinical psychologist.”
    Second favorite: when he points out that the people who do misstate his positions aren’t listening to what he actually says, which she has demonstrated throughout her interview.
    Third: when she insists that his free speech should be curtailed to avoid offending other people, and he points out that she has spent the entire show offending him.


    *In the interest of gender equality, I have heard many male interviewers exhibit the same behavior.

  16. AesopFan Says:

    Griffin Says:
    January 18th, 2018 at 7:23 pm
    I wonder if twenty years later and now the parents are those kids if anyone even bothers to keep score?
    * *
    Probably, but they won’t admit it.
    See the Dr. Peterson link above, when he talks about the natural competitiveness of boys and men and lobsters.

  17. kevino Says:

    Mrs Whatsit: RE: Parents
    I agree. A major cause of this fragility is that this generation is the most heavily protected in history. Many lack experience in dealing with interpersonal problems because they grew up in an environment when someone in authority always stepped in to arbitrate issues.

    Griffin: Not keeping score
    Yes, indeed. In some cases the kids know the score, but not always. When this nonsense got started in the UK, I explained to the in-laws about a six-a-side practice game being played where the losers had to do extra conditioning while the winner watched. My sister in-law was incredulous. I defended it saying, “It teaches a valuable lesson in life.” “What lesson is that?” “It pays to be a winner,” I replied. They were speechless.

    Griffin: Social media
    Jonathan Haidt’s idea is that social media has been particularly damaging to girls. Boys tend to use the technology for games, but girls use social media to get feedback and to build social groups. They become somewhat addicted to having their lives judged by others and to conform to the group. Further, boys tend to be hard on each other physically, while girls hurt each other psycho-socially, something that is easy to do with social media.

    AesopFan: Peterson
    I like that video. Others by Jordan Peterson speak directly to this issue. In particular, he’s outspoken about the need for children to play with each other to learn social skills.

    I recommend this conversation between Peterson and Haidt:
    “The Perilous State of the University”
    [Both men have first-hand experience with the hysteria that is taking place in colleges and universities.]

  18. gpc31 Says:

    Katie Way was graduated from Northwestern with a degree in journalism.

  19. Roy Says:

    I finally got enough time to watch the Dr. Peterson interview in its entirety.

    While I did enjoy it overall, it was still somewhat painful in that it is really annoying when the interviewer constantly interrupts and talks over his or her guest. (…never mind the consistent misrepresentation of what he actually said.)

    Phil Donahue used to do that and it would sometimes make me want to throw something at the TV while shouting: “Shut the hell up and let him answer the question!” (Of course, I haven’t watched someone like Phil Donahue in a very long time.)

    That is also one of the reasons I seldom watch talk TV or listen to talk radio.

  20. Lurch Says:

    Parker is right about baseball. the ascendance of the NFL as America’s No. 1 sport coincides with the decline of our civil society. Coincidence? I think not.

  21. OldTexan Says:

    Me too, Dennis: Yeah, Yeah. I’m 73, and as Charlie Russell said : “An old man is a stranger in his own land” I can sure vouch for that.

    I am 73 this year also, I am blessed to have three grown children, the youngest turns 40 this year, all married with reasonable conservative family values and working hard to raise good children.

    Between 1963 when I went off to college as a Freshman and 1972, after four years of college and four years military, I was married with a baby son going to grad school and the world had turned upside down as far as college kids dating and partying, I was just an observer but those years were a civilization shift that has reverberated for the past 50 years.

    The genie came out of the bottle and it appears that a conservative trend is trying to occur with a mis-mash of rules and conventions, a need for moral guidance and very little religious constraints and mores and stuff like that we used to study in anthropology.

    Neo, your readers know more about this stuff than I and as each year passes I seem to understand less about our culture. As a good friend of mine who passed away just before the 2016 election said, “The stuff happening now is the most interesting, strange stuff I have seen in my life time.” and he missed the election by two weeks. He would also have been 73 this year, another stranger in our own land.

    Thank you Neo and Dennis for helping me try to handle these changing times.

  22. Ymar Sakar Says:

    That line sounds like it came from “a prophet is not respected in his home”.

    The Leftist social revolution was not for liberty, that was just the lie the Lucifer faction said to persuade people. It was to obtain more sex slaves for free. That was the “free” part, and the slaves were the “it’s for the children” part.

    Oh, it is definitely for the children that they did so.

    Cults use orgies to create reliance on the group, group think, mass obedience, and collective discipline. Look up various New Left revolutionary groups like Weather and the various “Liberation” armies.

    The Leftist alliance gathered much of their mind control program from Verbal-Linguistics, Neural Linguistic Programming, Regressive hypnosis from psychologists, and rhetoric.

    There is also what is known now as Trauma based mind control. This was likely due to Operation Paperclip and the importation of various research groups that utilized such methods. These techniques proved very useful for the Deep State later on.

    Boys tend to use the technology for games, but girls use social media to get feedback and to build social groups.

    The usual communication while gaming competitively in multiplayer is:

    1: You fing retard dumbass, you should have killed that guy sooner.
    2: Hey, you noob, I got more kills than you, so stfu and sit down, what u mad about.

    So women that enter the gaming world, tend to have a difference upbringing, as it trains them that only their SKILL matters, not so much their trash talking skills, as people usually do not use voice. And without voice, people can’t tell your gender, so basically you are in disguise and only your skill and rank matters to your social ladder.

  23. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Also gamer world rhetoric tends to revolve around interesting lines like “rape their base”, “camp their spawn and f em up”, talk, usually often of a pseudo military vein.

    This has “progressed” since the 90s and 2000s, due to integration of more casual and more women friendly games such as SimCity, but in the FPS competitive scene, due to the presence of many many young men, the “hardcore” element in the culture has been preserved for the sub culture.

    Testosterone is shown in gaming by how some people take badly to losing, such as going into a rage. This is a hormonal activation, since the body sees no difference to dying in a ladder game match vs dying in real life. So when you lose the game, and got nothing to focus your dexterity on, it turns into anger as a relief valve.

    People who go through years of this conditioning, whether male or female, will tend to grow a very thick set of armor and skin, to the point where they are almost like veterans with thousand yard stares. They just won’t care what people say at that point.

    This is opposed to people brought up in high school, USA social ladders, and social media like MySpace. There, your survival and rank depended on your ‘hotness’ or your ‘popularity’. Not on your skills at killing people.

    It would be wise to look up the dating and sexual prohibitions of the Amish, Jehovah Witnesses, and Latter Day Saints.

    This is one region where organized religion has an ace up the hole compared to all the Playboys with something else in a hole.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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