Sign up FAST! Login

The Death of Adulthood in American Culture - NYTimes.com


Stashed in: America!, America, Cultural Norms, nyt, hmmm..., Sociology

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Hmmm.

I gotta read this like ... four more times.  Thanks for stashing.

Yeah, it's pretty dense. 

A.O. Scott plumbs THE eternal, end-game truth for all of mankind's societal ambitions, visible in civilizations across time since Gibbons' great tome on Roman Empire gave us a comprehensive view:

"...an old order collapsing under the weight of internal contradiction and external pressure."

It will be ever thus... all scale growth in human societal breadth is inherently it's own demise.  And yet, even the deepest humanistic cultures fade too.

The question for mankind is whether we collectively value longevity by achieving existence in greater than geologic time scales, or resonant depth of experience and pleasure by simply enjoying our current one...

And what comes to mind here for me is what a wise ex-girlfriend once told me, 

"All beauty fades, but stupid is forever..."

The remaining question is really about men:  what's society's better choices and examples to evolve now that archetypical masculinity is dead?

Apparently, AO suggests our social vacuum of American patriarchal behaviors is what breeds infantilism in our culture... but perhaps men left to "peacock" their way into society as metrosexual eunuchs are better off than falling back into our immediate jingoistic entitlement past.  

Certainly there has to be a better way forward for men in our culture than resurrecting a history of rape, pillage and cross-dressing... c'mon, we can be more creative than defaulting to old tropes during these Calyuga days of western decline, right?

Let me know, I'm going to get a pedicure now...

^ this. well said Rob

32:29 into this:

One day I was in Whole Foods here in Austin and met a Frenchwoman in the produce section who was scrunching up her nose at the offerings... so I said we had farmers markets here and she brightened.  We talked about them a bit.  And in closing I reminisced about eating great meals in France and Italy and apologized to her for a relatively pervasive lack of good food here in American culture.

She said, "No!  It's much worse than that, not only is there no good food here--Americans don't even have a memory of good food!"

So what exactly was adulthood like here in American culture?

You May Also Like: