Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson
It seems like such a short time ago that the new century began, yet here we are starting its twelfth year. It’s still so new-and-all that some people are still saying “two thousand twelve”; I guess they don’t realize how positively Victorian that sounds. Come on, say it with me: “twenty twelve”. Doesn’t that sound better? I’ve been saying “twenty” since at least 2002, but I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll still be hearing the “two thousand” thing until 2040 or later (assuming I’m still around then).
But then, maybe the Victorian stodginess is appropriate to this new era. Modern culture has returned to Victorianism in so many ways; as in the “social purity” era, a coalition of conservative Christians and small-minded, narcissistic, middle-class white “feminists” has succeeded in selling its ideas of social engineering to the society at large, resulting in an ever-increasing mountain of restrictions on private “vices” such as sex and drug use. Once again we are being told that sex is “harmful”, especially to “children” (meaning anyone under 21), that prostitutes are the mentally defective “victims” of evil men, that there is a secret international conspiracy to sell millions of women and children into sexual slavery to satisfy “sinful” male lusts, and that women are eternal, sexless Trilbys who require paternal protection from mustachioed male Svengalis. Once again white Westerners are being urged to take up the “White Man’s Burden” and work to shepherd the degraded, childlike brown races from their inferior state by forcing them to accept our vastly superior culture (for their own good, of course). And once again plain, honest language is avoided in favor of vague, polysyllabic euphemisms designed to hide meaning rather than convey it, as discussed in my column from last New Year’s Day.
The good news is, the Victorian Era didn’t last forever and neither will the Neovictorian. Sooner or later it must give way to a new version of the Roaring Twenties, in which the stifling prudery of early 21st-century culture is swept away until it returns again to afflict some future unfortunate generation after most of those who remember how awful it was have passed on.