Okay, this sounds like some sort of pub bore type rant, or maybe the foamings of some nutter on /pol/, but I don't care. I'm convinced now of the following and I will endeavour to prove it:
Western culture is becoming increasingly degraded, decadent, and degenerate, and this is a bad thing.
The causes of this are varied - social media (it was a mistake), the approbation of mediocrity, and a wholesale abdication of responsibility amongst people, or, more particularly, that society treats its children like adults and its adults like children. The consequences are, at least in part, an increasing rate of depression and suicide, alcohol abuse, all as a result of our degraded "culture" in the west giving no real purpose to peoples' lives. This causes them to glom onto the same culture that encourages this sort of thing and perpetuate the cycle.
You see it all around you. Television, for a start. The BBC, for a start, fails to educate, inform, or entertain, but instead pushes its own metropolitan elite viewpoint in its supposedly "highbrow" output and glorifies meaningless drivel and nihilistic trash in a hopeless attempt to pander to da yoof in its popular output. Thus you end up with them fawning over that rapist-eyed talent vacuum Stormzy as, get this, a political commentator. Yes. That Stormzy. The one for whom shouting "fuck Boris" at Glastonbury (or, as al-Beeb call it nowadays, Glasto) and claiming to be in touch with ordinary people is feted as stunning and brave while he writes songs about how rich he is (stinking going on filthy, if you must know). The commercial channels are even worse. Abandoning any pretense at quality, they pump out repeats and remakes because they don't have the confidence to produce anything that might contain an actual transcendent meaning in case it be seen as elitist or unpopular, while at the same time generating reality and celebrity shite. There is of course the multiply resurrected Big Brother, that effort where people you've never heard of eat kangaroo testicles, but there's also other shitpiles as well. Take Me Out, in which a bevy of shrieking Instagram users compete for the affections of other shrieking Instagram users. Love Island, where steroidal airheads compete for the affections of pneumatic bimbos. And, the crowning turd in the waterpipe, Naked Attraction, an astonishing Channel 4 effort in which baying hosts rank and rate the headless nudes of contestants to see if they will fancy each other. I am not making this up. They all but fill out a chart with "tits 6/10, legs 8/10, mapatasi 7/10." Deary me. Even long running programmes are being debased by the need to appeal to the masses and/or "start a conversation." Doctor Who since being taken over by Chris Chinballs and Jodie Whittaker, prefers to arsehole actually decent plotting and character development in favour of lecturing the plebs. Result - people turning off in droves. Casualty got it even worse.
Cinema is another area which has degenerated. There are very, very few films recently released that have actual meaning or interest behind them. It's all fucking superheroes, which is aimed at teenagers and people who still think they are teenagers. That, and remakes and sequels. There is nothing meaningful or honest about a load of overly buff idiots in Lycra trying to save us from other overly buff idiots in Lycra. Then there's the Star Wars sequel trilogy, which fluttered between reworking the original trilogy and "subverting expectations" as a stalking horse to deflect from its utter creative bankruptcy, and in which the one character who could have provided a real or meaningful and identifiable arc, defecting stormtrooper Finn, was reduced to being a stupid fucking clown. No wonder John Boyega ebayed his script to Ruse of Skywanker before release. I have seen one film in the last three years at the cinema, and that was I, Tonya about Tonya Harding and busting knees. The rest is just mediocrity for its own sake. Compare and contrast as recently as 2005-6, when I would go up the Vue in Leicester Square every weekend and see something different and more often than not I'd have a good time.
And then there is music. Modern music all sounds the same. No, really, it does. There's been formal research into this. Most pop songs nowadays have no intro because people nowadays have such a crabbed attention span thanks to social media (which was a mistake) so they dive right into it. Every single moment of it has to have a hook, or a repeat of another hook. They all use the same two key signatures (C major and G major). Then there's the Millennial Whoop, the vocal construct where the singer goes from a 5th note on a scale to the root note and back a few times in succession. They are all focus tested to appeal to as many people as possible. In fact, I've heard that the same few people write the majority of mainstream pop songs using algorithms. Case in point - Ed Sheeran, piss be upon him, had his song Shape of You originally written for Rihanna. It wouldn't surprise me. And, of course, the lyrics are all increasingly stupid. So, with modern pop music all objectively sounding the same, how do you differentiate your product from the next producers? How do you succeed at creating and marketing a teen pop slut when everyone is doing the same? Why, by getting the poor ninny you have given your computer-generated, auto-tuned, focus-tested song to do something deliberately outrageous to attract the attention of the panting hordes on social media. Like wearing vagina-shaped trousers, or twerking while tunelessly blowing into a flute, or getting your dick out on stage. But then everyone else is doing this as well, so what now? Why, you get your network of PR shills and social media "influencers" to laud this not as a tawdry attention whoring stunt but to say something like, "ACKCHUALLY, when Beyoncé gyrated in front of a lit up board saying 'feminist' it was a statement about socially and culturally relevant topic." Knowing, of course, that these PR shills are too stupid to realise that, or it is more than their job's worth to correctly state that, the Emperor is naked.
The Emperor is also naked in so-called high culture. I am convinced that the entirety of modern art is a bet between gallery owners and academics as to who can persuade the masses that the most ridiculous thing imaginable is art. Hence Tracey Emin's unmade bed, Mierda de l'Artista (a piece consisting literally of canned shit), shoving rancid Spaghetti-O's up your clopper, and a performance piece in the summer of 2018 that consisted infamously of a woman swallowing a mass of laxatives, shitting herself on stage, and taping microphones to her stomach to broadcast her rectal rumbles in the name of "demystifying the anus." Once again, there is too much money involved to call this pretention out for what it is - a bad joke.
And then there's social media as a whole. Social media was a mistake. What could have been the next great creative frontier has turned into a salted-earth segment of the internets that exists solely to service the interests of screechy ill informed loudmouths, narcissists, advertisers, and all of the above. Where honest content and genuine creative work (which can be found thereupon) is squashed by the cavalcade of reaction videos, floods of 140 character abuse-hurling, heavily modified images of some instaho shilling a product that they've slipped her some cashola to promote but is claiming to be #livingthedream, and similar wastes of time and bandwidth. And the problem isn't just that these things aren't to my taste, but that the constant pressure as exemplified by the deliberately addictive nature of social media to also be #livingthedream and keeping up with everyone else, and to have the right views on everything or be dogpiled by hordes of howling woke mobs and sent death threats and rape threats (examples passim ad nauseam), and the constant quest for clicks and notifications all pinging up on your phone, it also has, I'm sure, contributed to the aforementioned ascending suicide rates and depression epidemic. Because there's always that one friend, who you've never met, who has it all together and so on and so forth. And social media content is in and of itself, for the most part, antithetical to any possible real commentary or insight because it's designed to encourage, and reward, miniscule attention spans. In fact, many such platforms have put hard counters to same in the form of Twatter's 140 or 300 character limit and TikTok's 15 second video limit. None of which is at all conducive to anything worthwhile.
So let's move out of the media world and into meatspace. Ever been to any British medium to large town or city on a Saturday night? It's like a Hogarth painting with extra screeching. This, boys and girls, is because the average British pub has changed from somewhere you can crush a pint of foaming nut-brown ale and chat with people into a Vertical Drinking Establishment. However, it's not the men who are the main sources of Hogarthian depravity. They tend to get incoherent and loud, but not scary. It's the women. They get possessive and clawy and start doing a fair impression of a pair of cats that have just encroached on each other's territory. They hiss, they scream, they yowl. They start to sound like Peggy Mitchell from Eastenders. Before you know it, the fur is flying. One of them saw the other looking at her boyfriend, the SLAG. The boyfriend in question tends to look both stunned and bemused and oddly aroused, while his mate gently barfs into a bin. Last time I was near a Vertical Drinking Establishment I felt like I was making an episode of Gorillas in the Mist. There is also something uniquely terrifying about drunken women brawling with each other. They are out for blood. Men who drunkenly swing at each other usually wander off after trading a few blows as a third party separates them, often with a line like, "he's not worth it," and thereafter content themselves with grimacing at each other. But drunken women brawling with each other would happily fight to the death. Any attempt at separating them is met with them snarling and biting at the third party separator. Heels are removed and used as makeshift punch daggers. Giant fake nails dart at eyeballs. The Furies of Greek legendry were all women. I can see why. There's also a reticence on the part of their menfolk to intervene lest it is interpreted as violence against women. The psychological and anthropological reasons for all this are beyond the scope of this writeup but I dare say it is related to how the worst bullies in the workplace are women bullying other women. Binge drinking and so forth is also encouraged by the chain pubs and also by the culture as a whole, which treats swallowing fizzy lager and alcopops until one collapses in a heap as the only way one can be sure of enjoying oneself.
You may also have noticed, especially in Britain, the proliferation of betting shops. This isn't because we care more about horse racing, oh no. It's because of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. These are essentially high stakes slot machines which are limited to four per establishment, and are responsible for a meteoric rise in gambling addiction. When I was working in Legal Aid I had a client who was a former gambling addict who was on the point of losing his house because he couldn't stop feeding £20 notes into these machines. It was only recently that their maximum stake was reduced in an attempt to combat same, but they are still advertised televisually and by large posters on bookies' windows.
Ah, but this sort of thing has been going on for years, Hazelnut, I hear you say. Probably it has. But not like this. The cultural degradation we see all around us is brought on by a combination of these factors. The dumbing down of popular culture and of high culture as well to appeal to the masses because as a society we are institutionally terrified of seeming elitist or divisive, combined with the swirling narcissism of social media and worship in the establishment of mediocrity and insistence on slinging out any real material values in favour of mindless hedonism and self indulgence has left in many peoples' life a void, which they self medicate in a variety of ways. Some people take to social media in pursuit of the almighty click. It doesn't satisfy them, but degrades them as they begin to live their lives as a meat puppet for their fickle viewership. Others take to getting wasted every night, which degrades them as they piss and vomit into bins and roll around in the gutters brawling with police officers. Still others cleave to mindless, reflexive consumerism. In the words of the meme, they don't think, they just consoome product then get excited for next product. This degrades them as they begin to crave more and more product and become a slave to the faceless multinationals that produce the latest smartphone or gadget or superhero themed action figure. They still don't have a purpose in life. Still others get into byzantine forms of social justice politics, trying to find ever more arcane causes and battles to fight to prove that they are making a difference. They are degraded because there are always leftist movements out there who could do with a rent-a-mob of useful idiots who they inevitably end up bending the knee to for a while before being spat out for some breach of an unwritten woke code of conduct. Meanwhile, because none of these things can provide lasting satisfaction in life, people are still unsatisfied, but the powers that be that produce popular culture, social media, or alcohol see that those items are popular, and produce yet more because that is what is demanded by the masses. Acting upon the sunk cost fallacy, they double down and thrust themselves into it even harder, like a heroin addict craving that feeling he had the first time he had a skinpop but which never arrives. They also see people on shitty programmes like Love Island and on Instacrap and compare themselves unfavourably, leading to a sunk cost fallacy as they try harder and harder to chase the dragon of a purpose in life which has constantly eluded them. If only I was pretty and had a million subscribers, I'd be happy, they think, but then when that is the case they're still not happy. While the political ones pat themselves on the back because they persuaded some gigantocorporation to put a rainbow flag in its logo for Pride Month, only to realise that this is as hollow a victory as one can get considering there are still, for example, many countries in the world where homosexuality is punishable by death, but which for some reason it is "culturally insensitive" to go on about.
As a result, substance abuse is up. Suicide is up. Depression and anti-depressant use is up. But do the establishment care? Nope. I blame both left and right for this. The right, a lot of the time, are prepared to put up with it because all this filling of the void that used to be filled by a real material purpose such as having a family, having a job which made a difference on some level, being involved in religion, or having hobbies or other intellectual challenge but is now filled by overpriced piss-water or swiping incessantly on Tinder or queuing at midnight for the new iPhone boosts the economy. While the left put up with it because they see this degraded cultural landscape as having done away with the bourgeois establishment which is ever their foe and because it provides them with the stream of useful idiots they insist on having. Both sides also have a vested interest in keeping the degeneracy flowing because it prevents them from realising that neither the right nor left elite have any real motive to care about the masses. This is, incidentally, why "populist" is the snarl word of the day for outsider political movements, and why those of us who decry the cultural degradation all around us tend to get smeared as a bunch of crazy Nazis, and subjected to hatchet jobs in the media. (Example in point - Cathy Newman's interviewing on Channel 4 of Jordan B. Peterson, which seemed to revolve around her hilariously misrepresenting his points back to him for most of an hour rather than trying to come up with any legitimate criticism of his work.)
How do we stop the degeneracy? Good question. I think the thing to do in the first place is to find a purpose in life for yourself. A healthy one, that is. Then, I think we need to, on an organised level, push back against being bombarded with mediocrity by, put simply, not buying it. If enough of us boycott reality TV, superhero shit in the cinema, Twatter, Faceache, Instacrap, TikTok, quit the binge drinking, and instead spend our money on things that have a real message or purpose or something thought provoking beyond facile "(insert political happening here) bad" level statements, stop buying shitty singles that all sound the same, then market pressures will invariably move towards encouraging works of quality to appear. Refraining from buying some e-girl's bathwater is of course a given. Maybe find a job that you enjoy rather than one than you endure. Then find a hobby. Have children - I know it's not cool and there's all the foaming in the media about how having children is bad for the planet and makes Greta Thunberg glower at you, but it's something that gives life meaning. When this is all done, if enough people have meaning in their life and stop contributing to the decadence by indulging themselves in hedonism and consuming of product, the demand for same won't be there and maybe we can rescue our culture from the mire it is in and get those suicide and alcoholism rates down.
There will be difficulties. There will be shrieking from the woke about how we're reactionaries and adopting bourgeois and outdated values, but they can be ignored. After all, they listen to their own diarrhoea. There will be "friends" who turn their back on you because you've become boring because you aren't spending every weekend pissed in a heap, but their liver function is falling through the floor. And most importantly, think of the future. Do we want a future where people are contented at a fundamental level and have a society worthy of the name, or one which resembles a cyberpunk dystopia after it collapses under its own hedonism the way the Western Roman Empire did.