I am the product of a different cultural environment than the one in which I live now. As a result, I may notice some things I do not say more rapidly, but perhaps more strikingly than others.
I seem to notice the de-Christianisation of this country in the way more and more people here simply look. If you are the PC, sensitive kind with the daughter you can look away now, or read at your own peril.
Two words in advance: where I come from, the way we look shows our respect for others, and for commonly accepted rules of behaviour. It is not only that we want to look properly: by the way we look, we show others that we took care of appearing in front of them in the proper way, and that we share their same values. You may say that in Italy things are rather intertwined (we do like to look good, anyway) but you get the gist.
Together with this always went common rules of “appearance” which, shared by everyone, made the standard of decency and respect for others. People gladly submitted to these rules, out of a generally shared sense of what is good and proper. In fact, in those times there still was something like that: a generally shared sense of what is good and proper. It was a broadly Catholic society, you know…
When Christianity went out of the window, these rules were subverted like all the rest. Some examples among many:
1) the “drug addict” look. You know, half the head with the “Auschwitz cut”, the other half normal.
2) the “I wish I were a fag” look. This is the “as thin as I can”, “ephebophiles, look at me!” look.
3) the “I will make you look at my hair” look. Purple metallic, ivy green, cobalt blue. Everything goes.
4) the “I work for my tattoo man” look. Entire arms, entire shoulders, or the entire neck covered in tattoos. Grave matter? What's “grave matter”? There is still some reaction here (cue the word “tramp stamp”: women are always the harshest judges of their sex…) but in general the epidemic is clear to see, and no sign of abatement.
5) the “stuck in 1968″ look. Any or several of the above mentioned, but worn from people, generally women, clearly beyond Sixty. This, my friends, is what a life of marijuana does to you. I notice it far less in men, and I attribute this to the need of the old hags to carry on to the bitter and very, very ugly end an “emancipation battle” their marijuana-smoking male counterparts never needed to, ahem, “fight”.
As an addendum, I shall add the “Battleship Potemkin” look: strictly below thirty, 300 pounds or more, a belly protruding from the corners before the rest, and the attitude that says “I look wonderful as I am, and if you disagree you are a chauvinist pig”. This last comes with the small caveat that there is a small possibility that said battleship got to look that way out of sheer frailty and correctly identified rather than, so to speak, ideological gluttony. But all the others are entirely voluntary, and require time and money.
Now let us ask ourselves: how comes that our forefathers were so “judgmental”, and we (I mean: the others) aren't? Because they were Christians, are we (I mean: the others) aren't, is the simple answer.
In sane times, the “alternative look” immediately told them one had an alternative lifestyle; and being neither politically correct nor stupid they did not fail to notice, and to say it.
The fag look would have indicated to them one who is either a sodomite or, in case he wasn't, creepy and outright worthy of mistrust.
The purple metallic hair would have been seen – and rightly so – as an obvious sign of rebellion to all that is good and proper.
The tattoos would have been seen as an obvious sign of godlessness.
Battleship Potemkin would have been seen as an obvious sign of gluttony.
Not anymore in the “time of mercy”. Today, being seen as “judgmental” is the only sin. Everyone is a good boy, or girl, or whatever he feels he is, until proven otherwise. When it's proven otherwise, it's “who am I to judge”…
Some of you might say that this is not so anymore, and that today so many good people look like bad ones; but I must disagree. The simple fact is that those very rebellions our forefathers rightly condemned are still there, but now they have become mainstream. Our forefathers saw them because they were smart; we don't see them because we are stupid, and don't want to look unkind; but rebellion still was, and still is; it's just that the rebel does not even feel such anymore, merely up with the times. Nowadays it is mainstream that there is no right and wrong behaviour. It is mainstream that there is no bent or straight, no sacred or profane, no sinfulness or saintliness. It is mainstream that everyone can do whatever he pleases, “if he does, oh, not, oh, harm, oh, otheeers”….
Nowadays, Godlesness is mainstream.
The way people look simply reflects it.