Let’s Beat Up On the Young. Again. And Again. And Again.
O tempora o mores! What’s wrong with teenagers these days? Having dreams and desires? Doing things for fun? Having sex? And don’t even get me started on their iphones, ipads, ishmads and all that other touch-screen, sexy-picture-taking rubbish. Why, only a generation ago, teenagers were completely different. They hunted the woolly mammoth and mined salt for their own meals. They made all their own clothes and bought their own cars with the money they earned making cheeseburgers after school. Alas, it’s all in the past. Gone are the days when thirteen-year-old girls married sixteen-year-old boys and had ten babies in quick succession. Now, that was some maturity, some responsibility! Today, young people live through their teens and twenties enjoying themselves and not saving money for an obscenely overpriced home somewhere by the side of a coal plant. What’s wrong with teenagers today, and how can we help them live harder, less enjoyable lives as surly little adults?
You might think that the habits and mores of teenagers and young people today have something to do with demographic changes in the last several decades and centuries, and the current state of the economy, but you would be wrong. No, Alison Gopnik, writing for the blessed Wall Street Journal — I swear, lately, this gift just keeps on giving — is here to tell you that really, there is just something wrong with young people’s brains. It’s not the high rate of unemployment. It’s not the screwed-up economy, where an Ivy League degree gets you a job as a secretary (assuming you speak three languages and have a nice ass). It’s not the crushing cost of education these days. It’s not that it makes sense to spend some time living a little and getting a solid financial ground under your feet before you start having kids and taking out astronomical mortgages. It’s not that people who claim they lived like Trappist monks when they were young are lying. Oh no. Everything bad that happens to teenagers and young people these days is because they are lazy, irresponsible, unrealistic and shallow. In other words, “the kids these days”. Cue in hundreds of comments about “the way it was in MY day”. Read more…
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