I observed with interest the recent meme by young women who were amazed to find the young men in their lives thought about Rome often.
I certainly think about Rome often, though I am not a young man—I am a man in the period of life I like to call “early late middle age.” I never thought thinking about Rome was remarkable.
I’m not sure I should be considered part of the meme because I’m a history buff, and one of the historical periods that interests me is Rome. History is a hobby for me, and I think about history a lot.
On the other hand, maybe that makes me a big part of the meme.
Historian Patrick Wyman has a theory on why people (of every and all genders) are fascinated by Rome today. It’s a good theory and now I think I need to subscribe to his podcast and read his books.
And Ryan Broderick has a theory why this meme is becoming popular now:
Every 5-7 years, a whole bunch of people come of age online at the same time. Their dumb, usually playful freshman-dorm-icebreaker-level content and discourse is then pored over by media outlets and turned into these big news cycles that inevitably sour. But I think it’s just kids making sense of the world around them. It’s fun and sometimes reveals some interesting quirks about society, but it doesn’t always — and, I’d argue, rarely does — matter.