Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit.
Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions and cultures simply died off.
Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ensures lethal consequences. Once elites became pampered and arrogant, they feel exempt from their ancestors’ respect for moral and spiritual laws like thrift, moderation and transcendence.
Take professional sports. Over the last century, professional football, basketball and baseball were racially integrated and adopted a uniform code of patriotic observance. The three leagues offered fans a pleasant respite from daily barroom politics.
As a result, by the 21st century, the NFL, NBA and MLB had become global multibillion-dollar enterprises.
Then hubris ensued.
The owners, coaches and players weren’t always racially diverse. But that inconvenient truth did not stop the leagues from hectoring their fans about social activism — even as they no longer honored common patriotic rituals.
All three leagues have suffered terribly during the viral lockdown, as American life mysteriously went on without them. And they have almost ensured that they won’t fully recover when the quarantine ends.
Many of their often-pampered multimillionaire players refuse to honor the national anthem. In the NFL they now will broadcast their politics on their helmets. They will virtue-signal their moral superiority to increasingly turned-off fans — as if to ensure that their sources of support flee.
Lots of American universities became virtual global brands in the 21st century.
Sky-high tuition, rich foreign students, guaranteed student loans and Club Med-like facilities convinced administrators and faculty that higher education was sacrosanct. The universities preached that every successful American had to have a bachelor’s degree, as if the higher-education monopoly deserved guaranteed customers.
But soon, $1.6 trillion in aggregate student-loan debt, lightweight and trendy curricula, ideological hectoring, administrative bloat, reduced teaching loads, poor placement of graduates, and the suspension of the Bill of Rights on campus began turning off both students and the public.
If students can Zoom or Skype their classes from home this fall, why pay $70,000 a year for the campus “experience”?
Supposedly woke and informed rioters this summer incoherently toppled or damaged the statues of everyone from Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant to Frederick Douglass and Miguel de Cervantes. So the public might begin to wonder how the nation’s multitrillion-dollar investment in higher education actually served the country.
Soon, popular fury will beget more dangerous questions for American universities. Maybe the country should subsidize the training of more essential electricians, plumbers, contractors and masons instead of unemployable environmental and ethnic studies majors.
If a university president wanted to devise a plan for how to destroy his university, he could not have come up with a better one than what has happened on campus in recent decades.
Hollywood should have been ecstatic over 21st-century globalization, which should have made filmmakers and stars even richer and more popular, with a potential audience of more than 7 billion. But the quarantine has shut down most theaters.
Amazon, Netflix and Facebook, along with cable TV, have sent theater revenues diving for years. Silicon Valley can create filmmakers who have no need to get near Southern California.
In response, Hollywood counts on bringing comic books to the big screen, or on making poor remakes of old classics. When directors try to make a serious new movie, the result is often the monotony and boredom of thinly veiled woke propaganda.
What will America be like without its sports franchises, its woke universities and its homemade movie industry?
Probably a lot better than it is now.
I watched Trader Joe’s seem to cave to the woke crowd then wake up and say, NO!”
Trader Joe’s will NOT dump “Trader Jose’s,” and “Trader Ming’s,” etc.
Good for them.
If there’s one thing that their brand signifies it is light-heartedness.
Next time you see one, read their entire “Fearless Flyer.”
It’s always a hoot!
The Ayatollah of Iran once famously said, “There’s no laughter in Islam.”
Seems the Leftists keep taking pages from their Islamist/commie handbooks.
They don’t want you to have fun, they want to lecture you, to berate you, to wear you down.
How does that attract votes?
@Nan G: Oh, the left enjoys plenty of laughter. They merely demand, on penalty of death, to be who determines what is laughable. First and foremost, any of the virtues that made this country great are laughable to them and they will continue to try to force everyone else to have that same opinion.
REBRANDING is the key:
wp noted this past week :
“As part of a race-obsessed ideological agenda, the Washington Post recently destroyed the reputation and livelihood of a powerless woman. Yesterday, it doubled down on that agenda by announcing it will hire a new managing editor to enforce ideological conformity, by overseeing “stories that involve sensitive subjects of race, ethnicity and identity” and “final hiring and promotion decisions.” That will make The Post’s already slanted news coverage far worse: Washington Post news stories generally assume, contrary to court rulings from the Supreme Court on down, that racial disparities are proof of discrimination — even when they are not.”