http://laurakipnis.com/wp-content/uploa ... -Elegy.pdf
Transgression has been replaced by trauma as the cultural concept of the hour: making rules rather than breaking them has become the signature aesthetic move, that’s just how it is, there’s no going back. New historical actors have taken up places on the social stage and made their bids for cultural hegemony, having sent the old ones to re-education camp. These days it’s the transgressed-upon who are the protagonists of the moment: the offended, people who are very upset by things, their interventions a drumbeat on social media, their tremulous voices ascendant. (Online cultural commissar is now a promising career path.) And the mainstream cultural institutions are, on the whole, deferring, offering solace and apologias, posting warning signs and caveats to what might cause aesthetic injury. Aesthetic injuries flourish nonetheless.
I loved the last few decades of the twentieth century, when one after another f undamentalist minister was exposed as a scummy lying adulterer and the world made sense. The right was still at it throughout the 1990s, waging their losing culture wars — it was almost too easy to get them to huff and puff. When none other than the reptilian Rudolph Giuliani, then mayor of New York, threatened to shut down the Brooklyn Museum in retribution for an art exhibit he deemed offensive, the museum produced a yellow stamp announcing that the work in the exhibit “may cause shock, vomiting, confusion, panic, euphoria and anxiety.” Note that as of 1999 it was still possible to be ironic about offending people, because offended people were generally regarded as morons.