America’s greatest generation

I’ll describe my experience with those who came of age around the 1940s or a little earlier. Much of this generation has passed into glory; this is for benefit of today’s youth who didn’t know them as I did, and to preserve their memory. My experiences are mostly those of Midwesterners; perhaps this skews my perceptions somewhat. If you suspect I’m about to tell you how they walked to school in the snow, uphill both ways, you’re basically right, but work with me here.

Getting it into perspective

Despite whatever problems they had, by and large their day was a charmed age compared to now. A young man from 1946 who stepped into a time machine and visited America today might be a bit shocked: first by the technology, then by the decadence and corruption. I won’t say that this was a mythical golden age when nothing went wrong and everyone was perfect. Every society has its good points and bad points, and all times have had their challenges.

Back then, there were some very dirty dealings going on in the government, some of which backfired horribly. Already the media was keeping the public in black darkness and confusion. There were things afoot in the educational system that would later cause the upheaval in the 1960s that would seriously damage society. (This is a major reason why things today aren’t a lot more like they were for the generation I’m describing.) I can’t blame the public then for not acting on what they didn’t know. If they could’ve seen things from today’s perspective, they would’ve drained the swamp in record time (as I hope we do shortly), or perhaps gone the torches-and-pitchforks route.

There were cheating husbands, wives who slept with the milkman, and premarital experimentation happened sometimes. However, this sort of thing was a lot rarer because it was considered shameful, not celebrated. As for people who didn’t want to live by society’s rules, they sensibly did their best to keep private things private.

Other than that, they had their share of crooks and gangsters, but their crime rate was rock-bottom compared to now. Also, the 1940s and 1950s are often thought of as a time of intolerance in many ways. However, I’ll let history be the judge of whether there might have been perhaps a little reason for at least some of that.

Moral fiber

For the Greatest Generation, personal honor was sacred. A man’s word was his bond. Today, a contract must have pages of legalese to spell out what is expected, yet isn’t considered as binding as a handshake once was. Back then, debts got repaid even if that meant getting a side job digging ditches. Today, if you lend money to a friend in need, chances are your “friend” who desperately needed the cash will conveniently forget all about repaying you. Honesty has a direct effect on how well society functions.

Aside from that, character really mattered. Although they didn’t have the Internet to record drama-fests for years to come, word still got around. From what I can gather, public respect was greater back then. Cursing like sailors was for sailors. Politeness is oil for the gears of society.

People back then worried about how jazz and rhythm and blues (which evolved into rock and roll) was a bit too sexually suggestive. Still, that was as pure as the driven snow compared to some of the stuff on MTV today. Now think about that music video award thing with the tongue-twerking in the beginning and ending with the even more bizarre foam hand business. That stuff was unthinkable when the Greatest Generation was running the show. It wouldn’t have worked even thirty years ago; the trends in the music industry leading to this were only still in the works.

They took religion pretty seriously back then. I’m not here to debate whether or not God created the universe, but on the whole, religion provided a positive influence. They really believed that a mortal sin means damnation; that was definitely a check on rotten behavior.

Relations between the sexes

The Manosphere has talked quite a bit about hypergamy. That generation was raised on the belief that marriage is a sacred vow which included procreation and that purity is a virtue. It’s not too surprising that they had more stable marriages than those who grew up with recreational sex and quickly abandon relationships (rather than trying to fix or improve them) from whim or a cost-benefit analysis. Not all marriages initiated back then were perfect, but by and large, they got things right. It brings to mind the words of Tacitus about the admirable northern barbarians:

Their marriage code, however, is strict, and indeed no part of their manners is more praiseworthy.

Divorces happened, though not nearly as frequently as today, and it was considered a stain on one’s character.

Men were expected to be gentlemanly. This wasn’t a problem, since they weren’t ignored or used as chumps for doing so. If a dame played someone for a sap, that wasn’t all copasetic. Having a good personality and a steady job was enough to make a bachelor a hot prospect. An average man was suitable for an average woman. Some of the old movies did show a leading man successfully dealing with a Shit Test or a Bitch Shield. Still, it wasn’t necessary for a guy to know an arsenal of game to get taken seriously.

Men were respected for being men back then; just as women were respected for being women as they still are. Finally, men had a certain Stoic toughness that’s a little hard to understand today. They inherited much of this vitality from their pioneer forefathers, and it was reinforced by the times of trial they experienced during the Great Depression and WWII.

Women acted ladylike. There were surely some exceptions here and there, but that sort of behavior wasn’t encouraged in a “go, girl” way. Acting crazy wasn’t condoned. Cursing by ladies was pretty much out of the question, and men took care not to use foul language around them. Smoking was frowned on; that’s just as well since that social taboo saved lives. Girls learned the domestic arts from their mothers. Modern appliances reduce the need for some of that, but knowing how to plant a garden or sew a dress still counts for something.

Back in the day, tattoos were uncommon, even for men. Mostly that was for sailors, circus people, and ladies of the evening. Ear rings didn’t really get started until the 1960s, and even up until the 1990s, nose rings were only for bulls. Finally, they knew that to be treated as a lady, they should dress the part.

Best of all, the sexes got along pretty well. The changes being deliberately engineered to split society in two started to appear in the mid-1950s but didn’t get serious traction until the mid-1960s.

Economic matters

This generation grew up during the Great Depression, an experience that lasted a lifetime. They were very financially cautious. Some were a bit too much so, for instance saving up scraps of string just in case. The prosperity of the 1950s allowed them to loosen up a little, but they weren’t really known for retail therapy. They took care not to overload themselves with debt.

In the late 1940s, the economy was roaring. A high school dropout easily could get a well-paying unionized factory job. Back then, when a guy turned eighteen, it was normal that he’d join the military, work on the farm, or get a factory job, whether or not he had completed high school. It’s just as well that we started taking education more seriously in the 1950s, an effort spurred by the launch of Sputnik. Still, the pendulum has swung too far on this lately. Quite a few people with advanced degrees in not very marketable subjects are working at coffee shops while chipping away at millstones of student loans to the banksters.

There was considerably more loyalty between employer and employee. Moving factories to whichever country the CEO can pay the fewest peanuts was far less common then. The boss made more than anyone else, but not astronomically so. There were far more small businesses, though in the 1950s large chains started pushing them out. Even so, there were far more manufacturing jobs, which were pretty stable until the economy got screwy in the 1970s.

On a side note, technology was rapidly changing society. The Greatest Generation was born when horses and buggies started becoming obsolete, and they witnessed the beginning of the atomic age and the space age. There were two thoughts on all this, both optimistic (“better living through chemistry”) and pessimistic (“secrets mankind wasn’t meant to know”). Out of all this, we got the golden age of science fiction.

What we can learn from the Greatest Generation

We would do quite well to encourage virtues like honor and loyalty. This is something our elders got right, and there’s no down side to it.

Better relations between the sexes can be reestablished by thoroughly discrediting radical feminism. Even if overnight we defunded all women’s studies departments and showed the public that feminism (along with other manifestations of cultural Marxism) was a tool to wreck society, there would likely still be a few decades before all the post-1960s fallout settled. So we’ll have to keep shining the light of truth on their narratives until they shrivel up, but it’s going to be a long road ahead.

As for today’s decadence, the genie is out of the bottle. One might argue that our forefathers were a bit too Victorian about it all. It’s not quite going to go back to when a teenager who got “in a family way” (perhaps because she didn’t know what she was doing) went to live with Aunt Mildred for the next several months and then pretended the kid was her little brother or sister. Even so, we’re going to have to find a proper balance, while taking care not to overreact.

Let us remember that the Roaring ’20s were a bit similar to our times with loosening moral standards and gender-bending stuff (though not nearly like now), yet the pendulum swung back. There’s much that could be done toward encouraging good judgment and healthy values. An excellent first step would be reintroducing the concept that private things should be kept private. Also, it would be good to encourage virtue and sensibility. Another might be showing the GLBT movement that tolerance doesn’t mean they get everything 100% the way they want it; the camel has got its nose under the tent far enough by now.

Some Millennials – reacting to the economy’s “New Normal” – are similarly adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Prudence and realism is a good thing; we should welcome this and encourage further progress. I suspect that word is getting around about choosing majors carefully, now that it’s pretty obvious that not just any bachelor’s degree is the golden ticket to what’s left of the middle class. (That much is fair game for a cost-benefit analysis.) We should encourage small business ownership. Likewise we should rediscover crafts like auto maintenance, home repair, gardening, and sewing that mean less convenience but lower the impact on our household budgets.

There are those who will say “you can’t turn back the clock” or some other catchphrase, which hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to address later. Still, there’s nothing wrong with learning from the past.

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America’s greatest generation

My first 50 posts in review

I’m actually best known for my articles at Return of Kings, and my twentieth will be up there shortly.  See my author page if you would like to check them out.

As for my WordPress articles, I’m up to fifty (prior to this recap).  Here they are for your reference, in case you’ve missed any.

If someone can kindly tell me how to get a sidebar listing posts by tags, please be so kind as to leave a comment and tip me off on that.  I’ve tried to Read The Friendly Manual and add the magic to my site, but no luck so far.

  1. Hello World – Showcasing by book catalog.  It’s good stuff, check it out!  (Hint hint.)
  2. Book announcement – Righteous Seduction: Redemption for “Nerds”, Unappreciated Nice Guys, and Captives of the Friend Zone – My first nonfiction work, for guys who want to improve their social lives, independently reviewed here
  3. In defense of seduction – Why there’s nothing wrong with guys learning game
  4. The “omegas” – how to help our brothers out – Why we should reach out to the lonely and socially awkward
  5. Itty bitty book reviews – The great classics of literature summed up in a line or two
  6. A modest proposal to eliminate murder culture – Have you heard that one out of four college students get murdered?
  7. Roosh V. FAQ – facts about a much-misunderstood Manosphere author
  8. How to debate more effectively – Rhetoric 101
  9. Straight talk on alphas – Everyone knows that being an alpha is good, but there’s much confusion as to what an alpha really is
  10. How to get started in ebook publishing – How to get your online book project out there, bypassing snooty agents and editors
  11. A beginner’s question – “How the hell do you ask someone for sex?” – Game 101
  12. Cultural Marxism and the Social Justice Warrior cult – The true story about how political correctness and those annoying campus radicals got started
  13. The brief guide to conspiracy theories – Some are pretty whacky, others not so much
  14. “Hey, baby, how about it?” – Describes the “Apocalypse Opener”
  15. How I almost dated a SJW and what that taught me about game – My almost-relationship with a green=haired feminist
  16. A former slave speaks about personal finance – Why getting yourself in debt up to the gills to keep up with the Joneses is a bad thing
  17. Deconstructing the narrative of microaggression – The truth about one of those academic buzzwords
  18. Book Review: And the Band Played On – A documentary of the early part of the AIDS epidemic
  19. Book sale – A one month sale on some of my immortal classics of literature
  20. How women judge men, as seen on the game show Take Me Out – It’s a jungle out there…
  21. Happy belated… – A brief item commemorating America’s independence and Britain’s Brexit
  22. Totalitarianism, then and now – How the NWO nanny-state compares to old-school Fascism
  23. What barbarians knew about marriage that we don’t – Observations by Tacitus on the morals of Germanic barbarians
  24. What would happen if the USA became Communist – So you want a Socialist paradise?
  25. The premises of the political left – Radical egalitarianism, subjectivism, and social justice
  26. Why some women choose losers – Ever know some chick who only goes for knuckleheads, control freaks, and idiots?
  27. Time is too valuable to waste – You only have so many hours in your life, so make it quality time
  28. Criticisms of modern women – Women aren’t inherently bad; it’s society that has corrupted them
  29. For your reading pleasure – Miscellanea and interesting linky linky
  30. Tips for young ladies – All the things your mother should’ve explained
  31. How Social Justice Warriors wrecked the atheist community – Before gamergate, there was elevatorgate
  32. Distributism, The Unknown Ideal – Capitalism doesn’t have to be about huge, faceless corporations run by CEOs richer than God
  33. A couple of seduction basics – Explaining what to do based on how well someone likes you, as well as the “law of least effort” principle
  34. Election 2016 – Don’t miss the picture of the donut bumpers
  35. Fitness and diet, part 1 – My journey, and why you should get the body you want
  36. Fitness and diet, part 2 – How to get started lifting weights
  37. Fitness and diet, part 3 – Nutrition 101
  38. Fitness and diet, part 4 (final) – How to avoid diet pitfalls
  39. My Return of Kings postings – Showcasing my first Return of Kings articles
  40. The ugly American’s guide to the world – My amusingly xenophobic take on many countries around the world
  41. Your guide to the dozens of fruity flavors of feminism – All the feminist sects under the sun
  42. Anarcho-tyranny bonus – How you can get a free copy of Safe and Secure In Atropia
  43. Reconciling Genesis with science – The Genesis creation myth holds up to science better than you might expect
  44. If illegal aliens are deported, who will do the work? – Proposals on how to replace the labor niches now filled by illegal aliens
  45. The Democratic leadership thinks their voters are a bunch of muppets – Shockers from Democratic political figures over the years
  46. Wikileaks shocker – Washington DC can be pretty hellatious
  47. The sleeping giant begins to awaken – Immodest gloating about the Trump victory
  48. Be careful what you wish for – Illustrating the unintended consequences of what leftists are demanding
  49. Modern rejection letters for old classics – How today’s editors would reject yesterday’s classics
  50. Just when you thought you’ve seen it all… – I long for the days when government corruption meant stuff like politicians taking kickbacks
My first 50 posts in review

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all…

I came across some rather interesting videos.  Warning, politics and highly disturbing content:

There are those quick to call this “fake news” or a conspiracy theory, including those in the media wishing to inoculate the public against believing some very disturbing goings-on.  (Instead of doing their jobs and reporting on this bombshell, the media is trying to bury the story.)  Some big social media outlets are doing their best to censor it.  I can understand that the public will be a little reluctant even to look into it and decide for themselves.  Most people simply can’t fathom other people behaving this way, especially those in high places.

Still, it’s all there in the videos about several high-level politicians and the people they rub elbows with – the coded language in the leaked emails, the deeply disturbing art, the hidden symbolism, and of course Anthony the Weiner.  Look and decide for yourself.

Now the quote “$65,000 of tax-payers money flying in pizza/dogs” that I mentioned earlier is starting to make more sense.  Actually, I’d really prefer to believe that someone wasted $65K of taxpayer funds flying actual pizza and actual hot dogs from Chicago to DC.  Still, that doesn’t pass the sniff test, since pizza and hot dogs certainly can be catered locally (and arrive still warm), and the ultra-wealthy generally aren’t into junk food.

Until I read up on this, I had no idea what any of it meant, since I’m not into this Neverland Ranch / rubba rubba / Jesus Juice kind of stuff.  On that note, Michael Jackson comes out looking almost squeaky clean compared to all this.

If this stuff is even half true, then this sort of corruption hasn’t been seen on this scale since the decadent stages of the Roman Empire.  I miss the good old days of the Nixon administration – we didn’t know how good we had it!

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all…

Modern rejection letters for old classics

It’s proverbial that every great author could wallpaper a room with rejection letters for what turned out to be classics.  The joke is really on whichever idiot of an editor turned up his or her nose at a great money-making opportunity.  I’ve already had my rant about this when I described today’s literary scene and my decision to go my own way by self-publishing my own timeless contributions to literature (hee hee).

Now I’ll make up some imaginary rejection letters for the works I described in Itty Bitty Book Reviews.  (In truth, you’ll hardly ever get a reason why a manuscript got rejected, and nothing as candid as this, but work with me here.)  Surely most of them did get their share of rejection letters, but I’ll make up some new ones in step with the present day’s publishing industry.

Dear Mr. Gilgamesh,
Your Epic set in ancient Iraq is a very interesting premise.  However, you sent it in on clay tablets.  Please go to our website to review submission guidelines.  Surely a used typewriter, word processor, or computer doesn’t cost all that much.  You have better things to do with your time than scratching letters into mud, and quite frankly, our intern who gets first pass at the slush pile has better things to do with her time than try to make sense of it.

Dear Mr. Jehovah,
Part 1 of your Bible was quite a sweeping epic through ancient Levantine history.  However, part 2 really has a downer ending when the main character gets killed.  Granted, the story says he was doing this on the behalf of the salvation of humanity, but we feel that the public won’t find this the least bit inspiring.

Dear Rabbi Peloni,
Your commentaries on Jewish theology that you presented in The Talmud is more thorough than anything else I’ve ever seen.  However, if we printed all this stuff out, it would fill a bookshelf.  If you could cut it down to the size of the Oxford Unabridged English Dictionary, we’ll have another look at it.

Dear St. Augustine,
Your Confessions is an interesting story of soul-searching, but really, have you tried seeing a psychiatrist for that guilt complex of yours?

Dear Prophet Muhammad,
The Quran is pretty powerful stuff, but I’m afraid it’s too powerful.  We consulted the legal department and they advise that it’s a no-go.  Some nut might take it a bit too seriously and blow up a building or something, and our publishing house could be held liable.  I’m sure it’s only a remote possibility, but those folks in Legal are pretty cautious.

Dear Mr. Milton,
Paradise Lost is an interesting premise, but poetry just doesn’t sell these days.  Besides, the language is really stilted.  Are you going blind or something?

Dear Mr. Smith,
Your Book of Mormon bored our intern so much that she said that it’s Xanax in print.  Further, I was a little baffled in your query letter about the future society you envision.  Magic underwear, really?

Dear Mr. Crowley,
About this Liber AL Vel Legis of yours, I regret to inform you that we don’t publish accounts of acid trips sold as divine revelations.

Dear Mr. Homer,
Your Iliad is too full of divine intervention tropes.  Good battle scenes, but the deus ex machina stuff is a little much.

Dear Mr. Homer,
Congratulations for plugging away with your writing.  Still, the subplot in The Odyssey about the wife of Odysseus seems pretty strange.  As my dutiful intern pointed out, in today’s feminist society, a woman doesn’t need a man, so the thing about her being pressured to choose a suitor would strike a sour note.

Dear Mr. Plato,
The Republic is quite an interesting thought experiment.  Still, everyone knows that reality is only a social construct. My intern was quite adamant about this when describing it to me.  Get with the times.

Dear Mr. Plato,
My intern informs me that The Laws sounds just a little too Fascist.  So sorry.

Dear Mr. Plato,
It’s too bad that your friend Socrates got killed.  However, nobody else cares.  I’ll have to deliver an Apology for my remark, if you’ll forgive me for being a smartass

Dear Mr. Plato,
The debate with Gorgias has its moments, but having the postmodernist lose that one will be poison to academic reviewers. My intern informed me that she was quite triggered.

Dear Mr. Plato,
I just looked over Euthyphro here.  I hate to break it to you, but philosophy just doesn’t sell these days.  Have you thought about another career?

Dear Mr. Dostoyevsky,
Crime And Punishment is an interesting premise.  In fact, it was so good that it made it to my desk, unlike most of the stuff that gets sent to the slush pile.  Unfortunately, the “hooker with a heart of gold” thing has been done to death by now.

Dear Mr. Dostoyevsky,
The Brothers Karamazov is quite a vivid depiction of that screwed-up family and small town life in Imperial Russia.  Unfortunately, you keep going with these tired tropes.  “The butler did it” – come on!

Dear Ms. Rand,
Personally, I thought We, The Living was pretty interesting, with the love triangle sub-plot and all.  Still, we’ll have to pass on it because you really beat this dead horse about how Communism is bad.  In fact, my intern sputtered with rage for the rest of the day about it.

Dear Ms. Rand,
I’m a little annoyed with you.  The Fountainhead seems to have more than a few swipes at cultural gatekeepers, and I don’t appreciate the personal insults.

Dear Ms. Rand,
What the hell are you doing?  The intern came to me in tears after reading Atlas Shrugged, saying she was triggered by your unflattering depiction of Social Justice Warriors.  She had to take a whole bar of Xanax over that one.  Fortunately, her doctor is a pushover and gives her unlimited refills.

Dear Ms. Rand,
Anthem shows that you’re finally learning something about how to write concisely.  still, your insinuations that collectivism is a bad thing is really not going to get you anywhere in publishing, with the possible exception of the science fiction market that has all too many libertarian author filibusters such as your own.  My intern threatened to quit if she read another one of your manuscripts, so please take your business elsewhere.

Dear Mr. Marx,
Hey, Chuck!  The intern was absolutely delighted with your Communist Manifesto.  (In fact, just between you and me and the wall, I could see her nipples poking out under her blouse as she breathlessly sung its praises.  I’d even be a little turned on if she didn’t have blue hair, all those piercings in her face, and more tattoos than your average biker.)  However, I’ll give you a word to the wise.  The entire media establishment is made up of six gigantic mega-conglomerates.  These types of organizations are the very ones you were denouncing.  So, unfortunately, our CEO pulled it at the last moment.  You can keep the advance though.  Buy yourself some furniture and a set of clothes for the family or something.

Dear Mr. Salinger,
Catcher In the Rye strikes me as the sort of book that would make some nut go out and shoot someone.  In fact, I wanted to shoot myself after reading it.  Keep trying, though.  The intern liked it, and was wistfully mumbling Kurt Cobain lyrics for the rest of the day.

Dear Mr. Roth,
I just finished Portnoy’s Complaint.  Wow, and I thought I masturbated a lot when I was a teenager!  We’re going to pass on this one, but good luck with your psychiatry sessions.  It appears you need them direly.

Dear Mr. King,
I reviewed the manuscript for Tommyknockers.  If you’d lay off the cappuccino and cut this one down to half its size, this will be a great book, I promise.

Dear Mr. Dawkins,
Not only is The Selfish Gene the most boring manuscript I’ve ever read in my entire life, I hate to inform you that this fellow by the name of Charles Darwin already wrote the ultimate treatise on how natural selection and survival of the fittest works.

Dear Mr. Eco,
We’re afraid that your conspiracy theory stuff in Foucault’s Pendulum is a little too grim, especially compared to the much livelier undertakings of Robert Anton Wilson.

Modern rejection letters for old classics