Wednesday, August 06, 2008

On stupid arguments about people becoming stupid

I've finally reached the tipping point. Thomas H. Benton's article in Chronicle of Higher Education pushed me over the edge and so I have to write something about the latest cottage industry of "young people are messed up." I remember this very well from my early 20s, when the term "Generation X" was thrown around all the time. We were slackers, more interested in video games than reading. Reading, in fact, was disappearing entirely. The future looked grim.

Now back to 2008. To be fair, Benton doesn't just say that students are dumb. He says that everyone is dumb. But he says the same stuff that I read about myself in the early 1990s. No one reads, no one can write, everyone thinks their opinion is most important (incidentally, when did people not feel that way?). Everybody is obsessed with technology so they don't communicate. Young people have "diminished verbal skills." OMG! The future looks grim. And people make money writing books about it.

These arguments are cyclical. At some point, people become adults, establish careers, and then start complaining that younger people are all screwed up, unlike them. We then make up a new name for the generation and congratulate ourselves on how we're perfectly normal while the younger generation will send the country into the toilet.

OK, I had to get that out. These arguments just annoy me. Maybe that's a problem for Generation Xers like myself.


Miguel Centellas 12:57 PM  

I remember a classic quote about how young people today are lax in morals, have long hair, don't respect their elders, have no appreciate for learning, etc.

The quote was from Socrates.

Anonymous,  11:03 PM  

First the "slackers" all become contributing members of society. Then they eventually all become Republicans too.

Steven Taylor 10:42 AM  

I would comment on your post, but I got bored and drifted away in the first paragraph, as I think I forgot how to read.

Plus, there's TV to watch and video games to play.

Greg Weeks 11:06 AM  

I can imagine cave dwellers saying, "These youngsters just aren't as hairy and stooped as us."

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