The Culture Wars, as they were known even at the time, pitted jargon-spouting pseuds from college Critical Race Theory departments against sour old housewives from organizations with names like the National Federation of Decency.
Received opinion is that the Culture Wars were picturesque, entertaining, and irrelevant—a distraction from emerging problems of inequality, globalization, and terrorism. Andrew Hartman of Illinois State University disagrees. For him, the Culture Wars were a series of jousts over the legitimacy of the 1960s “counterculture,” with its new views of race, sex, and God. The counterculture won. Mapplethorpe beat Helms. Multiculturalism beat One Nation Under God. The Bra Burners beat the Founding Fathers.
Hartman is right. But the victory was Pyrrhic. It is early to be writing its history.