I always say that the moment you experience the need to dump on the younger generation, you need to know: this is the day when you have become hopelessly, irredeemably old. If you feel like harping on the horrible values of today’s kids and keep comparing them to how much better your values were when you were their age, congratulations! You are now completely ready to be carted of to the dungheap of existence. It doesn’t matter how old you really are. A visceral dislike of younger people makes you old even if you are 25.
Here is a post I just found that perfectly exemplifies the attitude I’m talking about:
One study analyzed the values expressed on the most popular television shows among so-called tweens (children ages 9-11) every decade from 1967 to 2007. . .
The results revealed little change in values presented on the shows between 1967 and 1997, during which time, the five most expressed values were Community Feeling, Benevolence, Image, Tradition, and Popularity (three out of the five would generally be considered healthy). The five least expressed values were Fame, Physical Fitness, Hedonism, Spiritualism, and Financial Success (three out of five would generally be considered unhealthy).
Only during the most recent decade did a dramatic shift in values occur. The new top-five values were Fame, Achievement, Popularity, Image, and Financial Success (with Self-Centered and Power close behind). Related values that also became more prominent included Ambition, Comparison to Others, Attention Seeking, Conceitedness, Glamour, and Materialism. The latest bottom-five values were Spiritualism, Tradition, Security, Conformity, and Benevolence (with Community Feeling to follow). I don’t think the so-called values voters of today (or anyone else, for that matter) would have a hard time judging which would be considered healthy values and which wouldn’t be.
Sorry for the long quote but this piece of old-age insanity has to be experienced in full.
First of all, let me point out that each of us has our own perception of and reaction to any given TV show, book, or film. If it weren’t so, my entire profession would not exist. This is why trying to interpret which “values” a collection of TV shows (especially one selected by a person with an obvious political agenda) transmits to everybody is stupid. Meaning that the study quoted here is a piece of pseudo-scientific junk.
Let’s leave that aside for a while, though, and pretend that this analysis of values implicit in TV shows does have some meaning. What are the values that the author of this piece classifies as good and which ones does he see as negative? The “good” values are Community Feeling, Benevolence, Image, Tradition, Spiritualism, Security, Conformity, and Popularity (these capital letters make me think of the precious writing style of XIXth century damsels locked up in boarding schools who capitalized words like Love, Friendship, and Betrayal in letters to their imaginary lovers. Bleh.) The “bad” or “unhealthy” values are Ambition, Comparison to Others, Attention Seeking, Conceitedness, Glamour, Fame, Physical Fitness, Hedonism, Financial Success, and Materialism.
Now, a question for everybody. What is the main difference between these two groups of values? To me, the answer is obvious. The good values are the ones that are likely to be experienced by people who live to serve their group. People who privilege such values are usually most comfortable in heavily patriarchal societies where an individual’s interests don’t matter a whole lot because the individual belongs to his or her group (family, clan, community.)
The bad values, however, are the ones that characterize modernized societies where an individual pursues his or her own interests and does not abdicate them in order to belong. Where the first group of values insists on conformity, the second one praises comparison to others, uniqueness, personal ambition. When you stop being a slave to tradition, you can concentrate on looking for your own ways to enjoy life (hedonism), take care of your body, and be successful.
If there had, indeed, been a shift in values that is described in the post I quoted and this shift occurred along the lines of moving away from communitarian, patriarchal values to more individualistic and personal ones, then that is great news, indeed. And if you disagree with me that such shift is a positive phenomenon, ask yourself how ready you are to have your parents decide what profession you choose, whom you marry, when and if you have children, etc.