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jerryking : ross_douthat   2

Opinion | The Best Year of Our Lives
April 6, 2019 | The New York Times | By Ross Douthat.

There’s a theory of human psychology that holds that the time you enter maturity becomes fixed in your mind as a civilizational peak — with everything since a falling-off that conveniently matches your own stagger toward the grave. Thus it doesn’t matter if you came of age in the Great Depression or some other nadir; because you were 18 then, it must have been a golden age......I’ve been thinking about how good we had it lately because we’re 20 years out from 1999, and the cultural press is thick with reminders that it was a pop-culture annus mirabilis — from the premiere of “The Sopranos” that defined a golden age of television, to the yearlong cascade of brilliant movies .....from a Hollywood not yet captive to the superhero era......Widen the aperture a little, so that the “Xennial” cultural era covers 1995 to 2005, and you get everything from the perfection of the sitcom (late “Seinfeld,” season one of “Friends,” the silver age of “The Simpsons,” “Arrested Development”) to the peak of HBO (when “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” and “Deadwood” and “Sex and the City” were all airing). Oh, and those were also the days when George R.R. Martin could publish three “Game of Thrones” novels in five years, inventing all the good parts of the TV show’s plot in an end-of-millennium rush.....cold hard economic data also suggest that ours was a uniquely blessed coming-of-age: a time of low unemployment, surging productivity, strong working-class wage growth — and all without a huge overhang of public and private debt.......a statement about generational experiences, Alter was basically right. If you were born around 1980, you grew up in a space happily between — between eras of existential threat (Cold War/War on Terror, or Cold War/climate change), between foreign policy debacles (Vietnam/Iraq), between epidemics (crack and AIDS/opioids and suicide), and between two different periods of economic stagnation (the ’70s and early Aughts).
'90s  op-ed  Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez  annus_mirabilis  coming-of-age  cultural_gatekeepers  films  generational_touchstones  golden_age  millennials  movies  noughties  popular_culture  Ross_Douthat  television  shared_consciousness  shared_experiences  The_Wire 
april 2019 by jerryking
A Different Bargain on Race
MARCH 4, 2017 | The New York Times | Ross Douthat.

Instead, the demographic transformation of America has given us a Democratic Party more attuned to racial injustice or committed to ethnic patronage (depending on your point of view) than ever, and a Republican Party that has exploited white racism or ridden a white backlash against ethnic patronage (again, depending on your perspective) on its way to control of the House, the Senate and the White House.

At one end of this polarized political landscape, you have the liberal acclaim that greeted Ta-Nehisi Coates’s case for reparations, his argument that the debt owed by “the people who believe themselves to be white” to the descendants of African slaves is vast and essentially unpaid.

At the other end you have the fears of those white Trump voters who feel like the new liberalism offers affirmative action for everyone but them, allowing immigrants and minorities to “cut the line” (to borrow an image from Arlie Russell Hochschild’s recent study of working-class Republicans) and claim an American dream that they themselves can no longer reach.

These views are worlds apart, but it is actually possible to accept elements of both. It can be simultaneously true that slavery and Jim Crow robbed black Americans on a scale that still requires redress, and that offering redress through a haphazard system of minority preferences in hiring, contracting and higher education creates a new set of reasonable white grievances in its turn.
Ross_Douthat  race  race_relations  slavery  GOP  identity_politics  Democrats  reparations  affirmative_action  bargaining  one-time_events  the_American_dream 
march 2017 by jerryking

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