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Found a very interesting article

I found this linked off /. about modern day heresies called "What You Can't Say." It discusses things that you can't say in public without inviting retaliation from various groups. It suggests that morals, like clothing, go into fashion, and go out of fashion, and the morals of yesteryear that seem ridiculous to us now are morals that have gone out of fashion. He mentions several ways of figuring out what the things are that you can't say so that you may objectively look at the society you live in right now. As I read the article, i found myself thinking on other things I've seen in the news that you can't say.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 4th, 2004 07:12 pm (UTC)
I found the second two articles to be interesting, even frustrating, but the first I thought was unclearly thought out and poorly written. I've read a lot of semantic arguments and that one had no meat to it.

For instance, the author could have sighted a very interesting study I read about, in which white southerners were polled on their attitudes about race directly after the Equal Rights Amendment and periodically throughout the next 4 decades. The interesting thing was not that people changed their minds, but that they DIDN'T REMEMBER thinking any other way.

Swings of the moral compass are not like fashion - for the most part, values are cyclic - conservatism and liberalism have something like a 20 year swing (same length as a generation, n'est-ce pas?). And I also felt that the writer implied that fashion and morality have an arbitrary quality (like the map maker example.) I'm wondering, what exactly did you take away from that article that I'm not seeing? (I want to understand - was it a new concept, or an old one stated differently?)
Jan. 7th, 2004 01:34 pm (UTC)
Did I say something I shouldn't have?
Jan. 8th, 2004 04:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, no, you didn't. josh set me up with a new computer and i din't have access for a few days.

I see what you mean about poorly written. sometimes i don't see that. I think i took away something that he may not have intended. and i'm not sure if i can explain it. Maybe attitude change is not arbitrary, but it is slow and inevitable, like the movement of a glacier. it is this slowness that allows people to feel that "they always felt that way." it also reveals how few people truly think about the way they think. it reveals how rare self-examination is. it seems to me that so many folk just move with the times, and as the times change, so do they. we can look back to a prior age and see how far we've changed, but it doesn't seem so right now. am i making any sense at all?
Jan. 8th, 2004 06:17 pm (UTC)
Let me see if I understand -

Changes in attitude are gradual and fall beneath the radar of self reflection, allowing people to coast along on the wave of public opinion without noticing that they have changed.

The problem I see is that most changes are actually violent and radical shifts... at that time. Universal sufferage originally meant "not just nobles" then "not just educated land owners" then "not just men" and finally "not just people of any one race." Each time, there was a fundamental shift - like an earthquake, if you will. The tension isn't new. Two sets of ideals grind against each other for years before they catch on a particular issue and you have an enormous earthquake. The thing is, most people label the tension as "right" vs. "wrong."

The author labels it "old" vs. "new."

I don't agree that there are ever only two groups. I'm not sure what I think, actually. I just disagree with that. So thank you for posting it, and allowing me another opportunity to clarify my thoughts.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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