“Mine too!” said her co-worker, and there followed an animated discussion amongst the three young women.
I came home and mentioned the exchange to my (then) teenage daughters. Was this a common motif among their classmates?
Indeed it was all but universal.
I cleared my throat and encouraged them (yet again) to give this sort of thing a wide berth. Reassurances were made. Then one daughter piped up, “They think you and mom are members of a religious cult, you know.”
Who? Your friends?
“No — their parents.”
This village, which once hosted three robust Protestant congregations with towering brick edifices, plus a Baptist congregation in its more staid mid-20th Century house of worship, is now predominantly populated by assured “Nones.” Here, if the kids dust off the parental board-and-planchette for some Friday night frights, nobody remarks on it. However, tying your shoelaces and joining the Sunday remnant at your local mainline Protestant church?
. . . more or less.
Some days more.
Other days less.
I listened to a bit of this podcast, and within the first 15 minutes Davis and his host reached the locus of my discontent with his entire project.
Cannabis is legal, but it’s strictly squaresville — for The Olds, daddy-o; meanwhile we’re microdosing our kids with LSD to ease their off-the-charts anxiety; mushroom tea? whatevs; Ayahuasca is a punchline; the One Percent have taken over Burning Man; gender and sexuality are increasingly splintered and specialized concerns — not only are kids not getting stoned, they’re not getting laid, the primary activity they are genetically hardwired to do at their age; comic book movies rule the cinema; our two leading public intellectuals are Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan . . .
Et fucking cetera.
If Fukuyama can pin “The End of History” to 1991, I will pin The End of Weird to a quarter-century later: 2016.
Davis’ book remains engaging and will be an easy finish, at which point I will speak further (furthur?). So far I’ve read the first third, dealing primarily with the McKenna brothers, whose psychonautic narratives whipsawed from free-association psychedelic imagery to super-precise “It’s Science!” deconstruction.
At some point between my grumpy jottings in the margins, I began mulling over the story of Fritz Gerlich.
Ron Rosenbaum devotes an entire chapter of Explaining Hitler to the story of “Fritz Gerlich and the Trial of Hitler’s Nose: In which we unearth a lost classic of Hitler explanation by a murdered explainer”:
It still has the power to shock: Adolf Hitler married to a black bride. More than six decades after this extraordinary photocomposite image of Hitler in top hat and wedding tails, arm in arm with a black bride in a scene of wedding-day bliss, appeared on the front page of one of Munich’s leading newspapers, this mocking representation of Hitler — in a context of decapitation, miscegenation, transgressive sex, and violent defacement — still gives off an aura of recklessness, of danger.
And, in fact, there can be little doubt that this sensational visual and verbal attack on Hitler did turn out to be dangerous, fatally so, to its creator, the courageous, possessed anti-Hitler journalist, Dr. Fritz Gerlich.It is, like the rest of Rosenbaum’s book, a ripping read.
|You want 'High Weirdness'?|
Gerlich did indeed fall — deeply — under the sway of Therese Neumann, a Bavarian stigmatic who vigorously encouraged Gerlich’s antagonism of the Führer, to the point where Gerlich actually converted, shortly before his murder in Dachau.
Rosenbaum is flummoxed by this seemingly apparent con which lead to Gerlich’s very public change of heart, and asks Walter Schaber, a survivor of the Weimar press wars, if he has any explanation. Schaber’s reply is sobering.
Anyway, we haven’t really arrived at The End of Weird — indeed, things seem poised to become a great deal weirder. It is just that what used to be weird — the sex, the drugs, the rock ‘n’ roll and woo-woo stuff — now in hindsight seems fixedly bourgeois: little more than a tawdry scrim that distracted us from the true weirdness taking root all around, and within.