I just found a description of yet another book by people who like nothing more than to dump on the younger generation:
“Every generation claims that the next one has been coddled and spoiled, but it really may be true this time,” writes Ken S. Coates, arts dean at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and Bill Morrison, history professor emeritus at the University of Northern B.C. in Prince George. “Something new and nasty is going on with university students these days, and there’s more trouble in store.”
The authors blame societal permissiveness, child-centred educational and parenting styles, overwhelming materialism, video games, sexualized media and the guilt of two-income families.
As you can see, the insufferable old fogies who wrote this piece of silly garbage realize how boring and unoriginal their premise is. Whenever people feel they have entered into old age (which is not a chronological but an ideological concept), they invariably start issuing proclamations as to how the younger generation is so much worse than they were in their youth, i.e. the time when the sugar was sweeter and the sun shone brighter.
What’s sad is that even though the authors realize that they are making themselves look ridiculous by repeating the age-old invective against younger people, they can’t help themselves. The need to condemn the young for having what the authors don’t have any more (namely, youth) is too strong.
It is so strong, actually, that it forces the authors to come up with a series of explanation for why the kids today are so bad, mad, and dangerous. Let’s look at them one by one.
Societal permissiveness – I find that when people complain about “permissiveness” it means that they simply bemoan their own incapacity to take advantage of said permissiveness.
Child-centred educational and parenting styles – can anybody imagine parenting that isn’t centered on the child who’s being parented? It’s like condemning book-reading for being too book-centered. Or eating for being food-centered.
Overwhelming materialism – I’m kind of surprised that the authors who are so overwhelmed with materialism don’t just place their work in free access online (just to combat the materialism, you know) but sell it for $22.95 in paperback. In my experience, whenever anybody starts screeching about the horrible materialism of everybody else, this is the surest sign they want to make money off those others.
Video games – I didn’t know there were still people who evoked this silly bug-bear to support what is supposed to be a serious argument. I, for one, refuse to believe that playing video games is a less noble pursuit than publishing the kind of books that these authors have done. Actually, I’d much rather people just played video games instead of addressing their psychological issues through dumping on young people.
Sexualized media – this one is just beyond hilarious. Do the authors even speak English? Or are they, indeed, trying to say that the media is being objectified sexually and that sad fact somehow magically makes today’s kids all bad? I can just imagine a teenager in her room getting all hot and bothered about the media. “Oooh, the NYTimes, you are so sexy!”
Guilt of two-income families – what does this even mean? Please tell me if I’m wrong, but I’m perceiving anti-feminism behind all this jargon. Are these authors suggesting that women who work are supposed to feel guilty about that? And that working parents are actually bad for children? In spite of all the overwhelming evidence that has amply demonstrated that the opposite is true?
To conclude, as a middle-aged college professor, I can testify to the fact that today’s eighteen and twenty-five-year-olds are absolutely the best, most amazing, inspiring and intelligent generation ever. Just twenty minutes ago, I couldn’t leave the classroom because my first-year students wanted to continue the discussion about the ideological appropriation of history. It’s a Friday afternoon but they want to talk about something like this after class.
And then look at the young readers of this blog: Pen, Nominatissima, Jaime, David K., el, and others. These people are the world’s future, and I only hope the future is as bright as they are.
Honestly, I have no patience with folks who dump on the young people.