I’ve about had it with the bars around here. I stopped in one the other day for a drink while waiting for an order from a local shop. This young drunk saw a young man who he thought was gay and started to go after him just because of that. The young man left before realizing what was happening, but the drunk got nasty and went on about bashing the gay kid in the most scurrilous fashion. The language that he used was the worst I have heard in a public setting.
He probably thought he was entertaining his audience. There were three people there besides me, including the owner. They smiled, apparently embarrassed by what he was saying. They were used to it. Foul language is so commonplace in this bar that it doesn’t bother anyone anymore, except fools like me.
Later I reflected on how several of the bars that I know are trashy with four-letter words. Used to be that when you heard something like that the bartender cautioned the individual to watch his language; not any more. Why is that? I think it is a metaphor for the times, which are trashy and disgusting on their own. We have lost our way as a cohesive (and coherent) society, and this is one way we as a society express that loss.
I am reminded of some history I learned that had a similar bent. A man named Jacob Leisler took over the New York government during the colonial period. He did not commit an offense in doing so, but his enemies had him hanged and drawn and quartered in his own front yard (which happened to be the site of New York’s City Hall). That was a society grown sick by hatred. Leisler was cleared in a subsequent change of administrations, his body exhumed, and he was given a state funeral.
But he left his mark. Thing is, Jacob Leisler was a crude man. His followers were like that, too, and the nastiness that developed among the two levels of society was so severe that progress in New York’s government was delayed for more than twenty years. A common denominator in all that was the grossness of the language used, and in the middle of it all a gross governor named Cornbury became the biggest thief of his time. Later, once people got their heads back on again, they called these times “the Confusions.”
We are in a confusing time today. We have a leader who represents a gross distortion of the values that we once took for granted. The power brokers behind him are rapacious thieves. They are systematically going about the dismantling of the very structures that house those values, casting them aside with the casualness of a four-letter word. Their followers see the end of their own isolation in the course of events, but in reality all they are getting is one disappointment after another as their hopes for a future that includes them fade.
This moral transformation is not the sole doing of the vulgar new political class, although that is the latest manifestation. This goes back to the post-war era, when commie-bashing (laughable in hindsight), politically evil appeals to God, and a gross indifference by the people to values prevailed. Socialism is the new bugaboo word, immigrants who look different the new commies, God has been insinuated into a government structure specifically defined to exclude religion, and people are as indifferent to values as the bar crowd is to vulgar language.
I’m not saying that the gay-bashing drunk is a victim of the times; I don’t believe he is; the times have enabled him, not crucified him. He is just a sick kid. He lives in a time when the moral imperative has been set aside, trashed like language itself, when governments become dysfunctional solely because of hatred and we all flounce about in a state of confusion.
I guess I’ll drink at home.