Welcome chez Saint Jerome studio!
A Zeitgeist watch page.
Antonello da Messina
SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK’N ROLL as a start? Ehm ehm! Times have been a changin’ from San Jerónimo’s, you know …
Cardinal Bagnasco: “O tempora, o mores”: the top Executive of a Gerontocratic Multinational is getting old, and forgets sometimes being top manager of a multinational organisation promoting and protecting pedophilia as core business (or, if you are less critical of the Vatican MNC: they produce it as a necessary byproduct, by their own internal contradictory anathemas, goals, principles, prohibitions, and rules – everything is explained by a 1st class Catholic theologian, Hans Kung: the Maestro of the current Pope, a repented protector of pedophile priests).
A methodological note on class, gen-eration and gen-der. What you belong to intrinsically is: family, lineage, gender and an ethnic group (biologically); generation (chronologically). As the greatest culture sociologist, Karl Mannheim (1893 – 1947) argues among others, the class or other social roots can be cutoff and substituted by new social roots. In “The generations” (now translated into Italian by Il Mulino), he argues that you must be cautious before attributing to the Zeitgeist any causal role in the explanation of social, generational or individual behaviours.
Everyone is affected “solo da quelle correnti che fanno parte della tradizione viva del suo particolare ambiente sociale” (p. 102) (only by those currents which belong to the alive tradition of his peculiar social environment) .
There is “un legame di generazione solamente quando contenuti sociali e spirituali reali costituiscono nel campo del dissolto e del nuovo in divenire l’unione reale fra gli individui che si trovano nella stessa collocazione di generazione” (p. 74) (a generational link, only when real social and spiritual contents institute, in the field of the dissolving and of the forthcoming in evolution, the real union among individuals belonging to the same generation).
Therefore generational identity is made by a certain degree of contents affinity in individual consciences, which is stronger when these conditions apply: – first of all, the common destiny and the joint participation to historical events, are culturally filtered and mediated by the diffusion of such “alive oral tradition” frames, across the small social groups where individuals are located and rooted (Simone Weil 1943, L’enracinement). – Second, generation unity prevails on fragmentation or even (class) polarisation. Mannheim draws the example of early 19th C. Germany, divided into opposite cultural-political fields: a romantic-conservative Weltangschaung, and a liberal-nationalistic one. Of course, this was a common phenomenon across Europe.
SD&RR, sex drug and R&Roll is no more the Zeitgeist, since long:
– it was an element of such conscience (and subconscious) affinity, for the anticoncept. pill-based baby boomer generation (just before: best of youth, la mejo zoventù del ’68): the Atopian place was a priary concerts week in … . Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Jimy Hendrix a peace-political-antiVietnamWar icon, even though not knowing what they were talking about, as he confessed later. It didn’t matter: the Subject being dead, he could carry the message just by semantic attribution, herd behaviour by enthusiastic crowds. They were all ritual scapegoats on the scene, but a few survived by virtualising the sacrifice (a Christian cultural advance, according to René Girard). No one ever told all these stories (also before and after) better than Alberto Arbasino did: you read his Corriere della Sera articles collected in books (aside with PP Pasolini op-eds, another anti-Modern), and you get the contemporary cultural history of Mittel Europe. Perhaps The Nation or The New Yorker (and the Rolling Stones magazine) for the East Coast.
– Then came the loss-of-identity X-one (NOT EVEN A NAME !), paying for parents’ faults and experiments. MASSIMO TROISI is perhaps the no-identity perfect icon: “I’m not a migrant, I’m a tourist”; Nanni MORETTI the post-com version. For the East Coast, the public has decreed a low-quality film and terrible interpreter as cult, Dustin Hoffman’w inexpressive mask in The Graduate (1967): probably by identification mechanisms. Time Out’s Film Guide observes that an early, young Clint Eastwood had better captured new sex behaviours, in a still ignored film.
– It was followed by HIV-AIDS and the unbearable too-many-identities (a postmodern mental disease: Giovanni Jervis) BC generation: Bobos-and-Cool. Cools who are not Bobos? The paradigm are the COATTI (fully CONSTRAINED, 0 degrees of freedom) from Carlo Verdone’s Rome suburbs: in art, the heir of Alberto Sordi, who was the “economic miracle” generation in person (adults in the 1950s, just before baby boomers). All the sociological theories and empirics have been filmed, no one excluded: you just have to search for. Not by chance my colleagues in Venice use to teach urban sociology in a cineclub way. No better. Wired is the reference. With blogs we move to the next generation, and hypermodern changes even in the previous ones.
AN ATLAS OF GENERATIONS
Recapitulating some epoch-making, and the last generations (on a 25 years standard):
– 160.000 LUCY, Australopithecus afarensis, 4 million years ago (FOUND IN HADAR, ETHIOPIA, 1974).
– 441st Generation. Agro-pastoral innovators (born 9000-8976 BC): in Canaan, they begin growing corn and barley. In Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan, not yet rogue nations, they domesticate sheeps and goats. Allowed for by a natural global climate heat, it is still: the major material change in Sapiens life and ecosystems; its earlier and unsurpassed Technological Revolution, still ongoing in its secondary industrial follow-ups. According to Diamonds, a better supply of domesticable species allowed for a world lead of the Eurasian platform, that has not disappeared, and will likely persist until the next Ice Age. Americas have closed this gap in the last 2 centuries, not Africa – which will literally die (drought, famines and unprofitable pandemias) in the current 21th C. AC artificial global heat, to resurge only in the next Ice Age, as the traditional last resort of Hominids in Ice Ages – therefore a place of mass immigration.
– 361. 80 generations after the startup of the greatest of all technological revolutions (agriculture), in Anatolia people builds the second known town (after Ur): Catal Huyuk generation, opening the 7th millennium BC.
– 105-99. Generations (6th C. BC) introducing simultaneously the major ever cultural change, cutting across all the civilisations and Empires: the religions of universal hope and safety in another world, from Zarahustra to Aristotle (Karl Jaspers 1949, Origin and sense of history; Yves Lambert 2007, La naissance des religions. Paris: Armand Colin).
– 82. JOHN BAPTIST and JESUS CHRIST the Nazarenus (the Essen) generation (25 – 1 BC): closing the Jewish messianic age (200 BC – 70 AC), the Jewish Era, and the universalist spiritual innovation wave.
– 10. 1875-99: Early Moderns, last born in Ancient Régimes and early Revolution chidren
– 9. Childrens of the Restoration (1814), after Napoleonic wars: born 1800-24
– 8. Early Victorians by education (1825-49): the Paris Commune (1871) generation that invented Commun-ism
– 7. Grown up as Late Victorians (1850-74)
– 6. My grandparents (1875-99), WW1 mass scapegoats; some were born in the 1880s Great Depression. Last subset: i ragazzi del ’99 (the 1899 boys): 19 years old, they were catapulted on war front lines in Italy. Although the basic paradigm shiflt had already taken place (Einstein and quantum physiscs; africanism in visual arts, introduced by Brancusi, Picasso and Modigliani since 1906), WW1 co-generated almost all the culture of the “short century”: from real communism, to Poetry (Elliott, Pound). It was best represented by bombs suddenly cutting off generals’ heads, in Céline‘s masterpiece.
– 5. My parents: WW2 boys and girls (1900-24), grown up in the Great Depression. Notabene: two close generations touch the bottom, passing through 2 Great Depressions follwed by 2 WWs.
– 4. The KEYNESIANS. Born in the Great Depression, grown up in economicle miracles – A. Sordi, 1925-50
– 3\4 in between Keynesians and B-Boomers, mostly born in the late 1940s: the ’68 best youth
– 3. Baby Boomers (1950-74), children of Mama Welfare State, grown up with peace and apparently unlimited growth
– 2\3 in between: Massimo Troisi’s X generation (born in the 1970s), oil stagflation years
– 2. Postmodern Bobos and Baba-Cool (1975-99): my daughters, … and Carlo Verdone
– 1. Children of the blogs. The Hypermodern Sapiens 2000-24, hopefully last born in Ancient Rentier Régimes (it will be so, whether the hypothesis holds that they are carriers of a radical cultural change instance and, like generations 10-11, they will not tolerate to carry on the legacy of Ancient Régimes). My 2 grandchildren’s destiny: Niccolò and Andrea. Their terrible risk: another Great Depression and WW, exp.lly if they don’t succeed timely in their vocational Revolution.
Now we jump into the uncertainties and unknowns of HYPER MODERN people, no more Bobo nor Baba Cool. Dozens of music stars approaching the 70s are somehow less convincing than they used 2B, on the SD&RR issue, apart Jimmy Halliday. He’s the living Elvis the Pelvis, the final proof of the truth of he Mother of all metropolitan legends. Yet, a “Hot Liz Hurley” (so the title goes, you might check it out if you are 18+; as a matter of recitation, Susan Sharpe on Time Out labels her “barkingly mediocre”) still suggests it to a resilient Bobo-cool, computer geek Brandon. In a Faustian remake, “Bedazzled” by Harold Ramis (2000): Princess of Darkness as Hot Liz Hurley. This scene is fun, the remake of SD&RR in a remake film.