Friday, December 19, 2008


Since winning the presidency, Barack Obama has been the center of much speculation in the American blogosphere, concerning in what regard he will effect Change in Hollywood. But this is to get the question backward, and to misunderstand cause and effect.

According to Howe and Strauss, we have entered the Fourth Turning of the historical saeculum (see essays below, tagged, 'Howe and Strauss".) This turning arises from the shift in the generational constellation. It is a natural occurence, and part of the chronology of the historical cycles. Thus, Obama's election is an effect, and not a cause, of the current change of national mood.

Pop-culture will surely undergo a change under an Obama Administration, which will certainly be an 8 year reign, but this change will have Obama himself as symptom and consequence of such, and not as the agent. What will these changes entail, though? That is the question.

Looking to Howe and Strauss and their American Prophesy theory, we can expect the following changes, by which Pop Culture will be swept along in the train:

~A shift from the splintered multiculturalism mood of the 90s, toward a mood of unity.

~A change from the passive and complacent individualism, toward an urgency, a sense of crisis and of heroism

~ A turning away from an individualistic cynicism, and an embracing of an idealism, which is now repulsed by the former attitude.

~ A shift away from divisive and individualistic platforms, which were symbolic of the Unravelling Third Turning period. Examples: The agendas of gay rights and radical feminism. These rode in on the unravelling, and will ride out with it.

Gay marriage, date rape, excessive whining about these, will be scorned by Obama, and this change in mood will be felt strongly on college campuses. Already, Obama is leading by example here: cooly rebuffing the howling of the LGBT community over Reverend Rick Warren. His masculine fatherhood is evident in pictures, and his machismo is a refutation incarnate  both to the 90s feminists and the Woodstock-turned -Yuppies generation  of which it is the offspring,  and with which it will oneday soon perish.  If this sounds crazy, recall that the human pscyhe is extremely receptive to images, a fact that advertisers know well.  A forthcoming movie starring Mickey Rourke as an aging fighter has a line which could be the banner over the Boomer Generation,  and their fading light and values:  "I'm an old broken down piece of meat,  and I'm alone"  says Rourke.  Isn't this what the Boomers may be saying to themselves collectively? 

Again, Obama himself is a symbol of such a shift; his sudden and rapid ascent can be said to be indicative of the Change itself, of which he is only the mouthpiece; ridden, as it were, by the saeculum shift of Anglo-American history.  We should not grieve the passing of the cultural torch,  but rather face it with resigned grace.  To pass up such an opportunity for noble surrender would be as foolish as trying to wear the clothes of our Boomer Summer in the chill of Obama's Nomadic late autumn.  

Third Turning solutions are folly in the Fourth Turning . . .

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