It’s nuts out there. I pity young people today for the pressures they endure.

I have written in the past of my grudging respect for Camille Paglia.  Although I definitely am on the other side of the fence than she is on a number of issues, she is smart, honest, and writes beautifully (unlike so many libs, and feminists in particular).

Sometimes I muse about what it must be like a) to be a young person today and b) to raise children today. I look around and I am glad I am the age I am.

A few days ago, from Paglia via a friend’s email … a sample:

“I really pity young people today in this environment because the pressures are enormous. It’s one thing to feel, ‘I’m not quite comfortable in the gender I was assigned at birth,’ but the pressures are to change, change, change, and to telegraph it to the world. People are pushed into making choices about surgical interventions and taking hormones, which is dangerous, and they will have all kinds of medical problems in the long run…”

“But the moment you say this [exposure of the flesh] your contemporary feminist will say, ‘You’re blaming the victim. We have the right to dress as we want.’ Of course. However, you have to be prepared for the reality of the world … which is a dangerous place. They have no idea about human psychology … that you don’t mess around with sexuality, which is extremely explosive, that you must be prepared to defend yourself, be alert to your environment.”

“Earlier Paglia noted that millennials seem to have ‘no sense of the great patterns of world history’ and, thus, believe that ‘we are marching to perfection,’ that we are reaching a ‘transnational’ ‘utopia,’ while our sexual tolerance is actually a sign that we, like Babylon and Rome, are about to fall.”

“We are very tolerant, not passionate, but there are bands of vandals and destroyers circling around the edge of our civilization who will bring it down,” she said, making clear in her comments about ISIS that she was at least in part referring to Radical Islamists.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Dogs and Fleas, Pò sì jiù, Si vis pacem para bellum!, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. un-ionized says:

    I have noticed too, the ignorance of history and having no sense that we are all part of history. That is one more really great reason to read the writings of the Church fathers.

  2. It’s amazing that we should consider ourselves so enlightened in an age of genocide, infanticide, global war, kleptocratic government and sexual perversion on an industrial scale. Since the 16th century mankind has engaged in wholesale destruction which he has been pleased to call “renewal” and “reform”: igniting wars, swallowing up nations, toppling throne and altar, and setting the stage for two worldwide conflagrations and the Cold War (which Richard Nixon argued was really World War III), followed by the age of terrorism.

    And how did the Church’s hierarchy respond? By the wholesale discarding of penances and disciplines and devotions and sacramentals and even the traditional Mass, in the midst of the bloodiest century in human history — right when we needed them the most, and right when we should have been taking them up with redoubled zeal and humility.

  3. Tony Phillips says:

    Surely ‘transgenderism’ is the low hanging fruit of the whole gener ideology dispute. Clearly these people have a disorder. Their bodies don’t match they think their ‘gender’ is–and the treatment (they suppose) is surgery and hormone treatment. We might debate whether the primary problem really is with the sexual organs and sex characteristics or with the brain, but one thing we surely all must agree on is that this is a disorder. If there’s no disorder, there’s no need for treatment.

    And yes, there have been societies where sexual perversities were tolerated and even celebrated–materially rich, decadent societies who had no inking they were in their twilight. At the risk of falling into Marx’s trap of discerning immutable historical laws, the west does seem to be falling into the same pattern. And yes ISIS is an external threat, but let’s not forget China and other as-yet unrecognised east Asian threats which may yet prove to be more dangerous.

  4. kekeak2008 says:

    I was just talking to my wife about this the other day. We have two kids and I worry about all the incredible challenges we’re currently facing and will face in the future. The recent SCOTUS ruling allowing same sex “marriage” and now the seemingly nationwide push for transgenderism definitely worries me. I think that’s why I’ve been frustrated with the Church hierarchy recently: the world appears to be on fire and several clerics seem determined to speak in ambiguous or incomplete language when addressing people within and without the Church. A value argument could be made that we live in the most challenging times ever experienced by the Catholic Church. In times like these, we absolutely need clear statements of truth from not only the lay faithful but from our priests, bishops, etc. Of course this is done with love and charity, but the truth nonetheless. St. Athanasius, ora pro nobis. Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.

  5. NBW says:

    Wow! She really pegged it!

  6. teachermom24 says:

    I really, really, REALLY do not like categorizing people. I have four children, ages 16-26. Are they “millenials” or something else. Whatever they are, they are themselves and do not conform to a “category”. They face “pressures”–duh! So did I and all young people of my generation in the 60s and 70s.

    Truly, “there is nothing new under the sun”. We all, each of us as individuals, have to fight pretty much the same battles that have been on earth since the Fall. I have been reading through The Golden Children’s Bible with my young students (K-3) and today we just ready the story of Jacob and Esau. There is nothing new under the sun.

  7. Maltese says:

    “And how did the Church’s hierarchy respond? By the wholesale discarding of penances and disciplines and devotions and sacramentals and even the traditional Mass, in the midst of the bloodiest century in human history — right when we needed them the most, and right when we should have been taking them up with redoubled zeal and humility.”

    Indeed! James Joyce, who I used to read voraciously, had as one of his themes in “Finnegan’s Wake”, the “ricorso” based on the philosophical writings of Giambattista Vico, ” in which civilization rose from chaos, passed through theocratic, aristocratic, and democratic phases, and then lapsed back into chaos.” There is something to be said about it, if we look at human history. Vico was a devout Catholic, btw. Of course it took the Roman Empire centuries to fall, but I see the signs of ours eventually diminishing, and perhaps falling. This can happen quicker than one might imagine, and will often only be realized after it happens.

  8. Maltese says:

    Let me put it more bluntly, instead of the Visigoths at the gates, we have the Russians and Chinese (and to a minor extent, North Korea). There are no signs that they are about to sign on to some “world-peace” UN Treaty anytime soon–exactly the opposite. They are challenging us on every corner of the globe, if you have eyes to read around the Kardashian headlines. This threat is not abating, subsiding, or calming, but increasing incrementally.

  9. danielinnola says:

    This ” transgender” madness has been cooked up in the very bowels of hell. I have never heard of such craziness touted as “normal” in my life. The media nd their minions fail to report on the suicide rate amongst those who mutilate themselves in an attempt to “transgender” . Some time ago i watched a documentary about a Christian outreach that ministered to these unfortunate people, those who went through the mutilation and then came to regret it. The very Devil himself has entered the hearts and minds of modern man. Where else could such diabolical madness come from?

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    This is a tough one. Youth and immoral pressures; and “progress” that leads to civilizational collapse rather than utopia. Here’s excerpts from an insightful essay, my apologies Fr. Z if this excerpt is a bit long.

    The British writer John O’Sullivan had an essay in the June 1999 issue of the New Criterion. Titled “The Moral Consequences of Impatience,” it begins with this:

    “In order to see where we are going, it might help to recall where we used to be. In mid-Victorian England, a group of illiterate workers in a Lancashire mill town hired a local teacher to give weekly public readings of Macaulay’s History of England, at the time just published. At their close they voted to send a message of thanks to the historian for bringing the history of their country within the reach of uneducated working men.

    “…Between the Boer War and the First World War, my own grandfather managed a public house in the Liverpool Dock Road, frequented mainly by dockers. My grandmother sometimes served behind the bar. On only one occasion did a customer use foul language in her presence, at which some of the “regulars” took him aside for a quiet word. He returned and apologized.

    “These…tales of Victorian respectability and aspiration do not, of course, exhaust the full range of working-class experience of those days. Reports of the squalor of Victorian slums, the number of London prostitutes, or the poor physical condition of British Army recruits in 1914 will balance the picture. But they describe the direction in which English, American, and continental European societies were travelling one-hundred years ago–and even the moral and cultural solidity which they had already achieved.

    “…In that period there seemed to be an upright piano in the front parlor of most comfortable working-class homes, signifying that respectability had been attained but that a further level of cultivation had now to be climbed. And though a passion for self-improvement may not ultimately be the best motive for aesthetic appreciation, for many people it is an indispensable starting point. Many working-class children were thus forced to learn the piano, and some did. A children’s encyclopaedia was an invariable Christmas present or school prize.

    “…It is easy to poke fun at the modest standards of moral and cultural attainment sketched here. There is a long tradition of intellectual condescension towards the aspirations of the respectable. But as Samuel Butler pointed out, those who scorn respectability as a tepid imitation of real virtue usually turn out to be the same people who cannot meet its unexacting demands.

    O’Sullivan, after looking at the rise of socialism, several pages later has this observation on the 1960s:

    “…As the Sixties gathered momentum, however, the real nature of the rebellion began to take shape before our eyes with the rise of the student movement, feminism, gay liberation…It was the application of excitement, irrationalism, and impatience to personal life–a reluctance to abide by the rules and entrenched habits that attend any ordinary life and career…

    O’Sullivan discusses various other influences on youth and pressures to change. For example, courtesy is largely forgotten in a rush to enforce “Tolerance.”

    He closes his essay with- interestingly enough- by suggesting a brick-by-brick method of “re-moralizing society.” And he advises: “We must cherish something, namely patience, that our opponents disdain…”

    (On April 28 in the NC Register, Peter Smith has an article on some Catholic schools, such as one diocese in Michigan, switching from Common Core to a classical education- including Latin studies.)

  11. scribbly says:

    What I get concerned about is the thin edge syndrome (not that this is a thin edge — I think that was a long time ago): but once we allow one disorder to be ‘reclassified’ as normal, where will that spread to other disorders?

    Could we end up with people who have Multiple Personality Disorder end up having one vote for each personality?

    Praying for you children and grand-children just seems to intensify as the years go by…

  12. oldconvert says:

    When I was a little girl I desperately wanted to be a boy. Unless prevented, I wore T-shirts, shorts and jeans (this was many decades ago, before such attire was normal for respectable little English girls), fought, climbed trees, played with train sets. My heroes were Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, George of the Famous Five, Beryl the Peril. In short, I felt that given my tastes, boys had a much better time of it than girls. At least boys didn’t have their poor bewildered mothers pressing on them pink dresses and embroidery kits in doomed attempts to create properly girly girls.

    Of course, it all got sorted out at puberty. Which is why I am so sorry for all those children (a report in today’s paper has children being taught about transgenderism in preschool) who are being pressured to adopt an opposite sexuality, or bisexuality, or “fluid” sexuality, by means of surgery and drugs, at an age when they can’t possibly appreciate the full consequences of what is being done to them.

  13. un-ionized says:

    oldconvert, we have similar backgrounds. it does all get sorted out eventually. I posted on this before here as the “girls don’t do math” syndrome. It just makes the kid feel worse when the adults press on them the pink dresses and embroidery kits. and guess what, now I do embroidery!

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