I have read enough about the spreading and eventual hegemony of the Indo European culture to believe that:
a) it was not a race as such, or at least not what their own members would believe is a race. I.e. in that time and in that place, race was akin to tribe which partook “extended family” and for that matter some might have been distinct sub-races when you think of the past and how isolated some families/tribes were for how long. (I’m calling to mind the “generations” of occupancy in some place in Siberia that seemed to always consist of a man and several women, all of them relations. Don’t go there. The past is not just another country. It can be icky beyond belief. I figure the story of Lott and his daughters happened many times.)
b) part of other tribes and families starting to ape Indo-European culture and wanting to be part of it is that the Indo-European culture was full of “glamour” for that time and place. To wit, we’re fairly sure part of the culture was massive banquets, at which story/sagas were told, in praise of the host, but also sharing common background “history” that made people want to be part of it. Though the Aeneid and the Odyssey are, time wise, many millennia removed from those sagas (of which only a sense remains) they would have been something like: a rousing story of shared history (even if made up or mythological) telling the deeds of heroes past and inspiring the future. The way they were told — and note that what survives is full of action and adventure, as well as heroism, even if some of the heroism has worn poorly in our eyes, because our morals are different enough that, say, slaughtering your hosts and making off with their stuff requires at least some sort of justification — made the other tribes, isolated families that the culture came in contact with want a piece of it, want to invent a genealogy or history that made them part of it, want to join up.
Why is this important? Or even relevant? Or has Sarah gone down the rabbit hole of ancient linguistics AGAIN?
Well, no. For various reasons, (only half of them family, the rest being a friend in trouble who seems totally unaware of his situation, and whom I’m powerless to help. This is going to end in freezing under a bridge, and there’s bloody nothing I can do.) I’m actually under such high stress that I spent most of the weekend reading about Gondwanaland dinosaurs. Because dinosaurs are what I do when the derp gets too deep. Also, I have a planet to populate. Not with dinos, but it gives me ideas.
But I experienced this sort of cultural glamor. You could say it was generational.
One of the saddest things to me is that again for various reasons, mostly because when he stopped working his health wasn’t good enough for the trip, my dad never got to visit us in CO. Dad grew up on stories of cowboys. He read books — both fiction and non-fiction — about the American west all the time. In fact, an old train bridge about three miles from grandma’s was used for the filming of Spaghetti westerns, and formed a great part (literally “great” as in fun) of dad’s childhood memories.
To him because of the west, to mom because of translated Hollywood gossip of the “glamor” age, and to me at first because of the image of the moon rocket (and later, because of Heinlein, for more ideological or idealistic reasons) America was the promised land, where everything fun happened, and where barefoot immigrants could become wealthy.
Mom and dad never even wanted to immigrate, but they aped a lot of the perceived culture and talked about America a lot.
Hell, the world talks about America a lot. I assumed all countries were more fascinated by what was happening abroad until I became an exchange student and discovered international news in the US ended up on page twenty of the daily paper, if at all. (This is both a blessing and a curse. It allows our “progressives” to imagine the world is just like America but with a bigger social net.
It is that glamour that brought “modernity” to the rest of the world. When I grew up it was still normal for married women to cover their hair in a scarf, but only women of the “lower classes”. Women like mom, who were influenced by Hollywood wore their hair short and permed. Because it was “the modern way.” Which is why I say “the future comes from America.”
The problem is that in our own country, the glamour has turned sour. You want Russian influence? Look at what its agents and influence did to our culture for almost a century.
They too started with glamour: the glamour of being a communist and “caring” for the poor, which slotted neatly into Christian virtues, but was ever so much more exciting and interesting, not like those pious church ladies, but more like being warriors and all that.
And since creating world communism (which was always Russian communism, because “internationalism” was always Russian nationalism. You can tell this by how ardently old communists will still defend the soviet union, as though it were the motherland of their dreams.) required dismantling the glamour of the free market and its wealth and free wheeling culture, and “they’re like Rome in the decadence” (a crazy accusation, since Rome was more like the Soviet Union) didn’t bring us down, so they had to start picking at the flaws, and comparing us to a regime that killed 100 million people as if we were equivalent. We still get that, like “But people starve under capitalism” (well, yes, you can’t save everyone from themselves and humans are still humans.)
But there’s been 100 years of anti-glamour. The problem is that it’s not really that. America’s movies and stories are still loved the world over, partly because of habit, partly because the future comes from America.
So what our stories are now doing is not just destroying the image of America abroad, but in a twisted way making the world worse, because some amount of people still want to imitate America even though they think we’re a hell hole (glamour isn’t rational.)
They’re trying to destroy America, but in the process they’re destroying all of the west, and themselves too. And when this doesn’t automagically result in utopia, they start picking at other things and dictating what messages your stories must have: more diversity, more social justice, more–
They think this will make the world what they want. Only it doesn’t work that way. Because they still build worlds (and yes, even contemporary fiction worldbuilds) according to what’s in their heads, and they’ve been taught to be resentful and hateful of their own home culture, and everyone in it. So what they actually write is futures of hate, resentment and envy, which frankly builds nothing.
On top of that, they write — because message first — stories so boring that they serve as reading aversion therapy. I mean, haven’t they noticed no one is praising the “soviet realism” novels? (Or maybe they are. I refuse to keep up with academia crazy.)
So what to do about it?
Story first. Always story first. Then trust that your view of the world will leak into whatever you write. And write things you love, not stuff you hate.
Western culture is dying of reverse glamour. Let’s build ‘er up.