This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Archive for the category “teenagers”

“Stupid” Is The Least Of It

Unknown, "A Laughing Fool" (c. 1500)So this Dutch 14-year-old got herself arrested for tweeting a terrorist threat at American Airlines. Copycats inevitably followed, because the world is apparently full of people who think that the worst thing about such tweets is that they are “stupid jokes”. Read more…

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The Long 1950’s … Behind the Iron Curtain

Yuri Pimenov, "A Wedding on Tomorrow's Street" (1962)As someone who grew up in a totalitarian Communist state, nothing infuriates me more than the incessant conservative droning-on about progressives being “communist”, “socialist” and “Stalinist”. People who say these things use such words as mere slurs, not much different than calling someone an asswipe, and of course, they betray both a profound ignorance of history and a great deal of contempt for it. But more than that, they’ve got it completely backwards. Truth is, American conservatives have remarkably a lot in common with Russian communists: the same obsession with ideological purity, the same irrational intolerance towards loyal dissent, the same prioritizing of ideology over practicality, the same preparedness to sacrifice liberties, human dignity and lives for the sake of ideological totems, the same clash-of-civilizations thinking, the same pretensions at worldwide cultural and political hegemony. And of course, the modern American conservative and the Russian communist of the bygone era share a deep and abiding dislike of people having unauthorized sex in pursuit of “instant gratification”.

Enter Congress’ resident comedian, Rep. Louie Gohmert, because of course he doth enter, for how could he not? After all, it’s only been a few hours since the last eruption of stupid from the right-wingers, and we haven’t heard from Gohmert in, like, days. With a name that sounds like a practical joke and every word coming out of his mouth worthy of an Onion editorial, he provides an endless parade of stupidity and ignorance, which is probably why he was elected in the first place. His latest installment revolves around the idea that teaching school children about human biology and reproductive health would turn us into the USSR. Read more…

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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