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Millennials and the Enlightenment: We are the new 18th century assholes

I've realized something, and that is that I am terrified of the 18th century the way I'm terrified of a group of teenage girls walking towards me on the sidewalk.

If I had to pick any century to live in, the 18th would be wayyyy down the list. They're so funny but they're SO MEAN. If you read anything about the 18th century's literary trends, you'll keep seeing things like "Oh, the Countess of Marlborough was the best of friends with Lady Athelton, but here's a mock epic she wrote about how Lady Athelton's feet smell and also she's a whore."


It ALMOST makes you understand Romanticism. Like the Enlightenment's kids were so sick of nothing being sincere and everyone just being assholes to each other (hilarious assholes) that they were like "I LOVE YOU BEYOND THE OCEAN'S DEPTHS LET'S TALK ABOUT DAFFODILS AND ALSO OUR FEELINGS."

And their parents were just standing by like

Their whole game is to one-up each other with hilarious put-downs, and this game has no end and seriously the only thing that stopped it was them dying. I'll bet Pope was on his deathbed being like "I may perchance be dying, but at the very least my mother didn't dress like a Turkish prostitute like Lady Churchill's, amirite."

And part of what terrifies me about the 18th century is that there are wayy too many parallels to the Millennial generation. What do we value most? Humor.

our excuse for everything

Sincerity is SCARY because then people can make fun of you for it. What worries me about this whole situation is we have cultural doxa, right? Where everyone just knows this is how it is. This is truth and everyone accepts it. EXCEPT IT ISN'T TRUTH IT'S JUST THE STANDARDS OF THE TIME. Which is how everything got flipped on its head from the Enlightenment to the Romantic period in terms of values and whatnot. 

So if we're currently in a cynical, hilarious time that's pretty damn concerned with science being the ultimate thing (and we are), then that means we're due for a switchback and all those babies being born now are going to end up being like Wordsworth and writing about the beauty of a tulip. Or the man/technology connection and how the two are melding and oh isn't it glorious and let's talk about how we feel about that. WHATEVER SOMETHING GENUINE AND NOT FUNNY. And I guess in some ways it'll be a relief? Because I do feel constrained sometimes by fear of being mocked for actual feelings, but at the same time, I 100% value humor over pretty much everything.

But it's not like the people of the Enlightenment stopped being hilarious when the Romantics came into being. They were just old and didn't adapt to the new poetry styles. So we'll still be posting awesome things on Facebook. We'll just also be the only people left on Facebook.


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