On the New Lightweight-ism

This is a time of extremes. Why it should be that the American media circus, popular culture, partisan politics, and other prominent sectors of American life should be stuck in a proverbial morass of stultifying stupidity and obdurate degeneracy is semi-obvious: the Great Recession took out, one way or another, too many well-intentioned, intelligent sectors of America, and left a gaping hole where they should be. That’s the obvious part. What tilts me towards “semi” is that, for some unaccountable reason, it looks like many of the moves we’re seeing in the mentioned sectors were planned a long time ago, and the relevant figures are just going through the motions of enacting scripts of some kind. Who knows? What I do know is that the Teens so far swing, in a rather nauseous and nauseating way, between enlightened egalitarianism, especially online, and borderline fascistic homogeneity elsewhere, including the bars, clubs, coffeeshops, supermarkets, etc. Too much of the populace talks as if they have the brains of eighteen-year-old or sixteen-year-old children, and I perpetually feel my intelligence insulted by the banality and vapidity of their conversations.

The New Lightweight-ism, as I call, is certainly present in cultural milieus as well. The erudite literature voices of the Aughts are gone, other than myself. What the power vacuum is throwing up, for our delectation, is more teenage malarkey, as though American literature were to be reduced to a simulacrum of Hollywood; and I become a grumpy old man at thirty-nine for telling the truth. Ha! Or, as SNL used to have it, “Flipidiflu!” In a way, the New Lightweight-ism doesn’t bother me that much. Those afraid of substance and depth, national degeneracy, cultural and otherwise, extensive depopulation, have all come and gone among the human race thousands of times. I collect my burdens and move forward, bearing more on my back than those who see me in those streets, bars, etc, probably notice. And incomprehension of a serious artist from plebes is like death and taxes. What they see in my face is not something or someone related to me that much. Know what I mean?