Justin Smith-Ruiu:

Sam Kriss and I were sitting on a bench in a graveyard in London a few days ago (the only of the weathered and mossy headstones whose inscription I could make out bore the name of “Marx”, if not of the Marx), reflecting on just how insane the last few years have been. While we agreed that several recent signs suggest the worst of the frenzy has passed, at one point I ventured the prediction that a Trump restoration might bring with it a new and even more forceful wave of illiberal autophagy on the left. Sam argued that this is unlikely, since the same people who were prostrating themselves and confessing their unconscious racism at struggle sessions throughout the Summer of Floyd have for the most part wandered off so far into individualistic self-care that, like the student Maoists of 1968 who by 1973 or so were wearing crystal pendants in the hope of absorbing their energy and enhancing their erections, so too the great majority of the preening evangelists of the Fifth Great Awakening of 2020 will likely only retreat further inward, or rather sink further downward, into their scented-candle me-time bubble-baths, should we have to endure another round of Trump.

I don’t think much of Sam Kriss. Like Freddie DeBoer, it’s surprising how he seems to be taken seriously by many intelligent people who ought to know better. When the rhetorical pyrotechnics are taken away, and he has to perform with a reduced word count under bare lighting, the results are appalling. Nonetheless, it’s nice to see one’s perceptions reinforced by an unlikely source. The Lady of the House and I had just been talking about this very topic, and that was my hopeful conclusion too. I just don’t see how people’s adrenal glands can keep up with the pace they’ve set. A collective, society-wide panic attack can only last so long, to say nothing of our already-truncated attention spans. If history is going to rhyme in this case, I would be glad to see our hyper-political yutes react to a decade of utter failure on the activism front by retreating up their own asses and into their own navels. As long as we’re just slavishly following the New Left template laid down by our Boomer forefathers, we might as well have another Me Decade.