A news ‘report’ about the serious heat-wave that is covering the East Coast.
A ‘reporter’ interviewed a 6 year-old who opined that “when you’re in the cold water it’s not so hot”. Most impressive for the kid; not so much, I say, for the reporter and the state of American journalism and – alas – culture.
Let’s pass over in silence the question as to how Americans managed to continue their lives and civilization in the days before air-conditioning. Back in the oppressive patriarchal days of the ‘industrial’ economy with all the “macho brawn” foolishness.
Queen Elizabeth – in her 80s now – is up in Toronto; she was up in those parts in ’57, I recall, with Ike, to open up the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Let’s not ask how she and all those London ‘housewives’ made it through World War 2 in England, or in London during the Blitz.
Instead, let’s ask Ourselves: A 6 year-old discovers that you can cool off in the heat by jumping into a pool of water - THIS IS NEWS?
Two things strike me as relevant in terms of what’s gone on in the past 40 Biblical years.
First, the Boomers – that ‘Youth’ who quickly became a ‘demographic’ to a Democratic Party that had gotten Us into Vietnam and couldn’t win it and had suddenly had the Martin Luther King-type Civil Rights Movement explode in their collective political face – were suddenly held to be the font of ‘fresh’, ‘creative’, and ‘with-it’ wisdom. Trust no one over 30; which now appears to have morphed into Trust everyone under 10.
Or perhaps: Trust the thinking-patterns common to everyone under 10.
But the second development was even worse. Whereas the Feminist Revolution rolled to power on skids lubricated by the outrage that ‘women’ (the hypothetical ‘Women’, not the actual American females) were stereotyped as gossipy, shallow, and emotionally unstable and trite.
And yet – and in an era when the entire American Project, let alone any wisp of American cultural and economic ‘hegemony’ is now filling rapidly and sinking by the bow – We are treated to a ‘free press’ (that marvelous and vital river of vital public information that must always flow freely to The People) that is interviewing 6 year-olds, who ‘report’ from their unique vantage point that water is colder than triple-degree heat and it’s a nice thing to be in – oh, and that there appears to be a cooling effect.
Nice to know. And so cute, the little kids on national news. This country needs more 'cute'; it's had enough 'macho seriousness' and all that stuff. Who says the Revolution doesn't care about kids? Pass the chai lemonade and the last of that chardonnay.
The Boomer era ‘valorization’ of Youth has now taken on an even steeper level of decline: under the aegis of the Feminist Revolution somehow, Youth has been replaced by “the children” (the ones who survived the ‘choice’ process, anyway).
No, I am not standing up for the Vietnam era ‘hawks’ in the Beltway – Walt Rostow, the egregious twerp McGeorge Bundy, the cautious place-holder Dean Rusk, and Bombing-Bob McNamara, who in World War 2 served against Japan as an Army Air Corps targeting officer, and was informed one fine day by his commanding general in a chatty by-the-by that if America were to lose the war “we would be liable to prosecution as war criminals”.
(A moment of silent remembrance here for George Ball, the only adult in that highly-classified Kindergarten, dismissed – alas – with an airy wave of the collective Beltway hand for his acuity and courage.)
But that was not the way things turned out – and since by the time B-29s were plastering Japan it was as clear as a bell that America wasn’t going to lose (however many casualties might be incurred) – then I have to think that the general was speaking in the accents of Joke rather than of Sober Realization.
Anyhoo, I am not standing up for any ‘good old days’ in the Beltway when serious adults (male or female) roamed free and emitted a musky aura of Sober Maturity.
Rather, I had been hoping even then that someday We might actually get enough such adults of Mature Character up there in the Beltway so that they would constitute a marvelous tipping-point and the country would actually grow up to the point where it could fruitfully contribute to Humanity in the marvelous Moment provided in the years 1945-1970 (or, if you want to stretch it, 1980) when America (patriarchal, macho, and oppressively "industrial" as it may have been) truly was the world’s best hope and Example.
Instead, the country took on an even steeper angle of Immaturity, bolstered not only by the ‘classic’ dynamics of consumerism and consumer-capitalism, but also by the ‘fresh’ and ‘cutting-edge’ dynamics of Revolution and Identity Politics.
*Yes, I know. If this blog were considered important enough, a ‘comeback’ would be put up to trump such ‘backlash’: a 6 year-old, perhaps the same one quoted in the article, would be put before the cameras and either asked how s/he felt about being ‘dissed’ , perhaps with a talking-head Beltway interpreter to make sure the Correct message got across or else ‘statistics’ and an inevitable cute ‘story’ would be whomped up to ‘prove’ that the current crop of 6 year-olds is the best and brightest the country has ever produced. Perhaps there would be puppies on screen, or a neutron-collider the kid had (it would be ‘reported’) put together out of old cereal boxed and play-dough. Thus would ‘backlash’ be trumped.