Exploring the East, Revisiting the West

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The Resurrection of a Generation

September 10th, 2009 · 27 Comments

I don’t know how many of my readers liked late 80s/early 90s grunge, but I was a pretty big fan as a teen. Soundgarden, Nirvana, Mudhoney and Mother Love Bone were all big sources of local pride for us Seattlites back then. My dad had a ratty apartment above the Off Ramp at the time, and as a boy I’d sometimes stay at his place in the evening and hear the big name bands play underneath me. It didn’t matter too much to me that people were fighting, smoking all sorts of dope and throwing bottles in the alley — it was all fun to watch. Hell, I even got to go in the bar and watch the guys set up the stage a couple of times. It was quite exciting, and even worth having to run from that fat old queen Lee’s German shepherd bitch every time she caught me at the front door.

These guys who played the music are about Novaseeker’s age, give or take a couple years. I was a young teenager at the time, and they were my heroes. That generation of post-boomer men – born in the late 60s – must have felt and expressed the most angst of any generation since that of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. They may not have been all that intellectually articulate as youths, but they sure gave us a dose of their raw emotion. We Seattle children swam in it like fish, buying Sub-Pop LPs on vinyl and picking our favorite bands and musicians. I liked Soundgarden — Chris Cornell was my working-class hero. When we wanted to feel the dirty, rough chords we went with Mudhoney. Nirvana was a bit of a joke at first, being from the redneck logging town of Aberdeen, but they earned their respect in due course and Cobain came to define the cultural phenomenon. This was fitting, perhaps.

Today, I brushed up against a remnant of this in my kids’ preschool parent/teacher meeting. One of the central figures in the culture ended up sitting right next to me. I actually had no idea who he was when I first saw him — I thought he was your typical 40-something Seattle herb. He was dressed and coiffed like a contractor, but didn’t have the requisite physique. He was a somewhat small man with faded jeans, longish hair, a t-shirt and Vans. I hardly gave him a second look. However, when it came time to introduce ourselves, I definitely knew the name. It almost sounded like a joke at first, but there he was: a polite, mild-mannered dad at a parent meeting representing his little girl, who is my daughter’s age. I’m not going to identify the guy, because I wouldn’t want that myself, and it would be pretty low of me to do so, but he’s one of about a dozen major figures in the Seattle music scene from the 80s/90s and everyone reading would recognize his band.

He seemed to be a pretty normal, decent guy with a whole lot of money, and without a trace of the angst that animated grunge music. I think it’s for the best to see a guy who was once part of a scene that glorified waste, death and dissipation to be fostering life, but it’s doubtless been a long road. In fact, it’s been a long road for too many of us, and there are those left behind that we should remember in the coming autumn days of death’s remembrance. What it says to me is that, despite the absence of catastrophic war, disaster or pestilence, we still have reaped a grim harvest over the last couple of decades. To see men in their 40s reborn is an encouraging sign, because in their 20s these guys were masters of futility and doom.

Sometimes I think it is up to us somewhat younger men to interpret what happened in those dark years, but we need the input from those who were at their forefront, even if they didn’t fully understand or articulate what was going on at the time. Essentially, we need to distill their experiences into something powerful and meaningful not only on a spiritual and emotional basis, but on the intellectual plane as well. I know that Justin will have some of his own ideas about the dark message of grunge from that era, but I have come up with a fairly radical hypothesis concerning the spiritual phenomenon that he ought to find pretty interesting, and I’d like to explore it in collaboration with others who are interested in the spiritual bases of these trends.

For now, it would be interesting to see what these artists’ contemporaries have to say about this point in history. Sitting next to this unassuming, youngish former rock star who had a little daughter brought some questions to the fore — especially concerning the survivors of the era he defined. That generation of men that raged against a system stacked against them remains a mystery, but it is a mystery that can be unlocked and understood to a degree with stories and reflection. Just as I looked up to these guys as heroes as an adolescent, I still look to the spirit of that generation, which was thrown on the guns of “progress” and cut down in droves. Young men and their sons have many questions, and we need your experience to answer them. It was a distinct time, and it can’t be understood without your voice.

Tags: Arts · Men · Seattle

27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ganttsquarry // Sep 10, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I think I’m about your age Welmer and certainly remember the time frame you are talking about. Grunge was particularly popular in Denver and I listened some myself.

    I think rap, which at the time I listened to quite a bit, could be used as an example as well. Especially the stuff that came out from 1988 to 94 or so.

    If grunge was used to express the angst of the middle class male, rap might have been used for similar purposes for the lower classes. There have been a few rappers whos lives have taken a similar path as the rocker you saw as well.

    Just a thought.

  • 2 Welmer // Sep 11, 2009 at 12:13 am

    I listened to rap as well, gant, but grunge dominated here in the NW. Isn’t it interesting how both white and black culture emphasized this theme of death and dismay at the time?

    There must have been something in the air…

    I’d like guys a bit older than me – in their 40s – to reflect on that time. I didn’t hit my teen years until the late 1980s, so my take on it is colored by childish fancy.

  • 3 Lukobe // Sep 11, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Great piece. Takes me back to the late ’80s myself. I, too, would love to hear these people’s thoughts. Did they get disillusioned as they grew older? Did they get over it?

  • 4 codebuster // Sep 11, 2009 at 4:10 am

    Welmer, you do realize, don’t you, that the plight of men (and women – the unspoken rest of the story) today can in large part be attributed to the phenomenon you describe in this post? The 60s was a reaction to a conservatism that had worn out its credibility. And as news of this morally bankrupt conservatism entered mainstream consciousness, the rage grew such that it overtook the fear of consequences, and masses of people were willing to take risks. The trouble is that this dynamic new liberalism was itself morally bankrupt, from the get-go. The hippy fiction of “free love” – to which feminism owes much of its success – was nothing more than self-indulgent self-interest. Your post on women’s rape fantasies alludes to something not quite right with the foundations of liberalism.

    Today it is liberalism that has established its moral bankruptcy and again, the same cycle… the rage grows, and here we all are. The trouble is that the mutant conservatism that has been trying to replace it – the neocon conservatism originally inspired by GW Bush – is also hugely morally bankrupt. It’s a pretty dark space that we are entering into. But within this dark space there is perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel – a new opportunity. It appears as though people might be beginning to ask the right questions, not the simplistic nonsense of the neocons or the false morality of the liberals. I don’t know where we can place Obama on this scale… it seems that we are ripe for takeover by whomsoever should stumble into power.

    If we want to generate a new 60s sort of dynamic, we are going to have to feel the rage, talk it and walk it. There is a lot to be enraged about. Each generation has to feel the rage. It is no good looking to others to revive it. This as a spiritual opportunity. Not the self-indulgent spirituality of crystal-gazers or the opportunistic religiosity of neocons, but something very different.

  • 5 novaseeker // Sep 11, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Hmmm .. where to start. [WARNING: very long post. Sorry about that.]

    In 1992 I was 25, so pretty much right in the middle of that era.

    What I can say is that the main feeling was one of tremendous displacement. A very tangible kind of displacement. I was 10 in 1977, 15 in 1982. The world changed so much between 1977 and 1992, it was mind-spinning. Everything was changing in tandem. The world I grew up in during the late 70s and early 80s was giving way rapidly to the fallout world of the changes from the cultural revolution. In reality, while the epicenter of that revolution was the mid-70s, it took a while, as a practical matter, for these changes to filter through society as a whole. Much of that happened between 1985 and 1995, I think. In that period, the fallout of the revolution pretty much filtered down everywhere, and it started to have a huge, huge impact on virtually everything. The culture started to dramatically coarsen.

    When I was in high school in the early 1980s, the 80s culture was certainly present (Michael Jackson, Van Halen and so on), but in many respects many aspects of the old ways were still present. My HS was a Catholic all-boys HS, and we had a “sister” school which was Catholic all girls. There were mixers, dances with chaperones, dating. There was remarkably little sex taking place, given what people tend to think of the era, but of course there were always some people like that. But in all, the world was in the process of changing, for certain, but those changes had not fully filtered down yet.

    That happened really, as I say, between 1985 and 1995. The pace of social change in that period, for the average person (rather than someone living in Manhattan, for example) began to accelerate, and this led to the feeling of displacement. One could sense that the rules of life were changing even as we were growing up, and they were changing in one direction … away from us white guys. By the time the late 80s and early 90s hit, this was now fully blown, and grunge music almost perfectly expressed the specific kind of angst my generation experienced in having the cultural rug pulled out from under us right as we were coming of age. We had no new rulebook for life. The old one was useless and no longer applied. The parents were mostly well-meaning but also useless, as they themselves still followed the old rulebook and wondered, perplexed, as to why it didn’t apply any longer.

    Most of us muddled along. This was the period when we were starting our careers, and many of us were somewhat busy at this, because globalization was also just getting started, and things in that vein were getting more competitive as well. This was also the era that the bar scene started to take over from dating for people in their 20s, with the result of most guys not being with women very often, even on dates. The friends I knew from HS, college and law school all had quite long dry spells in the 20s. Quite a few of them did eventually end up marrying around 30ish, and of those about half are intact still today, but quite a few have opted out, or fallen off the radar screen, having never really recovered from not being able to adapt to the new reality on the fly, as it were.

    I think in terms of today, my generation is mixed. I mean, sure, we get along with our lives – there is no other option, really. You can’t remain in grunge/angst mode for the rest of your life. But I do think that many of us really only started to put ideas together about just what the heck happened to our generation only as we aged into our mid 30s and onward. Some of that has happened due to divorces and such, but some of it has also happened from observing the life patterns of others. And that’s where I think the men’s issues stuff has gotten quite a bit of gas in the past few years – it’s a kind of gradual process of realization for many of us of just what happened to us.

    I see my generation as having borne the brunt of the changes that happened, simply because we were the one that lived through the fallout in the 80s (what I mean is the filtering down of these changes into every nook and cranny of life for ordinary people) just as we were coming of age. Again, we had no rulebook for this – we had to make it up as we went along, and given all of the other crap you normally deal with at that point in life, of course this created a lot of angst, tension, pressure and so on. Grunge clearly expressed that, in terms of what people were going through at that specific moment in time.

    I see it as primarily a men’s issue, really. Sure, women were scrambling to adapt to the new world, to the changes, too, and many on that side of the fence were also feeling somewhat disoriented. But my impression of the experiences of the women of my generation is that the way that many of them experienced the new world was filled with exhilaration, excitement and gusto. For women, this new world was bristling with opportunities. It was exciting to be a woman at this time. A woman had the world opening up to her right before her eyes and was living a life a woman had not been able to live before, for her whole life, from her teens/twenties onward. And so women tended to embrace the changes with gusto, and solidify them. Many were disappointed that our male response to what was going on was often tepid at best, and resistant at worst (from their perspective). But the reason for this was that it was not obvious to us what the new world meant for us, other than a reduced status, a confused set of rules or lack thereof about men and women, and a sense of anger (often not expressed, really) at being forced to live through these changes. In short, women have loved the last 40 years. Men … not really. At least not most of us. Some of us have adapted better than others, but it’s been a slog for most of us, regardless of whether we have adapted. It certainly hasn’t been an exhilarating, joyful process for most of us.

    I think that we can now look back on these experiences and learn from them, in terms of realizing that the changes that have taken place also have their benefits for us. If only we are willing to take them. Your article on this, Welmer, summed that up quite well, I think. For my generation, it won’t make that much of a difference, because we’re now settled for the most part, but for some of us it will. For the generations of men behind us, however, that realization can make all the difference. Men can live with the exhilaration of the new world, but it will be a different kind of exhilaration than what women experienced. For women, the excitement came from being granted the opportunities to be like men – to work like men, and fuck like men, and live life like men. Not that women became *men* — in fact they feminized much of these behaviors as they took them on. But the attraction to them was that they had previously been forbidden. As we know, there is no fruit more attractive than the forbidden one, and the sheer joy of being the first generation of women to be able to revel in the taste of the forbidden fruit is what I think characterized many women of my generation. But for us, we aren’t really chasing the forbidden fruit of trying to be like women. We aren’t pining to wear female-esque clothes (unlike women did), we aren’t generally pining to take on female roles (unlike women did vis-à-vis male roles), and we aren’t all angsty about not “expressing our feminine sides” as feminist psychobabblers would have men and women alike believe. Many women, it would seem, would like very much for men to pine to expand into the female role, just as women pined to expand into the male role, but this is simply not going to happen for many men. Some men go down that path for a while, and eventually learn, sometimes the hard way, that it is, in fact, a dead end. It pleases neither women nor men, in the end.

    No, for us, our exhilaration comes from the ability to simply let go. If women want our role, let them have it. It frees us up to do something else – something else that we want to do. That is a true, real freedom for men. It means the freedom to live our lives as we wish to, and not as is dictated to us. It means expanding our role as men, our self-conception as men, beyond ideas that tie us to women (provider, protector, husband, father) and embracing a new self-definition that is really about us, and not at all about how we relate to women. That doesn’t mean ignoring women or living aloof from them, but rather refusing to define ourselves at all around our roles relating to women and children (the latter being itself ultimately tied to our relationships with women), and instead defining ourselves around ourselves, our own needs, priorities, interests, dreams, goals, wherever they may lead us. The new world allows us this freedom, and as men we need to take this freedom and run with it. To me, this is the ultimate adaptation for men to the new world and its rules/non-rules.

    We spend a lot of time worrying about women and what they are doing, and this is understandable because of the way things have played themselves out over the past few decades. But the time for that is coming to an end, I think. Women are who they are. Things are not going back to the way they were, and it’s probably best for us men, in the long run, that they do not. An in any case, we can’t change women. Women will do what they wish, as the new world permits them. What we can do, however, and what we must do, is to take the reins of our own freedom and drive hard down that road, wherever it leads each of us. This is the time of our freedom. To me, that’s the real takeaway for men of the kinds of trauma my generation experienced.

  • 6 Jay B. // Sep 11, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Some of the grunge music was and is interesting, but I think some people “liked” it because there was nothing else to listen to and because they’d become willing to accept such low standards in art. It’s like starving someone for three days and then feeding them white bread. It only tastes delicious because the people are so hungry. The next time they’re hungry, they look back fondly on the white bread days. I do look back fondly on that time, and I think a lot of the concerns expressed in the music were valid. I saw a documentary about Kurt Cobain, and it was narrated by Cobain. It was really good, and he was really thoughtful and intelligent. The human mind has a strong need to put a positive spin on things that are unpleasant or that contradict a person’s positive self-image, as in cognitive dissonance. That tendency can cause people to not question the past or challenge things, for fear that the challenging of things will mean that they’re admitting they are or were unhappy or negative about things. The same tendency might be able to cause people to retrospectively like music that was manifestly “grungy.” But there were lots of things about the philosophies of some of those grunge singers that were legitimately “likeable.”

  • 7 mandy // Sep 11, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Welmer, you may like Fr Sereaphim Rose on the four stages of nihilism. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/nihilism.html

    I remember that grunge came at a time of disinterest with popular culture. Most people who ended up liking grange (from my age bracket) were really into stuff like the Clash and Minor Threat and other 1907s British punk and American hardcore beforehand. I think grunge was really a natural continuation of a very uninspiring art world. Society has certainly fallen far from Mozart.

    Novaseeker, I am a woman and I couldn’t disagree with you more. I am little younger than you and I also felt the rug had been pulled out from under me. I did not remember seeing the cultural upheaval of the 60s/70s as any king of good thing nor as full of opportunity. There were no doubt women who viewed things differently but I suspect you would be surprised how many felt just as unhappily confused and shell shocked as the men.

    That doesn’t mean ignoring women or living aloof from them, but rather refusing to define ourselves at all around our roles relating to women and children (the latter being itself ultimately tied to our relationships with women), and instead defining ourselves around ourselves, our own needs, priorities, interests, dreams, goals, wherever they may lead us.
    I think you find that people are generally most fulfilled when closely connected to others in a family rather than just pursuing their own independent desires, atomically isolated from meaningful, long term interaction. This is just more of the same nihilism of feminism but this time for men ” I don’t need you, you don’t me.” It is contrary to human nature and the need for culture and connection. Is it really that men do not want to be defined as husbands and fathers or is that they really, deeply do but current laws and culture stand as an obstacle to that?

    I agree that there is probably no way for society to return to what it once.

    Once this PC madness plays itself out, someone will come a long to institute some type of hierarchical and patriarchal system, most definitely an authoritarian dictator. Will they bring Islamic or some sort of Latin American semi-Catholic order? Whatever the case I doubt it will resemble what we consider Western.

  • 8 whiskey // Sep 11, 2009 at 7:52 am

    You know me … I think much of the change was cohort-based, and reflecting raw numbers. The 1980′s saw the youth numbers peak, and then decline. Fewer and fewer 20 year olds starting at 1985 meant fewer and fewer opportunities for romance, for love, for a robust youth culture, and by 1991, the youth cohort of 20 year olds from 1971, was a fraction of that ten years earlier.

    Add to that the post-Cold-War collapse (in military spending and the economy) from the go-go Reagan 1980′s, and passing from the scene of a host of older cultural figures in one form or another (as John Hughes quit making movies, others retired, music tastes changed) and you had a radical shift –

    Much fewer youth. Reduced economic opportunities. And as Novaseeker alludes, a feminized culture and work-force oriented around women.

    For most young men, it became quite clear in the 1990′s that while they could express themselves, and even make money (eventually) the old paradigms of family and tried and true gender roles were gone, and not coming back.

    This left and leaves men singularly un-invested in society, and uncaring. Men waving at women on a distant shore, leads them to just not CARE. At all. Eventually even the emotional protest of Grunge died out, as men did not even care to complain about having no role in society. Or I should say, White men.

    The current “Apatow Schlub” and slacker-dom movies and TV shows reflects the lack of desire by men to slave away at nothing for … nothing. Even the Mike Judge comedy “Extract” has the guy, who has his own company, uncaring about anything because his wife has stopped having sex with him and regards him as nothing more than a “Kitchen Bitch” while a sexy young thing offers possibilities.

    Men without women at best simply don’t care. About anything. The Juliet Binoche clip on YouTube about some woman being harassed by Arab “Youths” on the Metro has it’s basis in this fact. Young White men ignore the harassers, both because the PC rules dictate all social and legal power to the harassers, but also because they will get no reward for it. At best they face death and maiming by “youths” who are “immune” from legal consequences due to PC privilege. At worst, jail themselves for violating PC protocols, all the while not finding women who will sleep with them for being “brave.”

    The flawed but telling “Weird Science” where the geeky boys face down the “bikers” in the 1980′s John Hughes film is a world away from the social reality (world-wide) of today.

    Men are disconnected, and women are on their own.

  • 9 Thrasymachus // Sep 11, 2009 at 8:58 am

    The 80′s were the twilight of traditional masculinity as a dominanat cultural force. The collapse of the Soviet Union appeared to make military virtues obsolete; meanwhile the pyramid-shaped corporation with its numerous white collar managers was flattened. Military virtues have reappeared in the war on terror but only as a subculture.

  • 10 BeltainAmerica // Sep 11, 2009 at 10:38 am

    That was a good post Whiskey. Especially the last few paragraphs. Your 100% right in that men do not see any reason to come to female defence.

    As it turns out I really missed most of the late 80′s early 90′s. After I saw the complete lack of job openings that would actually hire men I went back into the army and stayed there until Clinton saw fit to down grade even the military.

    So really I missed the grunge era being stationed in Germany.

    It hit me hard when I found my experiences to be about 5 years out of date too.

  • 11 novaseeker // Sep 11, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Is it really that men do not want to be defined as husbands and fathers or is that they really, deeply do but current laws and culture stand as an obstacle to that?

    I don’t see how that matters much. We both seem to agree that there is no going back. Hanging on to these longings whilst waiting for the dictator to come and impose patriarchy seems like a totally fruitless way for men to live, and an unrealistic one as well.

    I’m not so sure we face a dystopian societal collapse coming, really. I’m coming to think of the social changes that took place in the 60s/70s as akin to the end of the age of kings — a paradigm shift that, at the time, was thought to lead to social disaster, but did not. At the same time, the age of kings never came back, even though many conservatives pined for it to come back for a while. I think that’s basically the same as the cultural revolution of the 60s/70s — an irreversible paradigm shift.

    In light of that, I think men need to adapt, and for men to keep walking along the garden path is self-destructive. We need our own course. What I propose is simply adapting to the reality that for men to cling to these roles is self-destructive given the paradigm shift that has taken place. It doesn’t mean avoiding family, it means refusing to be defined by one’s role in that setting.

    I suspect you would be surprised how many felt just as unhappily confused and shell shocked as the men.

    No doubt some did. The women I was around during this period between 85 and 95 were empowered Stanford undergrads, law students and young women lawyers in Manhattan, so no doubt that skews my perspective a bit. These were generally very exhilarated women. I’ll agree that elsewhere in the culture women likely felt displaced, but I very much doubt that it is anything like what white men have experienced in the same period.

  • 12 Justin // Sep 11, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I was born at the very low of the baby bust, in 1972. I was raised by an anti-male, liberal, feminist, new-age, single mother, and I can tell you, the culture of the 70s was pure poison for the souls of young men. I had nothing but scorn for white men, and saw them as little more than nazi wife-beaters, I am barely exagerating.

    As late as when I was 19, I heard my mother venting about the need to punish white men. I was like, “mom, your sons are White men, you are talking about us.” Believe it or not, that really hit her hard, she really truly never thought about it like that (she is actually conservative today!!!). My brother, who was only 8 at the time, still remembers that day.

    Grunge hit in my early mid 20′s, I was a young teacher, my junior high students were into it. Frankly, I hate all genres of Whiny Rock, venting depression and hopelessness, played in minor chords. Hate it hate it hate. To be fair, I have given Nirvana a second listen lately, and they are not nearly as bad as the genre they inspired.

    What happened to the gloriously rebellious, sexual, optimistic, free, and strong metal acts of the 80′s??? Don’t let their stage makeup fool you, those guys were as masculine as can be. Jane’s Addiction transitioned to Nirvana to pure Whiny Rock, and look where we are now.

    Coincidentally at the same time, anti white male psy ops were racheted up with the glorification of Niggas With Attitudes, so that today tall, baritone blacks with steroid-swollen muscles, yelling about sex and violence, are the only cultural images of powerful men we are allowed to see. White men have even been banished from backup dancers! They are all black, except for the white women. Talk about a shift, even Janet Jackson in the late 80s had integrated dancers.

    Is there any music for white men today? I listen to country, and as far as I can see, that is it. Pop music is 100% the domain of girls, blacks, and wiggers, as far as I can tell.

    Young men are not demoralized and self-hating by chance, it is a systematic attack. I am all about fighting back, and I will not allow my sons to swallow the same spiritual poisons I did.

  • 13 njartist49 // Sep 11, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Is there any music for white men today? I listen to country, and as far as I can see, that is it.

    Even today’s country music is more and more demasculinized. In fact, I would say that country music is music for the female dependent male; and I have been listening to country since rock went treacle in the 1960s. Unfortunately, there is nothing to replace it.

  • 14 Kevin K // Sep 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I was born in 1972 like Justin. I was in college at UT-Austin when Richard Linklater’s “Slacker” came out and people I knew were more into that specifically as sort of cultural sibling to grunge. I think most of it came out of kids not knowing how to deal with the divorce culture of the 1970s and 1980s and channelling it into general beatnik disengagement. My life was different, so I speak for others here.

    There was an overwhelming since that consumerism and capatilism had played out and nothing to offer us, but then the internet came and all these young people had a way of making good money and a perfect place to devote their energies and all that grunge/slacker stuff seemed ridiculous at least for a few years.

    In someways, watching “Slacker” now is watching a bunch of waiting around for the internet to be inventerd.

  • 15 whiskey // Sep 11, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    It’s true we won’t go back, ever to the nuclear family, but what is left for men?

    At best, infrequent, chaotic, short-lived relationships, that end in nothing, with no real purpose or function in life, social isolation, petty hobbies and other things more fitted to elderly, retired men than grown men.

    We will have a few Game/PUA winners, going from woman to woman, an even smaller class of men with enough wealth to attract a mate and tolerate discreet, French-like affairs, and and the vast majority of men totally disconnected to women except for transient, meaningless flings.

    It’s a world of Fight Club meets Mohammed Atta. Not very encouraging. I don’t think we will find dicators or man on horses, but I do think the natural reaction for a man with little to lose is to Chav it up. Britain certainly did.

  • 16 yt // Sep 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    “Is there any music for white men today? I listen to country, and as far as I can see, that is it.”

    Classical, my friend, classical! It’s very intellectual, masculine, and *shock horror* written & performed by white men!

    Simply the best music in the world. Pump up some Beethoven & Mozart. The waltzes by Strauss will lift up any man’s soul.

  • 17 Phil // Sep 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    1984 – when it really changed.


  • 18 novaseeker // Sep 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Well, I think as for what is left for men: being men. We are the inventors, the creators, the artists, the musicians, the innovators, by and large, to a substantial degree. It’s true that for a good number of men the driving force behind these endeavors has been the desire to impress women with them (Jim Watson famously admitted, for example, that this was the motive behind his research on the double helix!), but there’s no reason we need to be held to that in perpetuity. No need to become a chav when you can invent stuff, become a musician or an artist, become a technological or biological innovator or something like that. Not every man is a genius, but everyone does have talents, and not using them because women don’t get impressed with them any more is a pretty weak option for men.

    Above all, men need to give up this obsession with women. That doesn’t mean leaving the company of women, avoiding relationships and even family formation. It does mean, however, that the center of your life and your identity must, for reasons of personal sanity, lie elsewhere. I think that this actually holds true for men and women alike in this new world we live in.

    I don’t expect we’ll see massive chavism in the US. I do think, though, that relationship patterns will continue to shift, both inside and outside marriage. Men can go with the flow when it comes to that as long as they have their heads screwed on straight and drop their pathetic obsession with women, and start being men again. Men who *do* things, whether these impress women or not.

  • 19 Welmer // Sep 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Justin, you’re only a couple years older than I am. We experienced pretty much the same BS in regards to white men, etc. I had a pretty strong reaction to that as a kid, and it took me a long time to get some perspective. There was something seriously wrong with the 1990s. Although I strongly support equality before the law for all ethnicities, races, nationalities or what have you, there was some pretty bad cultural punishment of white men going on at the time, and yet it was aimed at the most helpless whites of all — boys. Old white liberals, feminists, “anti-racists” and what have you were all punishing perhaps the most innocent demographic at all: working and middle class white children. I remember the racial stereotyping of the “hate criminal” as a “young white male,” and I remember how much that upset me — especially given the fact that the majority of racial abuse I had seen and experienced while growing up was directed at white boys. I learned to fight when I went to a majority black elementary school as a kid for a year. After getting smacked around you learn to hit back.

    However, as damaging as that policy was to me personally, I have come to the realization that the beatings dished out to white boys at the time were fully condoned by older white men who just didn’t give a damn, and these older white guys – mostly boomers – would still have our asses kicked in hallways if they had their way. A truly disgusting generation of white men had it in their power to help children, but punished them instead. It wasn’t the blacks who determined policy, or even the women, or the Jews, but rather some egotistical bastards who are now getting old yet still have a lock-down on national politics as well as the economy. It was really about their power, and in many cases their own immoral desires.

    Choosing life is important. I try to do so by working for the benefit of the next generation. The old men who tossed us all this garbage, however, never gave a damn about anyone but themselves. I know that you disagree with Roissy, but he’s far better than some disgusting “feminist” male politician who feels self-righteous about selling out all his brothers for female adulation and validation from his minority vassals. That is a plantation mentality writ large.

  • 20 miles // Sep 11, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Kinda liked Alice in Chains myself. Great singing voices.

  • 21 dana // Sep 11, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    What else should i be
    All apologies
    What else could i say
    Everyone is gay
    What else could i write
    I don’t have the right
    What else should i be
    All apologies

    In the sun _ in the sun i feel as one
    In the sun – in the sun
    I’m married

    I wish i was like you
    Easily amused
    Find my nest of salt i dont care what he says the lyrics are, listen-its FEMINIST ASSAULT when he sings it
    Everythings my fault
    I’ll take all the blame
    Aqua seafoam shame
    Sun burn with freezerburn
    Choking on the ashes of her enemies

    In the sun – in the sun i feel as one
    In the sun – in the sun
    I’m married
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    All in all is all we all are

  • 22 Justin // Sep 11, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    I agree with you, Welmer, I’d choose Roissy over the older white lib-men who threw us under the bus, anyday. We are the victims of one of the largest generational betrayals ever seen. And here we find ourselves, on the bottom looking up, totally without a popular voice or legitimacy.

    But I think you, like me, may be paradigmatic, as experience has made us tough. There is hope yet. Keep the faith, brother, our Lord had to pass through the grave to achieve his victory! I believe that is where we are, right now, shut up in the tomb. Yet… strange… my spirit is not defeated, nor yours.

  • 23 Lukobe // Sep 12, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Nirvana didn’t inspire grunge. Nevermind and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” signified the end of grunge, as it went mainstream and pop. The golden age of grunge was the late ’80s — Nirvana hit it big in 1991 IIRC.

  • 24 Jay B. // Sep 13, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    That period, in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, might have been the first period in which some women were really starting to feel like they could just do anything and not think about men’s feelings. I don’t know. Maybe it wasn’t the first period during which that was the case.

  • 25 Jay B. // Sep 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I mean young women, coming of age in those years. Maybe it started in the early 1980′s. I don’t know. It seemed like a crazy time to me, but I can’t tell how much of that impression of mine was a result of my own generalized unhappiness at that time.

  • 26 GW // Sep 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I was born in 1968, am from Seattle, and am contemporary to many of the trends you mention.

    If you’re at all interested in this subject, you should immediately pick up a book called “Generations: the history of America’s future 1583-2063″ by Strauss & Howe. Read the section on “Reactive Generations”…and keep in mind that this book was written in 1989. There are also a couple of excellent sequels: “Abort, Retry, Fail” (about my generation in particular), and “The Fourth Turning” (about the crisis period we’ve just entered into).

    One of the key points made in that book is that following every “awakening” in US history (which the sixties counter-culture was one) has been a “Reactive/Nomad” generation of children who were essentially thrown away and ignored. Those of us born in the late sixties and early seventies know that all too personally.

    We grew up in a world that was focused on adult problems and concerns. Children were ignored at best, and demonized at worst. My generation is the most-aborted in human history, and it shows in our numbers: 35 million vs 83 million Baby Boomers. We were “latchkey kids” who lived a Tom Sawyer-esque childhood (Mark Twain was a Reactive). We were treated as disposable from very early on, and often left to raise ourselves while the adults got on with wrecking the world around us. All the wealth and opportunity provided by their parents to the Baby Boomers was mostly closed off to us as they squandered it on themselves. Alienation was what we had left. We’ve been denigrated as stupid, worthless, and evil from the time we were toddlers.

    Does that sound like hyperbole? It may to modern ears, but a close look at how our society treated its children during the 1965-1980 period reveals the truth. We know. We were there.

    As our society changed its mind about children in the 1980s, suddenly finding them precious butterflies, its rancor stayed focused on us as we aged: a new lost generation of worthless teenagers, slackers, and bums: Generation X. The alienation reached a crescendo in the late 1980s and early 1990s, at which point our society seems to have written us off for good as a bad job.

    Like other Reactive/Nomad generations before us (The Lost Generation, the Gilded Generation, and the Liberty Generation), we turned society’s disdain for us back on itself. Normal avenues of success closed off to us, we did an end-run around the established power structure so clogged with our predecessors (internet economy, anyone?) and they’re still dealing with the fallout from that. We flourished in the arts as rogues and have always had a better sense of what’s “cool” than others older or younger. We became intensely focused on and protective of our personal spheres: friends and family.

    Now that the consequences of our predecessors’ poor choices are coming back to roost, we are entering middle age and history is about to deal us yet another sucker punch. Our prime earning years will be marred by a massive crisis and economic upheaval.

    Not that we didn’t expect that. It’s common to find people in my age group who remember being told from a very early age that things like Social Security wouldn’t ever be there for us. That was the message from the time we were born: You’re on your own, kid…get used to it.

    Fair enough. We’ll see how that plays out now that the rest of society is going to find itself dependent on us for survival.

    But most of us, despite the alienation and suspicion and renegade behavior, have grown up. Many of us have families (I do) and are remarkably stable, level-headed people. Strauss & Howe mention in their book that Reactive/Nomad generations become “the ideal fifty-year-olds” as they hit middle age and are called upon to save a society in crisis: clever, nobody’s fools, able to make hard choices and carry them out with cold efficiency, but deeply perceptive, compassionate and full of humor. I hope to live up to that, myself.

    If the historic pattern holds, we’ll be called on to sacrifice nearly everything to save our society from itself, even though we’ve got the short end of the stick on every interaction we’ve ever had with that society. Afterward, when (if) the job is done, others will take the credit and shove us to the sidelines as obstacles to progress: hard-bitten old cynics who just don’t “get it.”

    The crazy thing is, we always suspected it was going to turn out this way. Want to hear someone really trash-talk Gen-X? Ask another Gen-Xer. The Baby Boomers treat us will little more than condescension as always, but are too busy feeling sorry for themselves and fighting the culture wars to really get their hate on. Our kids don’t really know what to make of us, jaded, cynical, and loving as we are. But deep down, many of us still can’t escape the thought that maybe society was justified in its multi-decade disdain for us. Self-hatred can be a powerful force.

    Just ask Kurt Cobain.

  • 27 Classic Links and Bonus Coverage « Ganttsquarry's Blog // Sep 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    [...] 2nd, the unique experiences his generation of men have faced that was inspired by a post written by Welmer. [...]

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