Progressivism, Sexuality, and Mental Illness

Will America be entirely gay in a few generations? Will everyone be mentally ill? It would appear so from a straight-line extrapolation of the stunning rise in both LGBT identification and mental illness among young Americans.

Let’s begin with trends in sexual orientation among young people. A recent Gallup survey found that: “Roughly 21% of Generation Z Americans who have reached adulthood—those born between 1997 and 2003—identify as LGBT. That is nearly double the proportion of millennials who do so, while the gap widens even further when compared with older generations.” Abigail Shrier, meanwhile, reports a 1,000-fold increase in trans identification. Reactions to these trends have varied. Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene thinks they indicate that there will be no straight people in a few generations; Bill Maher lampoons the increase as a rebellious fad; and progressives celebrate the rise as an electoral boon for the Democrats. Other liberals view the rise as the product of increasing toleration, similar to left-handedness, in which identification increases as stigmas are lifted and people come out of the closet.

Of these responses, Maher’s is closest to the target. A granular look at survey data on same-sex behaviour and LGBT identity shows that identification is increasingly diverging from behaviour. More importantly, those who adopt an LGBT identity but display conventionally heterosexual behaviour are a growing and distinct group, who lean strongly to the left politically and experience considerably greater mental health problems than the rest of the population.

By contrast, those who engage in same-sex behaviour are more politically moderate and psychologically stable. These facts sit awkwardly with the progressive view that the rise in LGBT identity, like left-handedness, is explained by people increasingly feeling that they can come out of the closet because society is more liberal. My analysis of these data raise another interesting question: Has some of the increase in anxiety and depression among young people, like the LGBT identity surge, arisen from a culture that values divergence and boundary-transgression over conformity to traditional norms and roles?

Is the LGBT surge real?

In the New York Times, conservative columnist Ross Douthat has argued that the apparent LGBT surge is entangled in a new “LGBTQ Culture War.” This fraught dispute has already produced a burst of legislative activity in red states, including “bathroom bills” limiting access to toilets by biological sex, and education initiatives such as Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Douthat believes that unease about the dramatic rise of LGBT identification lies at the heart of the new politics of sexuality.

But has the LGBT share of young people really tripled in a decade? It has not. First, a growing share of LGBT identifiers engage in purely heterosexual behaviour. Figure 1, drawn from the General Social Survey (GSS), shows that, in 2008, about five percent of Americans under the age of 30 identified as LGBT and a similar number had a same-sex partnership in that year. By 2021, the proportion identifying as LGBT had increased 11 points to 16.3 percent but the share reporting same-sex relations had only risen four points, to 8.6 percent. LGBT identity had become twice as prevalent as LGBT behaviour. We must also bear in mind that 20 percent of young people now report no sex in the previous year, which means the four-point rise in same-sex partnering since 2008 is actually closer to a three-point rise: not nothing, but hardly a sexual revolution.

Figure 1. Source: GSS 2008-21.

The trend towards greater LGBT identification has been particularly pronounced for young women, among whom there are three bisexuals for every lesbian in the 2018–21 period. Among young men, on the other hand, gays outnumber bisexuals and the LGBT total is only half as large as it is for women. Other large major surveys conducted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and by Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) find a similar pattern.

Furthermore, the GSS data show that bisexual women are the fastest-growing category, accounting for a disproportionate share of the post-2010 rise. A closer look at trends among female bisexuals in figure 2 shows that an increasing share of them display conventional sexual behaviour. In 2008–10, just 13 percent of female bisexuals said they only had male partners during the past five years. By 2018 this was up to 53 percent, rising to 57 percent in 2021. Most young female bisexuals today are arguably LGBT in name only.

Figure 2. Source: GSS 2008–21. Number of cases per year is 15 in 2008-10, 28 in 2012–14, 34 in 2016–18, and 14 in 2021.

Second, the rise is less dramatic than it appears to be because LGBT identifiers are heavily drawn from the cohort who identify as “very liberal” on a five-point ideology scale (“very liberal” to “very conservative”). In the GSS, the LGBT share rose from 11 to 34 percent between 2008 and 2021 among very liberal young people but increased from only three to nine percent among the slightly liberal, moderate, or conservative who make up around four-fifths of the total. Figure 3 shows the general pattern across the FIRE, CCES, and GSS in 2020–21.

Figure 3. Source: FIRE 2020–21 (N=56,861), CCES 2020 (N=13,771), GSS 2021 (N=231).

Some of the surveys show a major difference in the rate of LGBT identification between very liberal and slightly liberal respondents, with less difference between moderates and conservatives. The distinctive profile of the very liberal on LGBT identity differs from, say, support for gay marriage, where there is a relatively linear pattern as we move from left to right.

Trends among elite students in the FIRE surveys show a pronounced tilt whereby left-leaning students are especially likely to reject the heterosexual label. Among very liberal white female students in leading universities, those who strongly approve of shouting down offensive speakers have a seven in 10 chance of identifying as LGBT compared to four in 10 for very liberal female students who strongly disapprove of shout-downs. A similar divide holds for views of the police among white liberal students.

Minority liberal students are much less likely to identify as LGBT, and political views matter much less for them in predicting LGBT identity. But among young people without a college degree, minorities are as likely as whites to identify as not heterosexual. In other words, it appears that a transgressive culture which values difference also encompasses less political people.

Has the LGBT identity spike made young people more liberal? No. The overall ideological and partisan balance among the under-30s has been relatively stable since 2008. If being LGBT causes someone to become liberal, rather than the reverse, we should have seen a big shift to the left among young people. Yet this has not occurred in the United States. Instead, it appears that the rise in LGBT identification has been siloed among the very liberal, limiting its wider political impact.

Third, while the jump in transgender identification is real, there is now evidence that the trend has peaked and begun to decline. The FIRE data show that the weighted proportion of undergraduates identifying as trans declined significantly among a set of 50 top schools, from 1.5 percent in 2020 to 0.85 percent in 2021. In 2021, older students were significantly more likely to be trans than younger (18–19 year-old) students. Canada’s 2021 census data similarly show that the proportion of transgender and non-binary individuals rises in every age group as we move from old to young, but peaks at 0.85 percent among the 20–24s, declining to 0.73 percent among the 15–19s. Likewise, British data shows that referrals for potential gender reassignment surgery jumped from 136 in 2010–11 to a peak of around 2,750 in the years 2018–19 and 2019–20 before dropping to 2,383 in 2020–21, the latest year for which we have data. It seems we have passed peak trans.

Finally, all reputable survey firms struggle to get a representative sample of mobile and highly distracted young people to complete surveys. Those who are not at university are especially hard to reach. As a result, psychological traits such as openness to experience, neuroticism, and agreeableness, as well being very online, which have varying levels of association with LGBT identification, predict a higher likelihood of filling out a survey. This skews surveys.

For instance, in Britain, over a quarter of the 5,407 18–20 year-olds on YouGov’s 2022 panel identified as other than heterosexual compared to only 7.6 percent of 2019 official Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures for 16–24 year-olds. The latter uses a similar question, but is based on a 320,000 national sample, using census sampling frames. Canada’s census, meanwhile, reports 0.8 percent transgender and non-binary among Gen-Z in 2021 compared to Gallup’s 2.1 percent estimate for the United States in the same year. These comparisons suggest the share of sexual minorities in surveys should be deflated by at least half.

The LGBT rise in the context of the youth mental health crisis

So, the surge in LGBT identification is less dramatic and less consequential than it appears to be at first glance. And this is before we take into account the likelihood that many of these young people may drift in the direction of conventional sexual identities as they age and settle down.

There is, however, a more serious issue thrown up by these trends—rising levels of anxiety and depression, especially among LGBT, female, and liberal young people. Derek Thompson’s Atlantic article (the findings of which are reproduced in figure 4), shows that over three in four LGBT-identifying teens in 2021 said they felt persistently sad or hopeless, as did 57 percent of female teens. The 2021 GSS and a 2020 Qualtrics survey I conducted show that very liberal young people are twice as likely as slight liberals, moderates, and conservatives to say they have experienced depression and anxiety while LGBT young people are 2.5 times more likely to report these symptoms.

Figure 4.

This means there is a strong correlation between people’s responses to three questions: sexual orientation, mental health, and political beliefs. In fact, a common factor accounts for almost half of the variation in the answers across all three questions, suggesting that they heavily overlap.

While it can be difficult to pick causation and correlation apart, the pattern in figure 5 reveals something interesting. The figure compares two separate groups: young women who report having slept with a woman over the past year, and young women who did not sleep with a woman but identify as LGBT.

Figure 5. Source: GSS 2008–21. Number of individuals ranged from 5 to 35 per bar, with around twice as many identifiers-without-behaviour as those engaging in same-sex behaviour.

The graph shows that the share of women who have had a same-sex partner doesn’t differ a great deal in their ideology: around three percent of both liberal and conservative women reported a same-sex experience during 2008–21. Where there is a big ideological difference is among women who have not had a same-sex partner but still identify as LGBT. Of the most liberal young women, 11.5 percent fall into the LGBT identity-without-behaviour category, but just 3.1 percent of conservative young women do. The sample size is not large, but the pattern is consistent: LGBT identity, not behaviour, is what predicts being very liberal for women.

Interestingly, for men, this pattern does not hold. Though the sample is small, the male trend shows that LGBT identification and behaviour remain closely linked and both are related to liberalism, suggesting a better fit with the conventional view that being a noticeable minority inclines people to lean left. Yet among young women, the fastest growing group, those with LGBT identity-without-behaviour stand out as distinctively left-wing.

Turning to mental health, I find the same pattern—women exhibiting same-sex behaviour are far less different from the average than women who have conventional sexual behaviour but identify as LGBT. Expanding the data to include women of all ages so as to maximize sample size, the pattern in figure 6 is clear: women who engage in same-sex behaviour differ very little from the general female population on three mental health indicators.

Figure 6. Source: GSS 2008–21. N= 57-81 same-sex partnered females and 93–335 LGBT identifiers-without-behaviour.

However, women who identify-without-behaving LGBT score significantly higher on anxiety/depression, unhappiness, and number of days of poor mental health during the past month. If intolerance is the reason for poor LGBT mental health, it is difficult to understand how those who are not same-sex partnered, and thus less likely to present as LGBT, should report worse emotional problems than those who are same-sex partnered. Here it is worth adding that women who had no sex partners did not suffer worse mental health than those who did, so the effect has nothing to do with people not having sex.

The progressive account—that LGBT identification is like left-handedness, that persecution explains mental illness, and that rising toleration leads to more people coming out—cannot account for the patterns in my data. A more parsimonious explanation is that left-liberal culture, especially among young people, inclines people to identify as both LGBT and as having a mental health problem.

This could stem from a partly heritable psychological disposition of high openness and neuroticism with low conscientiousness, as some research suggests. Another possibility is that a culture which celebrates divergence and transgression may be nudging those with intermittent same-sex attraction to label themselves LGBT, or inclining people with occasional melancholy to say they are depressed.

More seriously, it may be that modern culture is, as Boston University’s Liah Greenfeld suggests, anomic. That is, by breaking down established identity roles, narratives, and boundaries, it introduces dissonance, indeterminacy, and choice, increasing the rates of identity crisis and, by extension, psychological distress. The rise in mental health problems, she argues, is worse in the West than elsewhere in the world, reflecting the cultural specificity of mental illness. Her analysis takes a Durkheimian approach, which focuses on how a loss of communal regulation of desires and identities can produce higher suicide levels as the mind becomes unmoored from social givens in the external world.

In a recent article for the Wall Street Journal, Greenfeld adds that:

The more a society is dedicated to the value of equality and the more choices it offers for individual self-determination, the higher its rates of functional mental illness. … Equality inevitably makes self-definition a matter of one’s own choice, and the formation of personal identity—necessary for mental health—becomes a personal responsibility, a burden some people can’t shoulder.

Greenfeld focuses on how modern nations levelled hierarchies and certainties based on class and religion, producing more “madness” as people struggled to define themselves. But the same could hold for left-modernist culture, and its deconstruction of gender, as well as other traditional identities such as nationhood itself. Those in highly left-liberal circles may come to view gender as a matter of fluidity and choice rather than ascription. This loss of boundaries may lead to dissonance between a person’s interior mental state and the outside world, and between prior self-understandings and radically deconstructed versions of these understandings, producing anomie.

The data indicate that the link between LGBT identification and mental health problems has grown closer over the past decade. A large, long-running study of American high-school students showed that mental health declined substantially faster among LGBT teens compared to heterosexual teens between 2012 and 2018. Figure 7 shows that among those under 30 in the GSS, a similar pattern emerges, with very liberal and LGBT individuals experiencing a sharper rise in unhappiness than others between 2010–12 and 2014–18.

Figure 7. Source: GSS 2010–18. No data on mental health days for 2021.

So, between 2002 and 2012, seven percent of unhappy people under 30 were LGBT. However, by 2018–21, 22 percent of unhappy young people were LGBT—all during a period of rising toleration for sexual minorities. The well-known high incidence of mental illness among transgender youth is merely the most visible tip of a wider problem.

If the change over time is, like LGBT identification, largely a reporting difference, that’s one thing. But what if the data reflect a left-liberal culture that is producing greater mental distress? Or one which nudges people—especially the young—to identify as mentally ill, which focuses them on their emotional problems, leading to a negative psychological spiral? At the very least, one might have thought that researchers would have spent some time trying to test for anomic mental illness and its connection to left-modernist culture.

Yet, as Greenfeld notes, such research is essentially nonexistent. In addition to disciplinary constraints, this kind of endeavour is deeply unfashionable because it questions the taken-for-granted progressive narrative of discrimination, minority trauma, the fight for social justice, and the need for more resources for the psychotherapy industry. In the meantime, practitioners seem powerless to stem the tide of mental illness that now afflicts nearly half of young people and has been stubbornly rising across Western societies.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://quillette.com/2022/06/14/progressivism-sexuality-and-mental-illness/
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Interesting article. I’d hafta read again and pore over the figures to determine if this is really a fad. Mebbe we have reached peak trans. That would be nice.

In the last link, M. Kaufman cited Tordoff (2022). FWIW, I recommend Singal’s Researchers Found Puberty Blockers And Hormones Didn’t Improve Trans Kids’ Mental Health At Their Clinic. Then They Published A Study Claiming The Opposite. (Updated)

In my experience, Gandhi was right when he said (approx.) “Happiness is when what you think, say, and do is the same.” If so, then You have (primarily) young women who think and say they’re LBGT, but what they do is the opposite.

Also, without regard to LGBT, the overall increase in mental illness in young people has many causes. One is the determination that it’s all about feelings. No doubt feelings are crucial. They make up a big part of what You think, say, and do. But if they’re central to Your existence, at the expense of thinking about and viewing reality, then I’d say You’re gonna end up unbalanced. Or, rather, unhinged.

IMO.

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I had thought that trans was in itself the final derangement but now I realize that there is one further step. Whereas trans is an Identity, above we learn that one can Identify as LGBTQ while in fact being a normal heterosexual so one might say that such people Identify as Identifiers even tho they aren’t really. So whereas I might Identify as a female tho I am in fact male, that doesn’t stop me from being fully cognizant of my gender and sill Identifying as LGBT – so I Identify as an Identifier even tho I’m not. The logic is taxing, no wonder these folks suffer from mental illness. I think they should just Identify as obsessed with Identity and get lives for themselves.

Edit:

Perhaps this is comparable to the way that Trumpists say that they believe he won the election while knowing perfectly well that he lost – they Identify as believers even tho they really aren’t. These Identities are in fact nothing more than political badges, thus the further left you are, the more likely you are to wear the LGBT badge, even if it signifies nothing other than one’s political tribe.

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Good essay. The rates of trans identification are alarming, because of the well-established frequency of people suffering from gender dysphoria and confirmed transgender. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, gender dysphoria prevalence accounts for 0.005–0.014% of the population for biological males and 0.002–0.003% for biological females. This would suggest that a relatively huge number of young people are using the distorting metric of opposing cisgender poles to misdiagnose themselves as transgender.

Being gender nonconforming does not make you transgender in any way, shape or form, except in the rarest of instances where you have experienced deep levels of self-disgust with your own genitalia and sex no later than six years old. I know huge numbers of both men and women who are traditionally masculine or feminine, but I don’t know a single person who is cisgender in every respect. I know beefy hulks who also like to cook and are fastidious about cleaning house. I know women who dress and act feminine in virtually every respect, but play soccer at weekends and are not averse to using a spirit level to put up a set of shelves, which they enjoy.

Most people don’t conform to gender stereotypes, because conformity to any notion of what one should be, how one should think or who one should be attracted to (provided they are a consenting adult) is death- it’s the death of individual and of individual thought. Attempts to create the fiction of illusory boxes into which some people might fit, is a rhetorical trick designed for the specific purpose of making people they are something they are not, simply because they don’t conform to the tyrannically imposed stereotype.

You cannot ‘discover’ that you are transgender. It is something you will have known since the earliest memories in your life, but even more importantly you will have known the exact cause of your distress your entire life. If you have simply been miserable, anxious, depressed or awkward around others, and have been told by someone it is probably because you are transgender and simply didn’t realise it, they are a malicious liar who is trying to manipulate you for purposes that are difficult to fathom. Unfortunately, for many, abject misery is just a part of growing up. It’s why under normal circumstances those fierce friendships which are forged in a few short teenage years are the only friendships which endure an entire lifetime. We cleave to each other so intensely to blunt our confusion and pain and it forges a bond which lasts a lifetime.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason for the unprecedented growth in mis-self-diagnosis of trans is due to smart phones and social media robbing kids of the ability to form those intense teenage relationships where only your closest friends can really translate what you really mean on an emotional level. It’s a vital part of socialisation, one which we use as a model for subsequent friendships and friendly acquaintances. No wonder younger people feel so isolated, lonely and mentally unwell, smartphones have forced them to forgo one of single most important aspects of growing up, a phase incredibly important to later life.

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It’d be interesting to see how fast this article would get cancelled if it were let out into the mainstream ecosystem. Suggesting that LGBTxyz+@ is somehow related to mental health problems and the relationship is NOT due to WMH oppression… ballsy… I love it!

And if anybody needed another EMPIRICAL, SCIENTIFIC reason not to have homosexuality/transexuality force-taught to our 6-year-old children by the public school system, the following data seems pretty relevant:

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Like how I learned the other week that, regarding the monkey-pox risks, it was necessary to warn gays, bisexuals and men-who-have-sex-with-men… which I found confusing. I think @Ella-B or someone like that was nice enough to try and explain it to me, but I am a slow learner, so still confused about it (but there is a lot of confusion out there these days so I guess I fit right in…)

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Well, they did try to cancel Eric Kaufmann from his university post in May or June of last year. Thankfully, the universities have been warned of the possible impact to their public funding should they continue to pursue a monolithic approach to viewpoint diversity. Thankfully, Professor Kaufmann was instrumental in giving evidence to the government of the phenomenon of a lack of tolerance for viewpoint diversity within the academy, so it is highly likely that any actions against him would have dramatic repercussions not only for his institution, but also the entire UK university sector.

In many ways, this might not be such a bad thing, other than the obvious regrettable implications for Eric Kaufmann personally. It might be just the excuse the government needs to drastically cut the number of UK university placements, and redirect the funding to a system of vocational training similar to Germany’s excellent system. Classifying anyone mildly on the Right of politics as Hitler, simply won’t wash in perpetuity.

There was some talk last year of a shift to vocational training. The cancellation of a few dissenting professors might be just the ammunition needed to radically reform the universities. It would most definitely be a vote winning issue, and shrink the Left’s vote share over time.

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It doesn’t really break your post Geary but I’d not put it that way. The ‘stereotype’ has not been tyrannically imposed in my lifetime at least. Nuts, not since Rosie the Riveter. Not since Boudica. Everyone has always known that ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are theoretical ‘poles’ that don’t really describe real people. The ‘tyranny’ has come from the wokies who think that if you can climb trees with the best of they boys, you must be a boy. Nope, even back in the day when ‘gender roles’ were a thing, we all knew that it was simply about keeping social order, not really about what people are like. When the nurses campaigned to keep men out of their job it was just them protecting their turf, not anything like believing that men couldn’t do nursing.

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To be honest, whenever I can, especially employment, I identify by as many intersectional identities as possible to protect myself from HR and layoffs. Especially if I’m able to self identify (and at times have advocated with PRIDE to allow self identification so I can claim it).

So being an unaltered, trans, lesbian with a physical disability clearly helps ease my apparent privilege. I mean, when intersectionalism is the currency of power, why wouldn’t I claim to be something that gives me power? Especially when, according to the ‘rules’ there’s nothing to say I can’t?

So if I’m a liberal white woman, I’m in a bind because I’m advocating for all these intersectional ‘victims’ but it looks bad…so I claim a few of my own, because I can, and I don’t have to act on it…just identify as it.

I retired before transitioning to dolphin, but I do wonder to what uses I might have put my Identity were I still an employee.

That’s exactly what I meant, even though I put it in a clumsy way. The imposition of an imaginary cisgender male and female norm, creates an ideological landscape in which people cannot help but understand that they are not ‘heteronormative’.

That being said, I wouldn’t be opposed to a milder form which prevented bullying towards those who simply didn’t fall into comfortable categories. I was lucky I could throw a ball and was quite good at sports, but there were kids who I knew (boys in particular) who were bullied awfully for being slightly different. Still, I did OK out of it, the fact that I didn’t like bullies and was willing to stick up for weaker or less popular kids was one of things which made at least a couple of girls develop crushes on me.

It’s the same reason why although I quite like progressives and am willing to discuss ideas critically, I simply won’t stand for anything which seems remotely like bullying. Most ideologies have their bad actors, but social media actively promotes them, regardless of their ilk.

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More and more, I think that this generation is suffering under an overall “learned helplessness” situation.

  1. Young people today do not seem to do anything except talk on-line. They don’t play music. They don’t go to dances. They don’t write poetry. They seem to have no interests in accomplishment.
  2. The inability to do anything means that they have no accomplishments. They don’t have any AGENCY - any ability to move things by their own actions.
  3. Learning how to do something provides positive reinforcement.
  4. Doing nothing makes you depressed because you have no positive reinforcement.

I think also that the Cult of the Superhero ties into this - in today’s world, young people believe that they should look up to and admire fictional characters who have impossible accomplishments.

The period of 16-27 is, for many persons in ages past, a period of expanding your skills and accomplishments. I learned to program in COBOL (in 1968), improved my math skills, learned to play harmonica and a little guitar. I went to grad school.

The trannies waste this key moment in a life by taking drugs which destroy their fertility, destroy their families by delusional insanity, and hang out with other trannie losers. It’s a huge waste of time for a lot of kids.

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The mental illness and dysfunctionality displayed by many young people on the hard Left is an erupting force tearing apart many Left-wing advocacy groups.

Per The Intercept:

Quote from one executive:

I got to a point like three years ago where I had a crisis of faith, like, I don’t even know, most of these spaces on the left are just not — they’re not healthy. Like all these people are just not — they’re not doing well,” he said. “The dynamic, the toxic dynamic of whatever you want to call it — callout culture, cancel culture, whatever — is creating this really intense thing, and no one is able to acknowledge it, no one’s able to talk about it, no one’s able to say how bad it is.

What an icky world. Thanks, Progressive Educators!

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Yeah, the thing is to be clear that the ‘tyranny’ is not ours, but theirs. The Patriarchy had almost completed the liberation of all sexes from all gender stereotypes, and then along come the wokies and ruin it with their neo-puritan absolutes.

That’s me. I was pretty athletic and was the recognized tree climbing champ in elementary school – so not bad at being a monkey – but I couldn’t throw a ball 20 feet which made me a lousy cro-magnon hunter and did I hear about it. I was almost forced to become a ‘brain’. It seems to me that the stereotypes or norms probably are necessary tho of course they become cruel at times. Boys reinforce their sense of masculinity by ritually abusing the loser and tho one would want to take the edge off, one probably wouldn’t want to stop that entirely, least you get … what we’re getting.

Should look to, or can’t help looking to? I think it’s more that they have this deep longing to have agency and accomplishment and know, deep inside, that they don’t. So they live it vicariously via superheros. Mind, I suppose it’s inevitable that we eventually get a woke, black, gay, trans-hero who attempts to divert our young back into church.

Mind, how do you have a snowflake superhero who is triggered by evil and is expected to swoon?

I did. My ‘A’-level English teacher wanted to put me forward for a national poetry competition. I declined. It’s a good way to tighten one’s prose. I gave it up. Alas, I fell afoul of the cursed rhyming couplet. My hero’s were Aulden and W. Owen, they didn’t seem to obsessively limit their verse to the last word at the end of every sentence, although I will admit it’s useful for acrostics…

That’s the deliberate confutation of the complication in any story. The complication is the barrier which the hero has to overcome or circumvent through cunning artifice. The superhero cult was actually quite good in its original conception, because every hero had a difficult barrier to overcome, an adversity which their superhero powers couldn’t beat.

Spiderman with Uncle Ben, and the lasting regret of acting in a self-serving fashion, and the exhortation that with ‘great power, comes great responsibility’. Superman, and the complication of the alter ego with Lois Lane- the fact that Clark Kent was forced to forego his own personal need for the greater good. Now, they just dig deep, get angry (in a just way) and blast away with their superpower. Pure rage and imagination makes the superhero stronger- a sad reflection of a culture which offers a comfy blanket regardless of the circumstance.

Ah, well there is your mistake! Their brains aren’t developing at the same speeds as earlier generations. And that bit doesn’t seem to be cultural, but rather a general function of a more abundant diet and a somewhat safer world, at least in terms of how aggression and violence are increasingly restricted to specific locales. The period which you describe is probably a better description of the 23 to 33 age range these days.

Probably the best possible advice these days- regardless of whichever fuckwit degree a kid has chosen- do a one year Masters in something useful. My cousin did a Computer Studies Master at the UEA- his project was programming robots. He worked for a financial data Startup for awhile earning OK maney, but now works for an establishment company in Cambridge handling all their online content and user access. He has a team working for him. He studied history at a good university and earned a 1st- but history doesn’t pay the bills.

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Because I live under an obsession to make the world as simple as possible, but no simpler, I divide humans into three parts:

Creatives, who are educated somebodies,
Responsibles, who are rule-following anybodies,
Subordinates, who are helpless nobodies.

If you are an educated creative, and a somebody, you are supposed to be creative – or you are a nobody, and nobody wants that.

But how? Let us admit that being creative is the hardest thing in the world, and chances are that your creative project will fail, because many are called but few are chosen.

But mucking about with sexuality is the easiest thing in the world.

Yeah, that’s it: be a sexual creative! Yay!

Only, I would not advise it. (But, don’t tell anyone.)

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Is it any wonder Kaufmann has a tendency to find himself in so much hot water with such highly speculative & tenuously supported claims? There’s a lot to be said about checking out the methodology which unfortunately is irresponsibly rarely covered when there’s a narrative to push. Here are just a few holes noted by those more in the statistical know:

And any graph that doesn’t give sample sizes or estimates of statistical uncertainty is highly suspect.

Also, the claim that liberal whites are substantially more likely as conservative whites to report that they have been diagnosed with a mental illness doesn’t really say anything. Many white conservatives believe that psychological problems can be self managed with a positive mental attitude or by prayer so might not seek a medical diagnosis because they believe the the solution is non-medical or more perhaps they are pre disposed personality & or culturally wise to take a denialist approach?

The idea that there’s an inconsistency with hetero behaviour observant in increases in transgender identification just proves a misunderstanding in the premise of transgenderism. Identifying as trans doesn’t require same sex behaviour because it’s about not conforming to social gendered standards so sexual preferences are unrelated.

Whilst it’s certainly true there’s a wide variety & contradiction in configuration of traits the point is that some people identify socially more with a particular group or neither group than the one they were assigned to at birth consequently wishing to express themselves & be treated as such. We maybe complex creatures but the limitations of the prevailing social construct doesn’t really allow for that complexity to be accurately categorised.

Perhaps you maybe inclined to receive a more ‘authentic’ understanding from your fellow conservative male pals given they are the demographic more likely to have ‘experience’ in this domain if the self reports on this forum are anything to go by…. :grin:

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