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This is a good time to recommend some supplementary reading: The Coddling of the American Mind[1], a book that does a great job of outlining what has changed in the last 30 years and why there is very much a generational gap at play with how people perceive themselves. It turns out, raising kids in an environment of "safetyism" where nothing ever goes wrong makes full-grown adults really unresilient, and more prone to thinking of themselves as victims.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Coddling-American-Mind-Intentions-Gen...

I really like their original The Atlantic article of the same name (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-cod...) but was disappointed by the book, too much repetition and filler material.

Still worth a look, though, and the situation has not gotten better in the last 5 years.


(as updated 2019, though I don't know if there are any differences, significant or not)

“ too much repetition and filler material”

That describes a lot of popular business, psychology and science books. I don’t really understand why authors feel pressure to fill hundreds of pages. A lot of books would be much better if they got to the point in 50 pages.

I liked this book as well. Going into it, I was pretty baffled by some of the recent stories I'd heard from academia- Evergreen and the like. This book makes a compelling case that the post 2013 or so era of college kids are victims to a certain degree (new psychological problems and whatnot), or at least provides substantial evidence that they are suffering from various psychological issues to greater extent than previous generations. This book helped me emphasize better with some of the college debacles that seem batshit crazy to me.

I’ve not read the book but the first thing that came to mind was how does this explain the boomers?

If I am understanding the premise correctly it’s implying there’s some meaningful distinction across generational lines about mental resilience?

The last five years have made that abundantly clear that premise would have some real flaws in it.

Even before that; the religious right has been posing themselves as victims for decades. Bill O'Reily started talking about "you're no longer allowed to say 'Merry Christmas'" in the earlier '00s, which aside from being nonsense, is also a good example of their supposed victimhood.

I took that as more social commentary than victimhood. Victimhood would infer some real harm. O’Reilly never said that, just that the situation was ridiculous.

Ridiculous and completely non existent.

You can totally take it the other way too. A group of people felt they were being victimized by having Christian seasonal greetings directed at them and went on a campaign to make that behavior be seen as uncouth.

Except that didn't happen.

Who were the people that put forward the “say happy holidays not merry Christmas” issue?

Or was the issue invented (and lost) by conservative talking heads?

Some corporations put up a mixture of Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays signage/messaging etc.

Christian persecution complex hustlers—and Fox News etc. seeking outraged eyeballs—took the existence of people saying "Happy Holidays" as an attack on them because "Jesus is the reason for the season" and then unreasonably inferred that somehow people were banned from saying "Merry Christmas".

This led to some very entitled people shouting "It's 'Merry Christmas' actually!" at some underpaid cashier in Walmart because they'd been led to believing that saying Happy Holidays was a form of religious persecution and an attack on their faith.

For a British example, recall the story of "Winterval", where an attempt by a city council to come up with a brand name to cover a series of events including Diwali, Christmas, New Years and so on that was used in addition to "Christmas" led to a full out culture war where the press misrepresented the whole thing as somehow replacing Christmas due to "political correctness". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winterval

I like how at no point it's occurred to you that maybe people are just being polite or considerate towards the beliefs of others...or that a business might not want to stipulate a specific theological belief it's employees must put forward.

That just can't be it for some reason, it's got to be a conspiracy against christianity!

Talk about victimhood...

When a society built for Christians (or for “Christian ideals” which this country was founded upon) starts to acknowledge and accept others, the folks against these changes think everyone else is being too sensitive.

When a society built with slaves and r*ping and pillaging indigenous populations starts to acknowledge that there’s issues that stemmed from that, the folks against these changes and dialogue think everyone else is being too sensitive.

Is there a pattern here? There’s a lot of talk here about “victim mentality” here and how “everyone else is so sensitive, I figured it out!”

It’s like the classic looking at bullet patterns on the planes that returned and not analyzing the planes that were taken down.

You do know that most of the founding fathers were far from religious people (especially Christian religious), and the whole church and state separation thing was there from the beginning because about the only religious thing anyone could agree on was generally A god (and depending on the founding father that was controversial) - not the specific flavor/interpretation of the god?

Unlike some European states, the United States has never been particularly Christian in any solidly identifiable way - more a hand wavey ‘as long as we don’t talk about which sect or really think about it too much’ way.

Quakers? check. Protestants? Check check. Catholics? Check check. Unitarians? Check evangelicals? Check. Gnostics? Check. Sunnis? Check. Jews? Check. Baptists? Check. Mormons? Check. And a whole lot more.

Hand wavey?

The US was founded by entire colonies of people coming overseas to worship the Christian God freely. Many key founders were deeply religious; believing all forms of government are doomed without the help of the Christian God. The Christian God was a huge factor in government and repeatedly credited as the guiding force and inspiration for the entire endeavor.

Christian prayer and Bible reading was a public school item until the mid 1960s. Church and state separation was entirely redefined around then as well; it didn't mean back then what people think it means now. The ten commandments was in courthouses. There are people still alive today that were led in prayer to the Christian God every single day of public school (and required to read the Bible); they're everywhere.

All with different interpretations of the Christian god (or not Christian, as in the Jewish diaspora). The Spanish who settled colonies in Florida and California, the French in Louisiana, the English, Polish, and German settlers in Jamestown would all struggle to agree on a common set of definitions or rituals except there was a bible in there somewhere.

I was led in prayer at public schools, and private - doesn’t mean I or most of the other students were religious, though some were. And that is a very recent thing. Most regions didn’t have public school bible reading then.

You seem to be making a statement that the US has some strong theocratic religious foundation, when it’s more of a ‘we’ve got too many competing groups that can’t get along with each other - we’ll just kinda stay out of it where we can’. Hence the hand waves part. Which is good, we’ve never had the religious wars where a specific group had to fight against another, which is how you end up with the state religions like in Europe (anglicans vs Catholics vs Protestants for instance).

The groups you’re pointing to were often refugees from those fights and came in as waves during the various periods of repression as tides turned, or different regions fell to famine.

How do you see it that way?

What if it were mathematicians from all over armed with the same Calculus book hand waving that everyone should ignore the idiosyncrasies of their alma mater or their professor's flavor of finding derivatives? What if the founding documents they wrote all spoke highly of Calculus; Calculus books in every classroom. To me it sounds like people weren't hand waving away God, but setting aside their idiosyncrasies to worship the same Christ.

You’re having a rather odd take on these words! I never said they were hand waving away God. I said they were hand waving all the important details of what religion they were referring to, and about the only thing anyone seemed to agree on is a God somewhere (Usually) and we won’t get into most of the details. Many prominent founding fathers were atheist or agnostic, but that wasn’t the majority.

The American approach is a ‘if we don’t look too hard, it’ll be ok’, since otherwise you end up with the literal large scale religious wars that pushed many of these groups here in the first place from Europe. Or society wide pogroms like Anglicans/Protestants/Catholics have done to each other constantly elsewhere.

And if you think Catholics/Protestants/Mormons/Baptists, etc are hanging out in the same church at any scale, we must hang out with very, very different crowds. They are not all deriving calculus from the same book - or all even agreeing that calculus exists.

A closer analogy would be a bunch of high school English teachers arguing that math exists, and one knows algebra one, another knows calculus, another knows trig, and another is doing arithmetic in base 16 while everyone else is using base 10. And they all think the other is wrong, but not completely so.

But there is no actual math teacher in sight.

> The US was founded by entire colonies of people coming overseas to worship the Christian God freely

That's the source of some of the colonies. There were many other reasons that people came.

Some were looking for economic benefit. Some were prisoners that their home countries were looking to get rid of.

> Christian prayer and Bible reading was a public school item until the mid 1960s

Until the 1960s, but starting in the 1940s or 1950s. Much of that public religiosity was a response to the Cold War, opposing the anti-theistic position of the USSR.

Depending on where you live in the US, this actually did happen. I'm one of the people who bought into that crap.

White "Elder millennial" here, who grew up in red states with a Boomer dad who tried really hard not to drop the N-word in anger around me, but I still heard it a couple times. The "programming" worked on me great. I was all primed for this post-hate, post-racial society. I believed it. Legitimately. I was dedicated to judging people by the content of their character. Men, women. White, black. Whatever. IDK how it worked on everyone else but if fucking worked on me. It worked.

My... I dunno, mid 20s? Were a shock as I discovered we weren't all on the same page. It's just gotten worse over time.

Roger Ailes, the man who made Fox News, generated the controversy around this when it was a non-issue and drove it into the public spotlight.

You can read the book The Loudest Voice in the Room or watch the mini-series based on it to learn more.

Cool, will do. Thanks for an actual answer

> Who were the people that put forward the “say happy holidays not merry Christmas” issue?

I was one of these people for a time. Mainly because in certain places, like where I'm from, Christmas was pushed on people. I'm an atheist and those holidays are hard enough. I've been pressured into praying with people, whom when I would try to complain would effectively mock me. I was forced to go to church where a pastor (or priest) would talk about me by proxy, speaking about how terrible I am or how I was going to hell (yaaaaay brimstone and fire). That's just a couple examples, but I'm sure you can fill in the gaps. So, I got to be kind of a dick about it.

I have grown since then, and Christians have generally gotten more tolerant that not everybody pauses for their holidays. This "conversation" could've been a lot healthier though.

Mostly the latter. Happy Holidays isn't about excluding Christmas and Christians. It's acknowledging that there are multiple religious celebrations in similar spirit going on around the same time. I'm not sure why so many people feel like more inclusive language somehow is meant to exclude them. Some more history on the usage.


I live in a 90% Christian country and everyone says "Happy Holidays" and it doesn't have anything to do with religious tolerance but rather with the fact that there are multiple Christian holidays around Christmas time.

In what ways are boomers displaying victimhood? The article is quite specific and I wouldn’t recognise that group (though surely there will be individuals within that group) as displaying the kind of victimhood that suggests the high TIV mentioned.

These types of books are made to sell, bro, not to be completely truthful.

You got duped.

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