Skip to main content

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."


WHY 18TH CENTURY WHY WERE YOU SO MEAN


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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

#24in48: What Was Good, What Was Bad, What You Should Read

24in48, where we try to read for 24 hours out of 48, has come and gone once more. I managed 13 hours, which considering my usual average is 2, is excellent and I will take it. I attribute this to genuine planning this time and a remarkable lack of things to do that weekend.




What did I finish!

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson (comic)
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
DC Bombshells Volume 1 (comic)
The Punisher: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (comic)
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

The Good.

It was actually all pretty good, so I'm gonna give a quick recap so you can decide if it strikes your fancy or not.

The Summaries

The Witches: Salem, 1692. This is a breakdown of everything that happened before, during, and after the Salem witch trials of 1692. I loved the beginning because Stacy Schiff gives you a good idea of the awfulness of life in New England in the 17th century, and it also helps you understand how the trials happened, because everyth…