Ross Douthat is blaming Harvey Weinstein’s crimes on the 1970’s and Hugh Hefner.
The coarse worldview I’ve called “Hefnerism” endured, as the victims of Weinstein and Bill Clinton and Donald Trump can well attest. But while feminism struggled to restrain it, in the educated classes some restraint has been imposed. And the worldview you might call Polanski-ism, which winked at the use and abuse of teenagers, became disreputable and then generally condemned.
Moreover this relative-to-the-1970s restraint has held lately, at least provisionally, even as we’ve gone through an aftershock of that social revolution, in which religion has waned some more and permissiveness increasingly dominates opinion polls. Old-fashioned mores are not coming back — but neither, for now, is the wild erotic acting-out of the ’70s, their often-cruel dionysianism.
No, actually it started long before that — check with the women of Hollywood in the 1930’s — and it wasn’t just Hollywood and Hefner. It was the updated macho bullshit culture that was a backlash against the rise of feminism of the 1960’s. And it involved a lot of so called “family values” men and their enablers who hit back.
Ross Douthat was born in 1979, so his recollection of the time is based on purely what he’s read in the history books, which are still being written, or re-runs of “That ’70’s Show.” Either way, it helps if you were actually there before using the collective “we.”
(For what it’s worth, I remember the ’70’s as being far more restrained and refined than the 1960’s. But that’s just me.)