Friday, July 27, 2012

A scene in the “21 Jump Street” movie taps into a recent generational change I’ve been noticing among Millenials.
RUN! RUN FOR YOUR too late -- Matt K. Lewis of the Daily Caller is trendspotting.
“He’s trying, he’s actually trying,” Tatum’s character says (pointing at some kid who seems to be minding his own business). “Look at the nerd!” When the nerd takes umbrage at this, Tatum’s character punches him and says: “Turn that gay-ass music off.”

Surprisingly, the crowd sides with the nerd, and one of the cool kids says, “That is really insensitive.”
Was this in the trailer? I seem to remember that with a record scratch and a rad little kid with a fauxhawk yelling "Fish out of water!" Here's Lewis with the thumbsucking:
The premise of this scene illustrates an interesting new phenomenon. Today’s “cool” kids no longer think “trying” makes one a nerd. (Nor do they condone casual gay-bashing.) Times have changed. And since they turned this generational shift into the plot point of a movie (ironically, Jonah Hill’s character becomes the popular kind in this new paradigm), I’m guessing others will notice.
Maybe they will, as soon as they finish snarling over the Muppets boycotting Chik-Fil-A.
Indeed, they have. Speaking at the July 2012 Portland/CreativeMornings, author and literary critic William Deresiewicz...
RUN! RUN FOR YOUR too late, again. I gotta work on my explosive strength.
...observed the same phenomenon. Regarding today’s young people, he notes, “[T]hey’re all incredibly nice. They’re all…polite, well-spoken, pleasant, moderate, earnest.”
At all the college classes I teach and the lectures I give, kids are constantly kissing my ass. They're so nice!
Comparing today’s rock idols to the musicians of yore — who trashed hotel rooms and talked about how many groupies they slept with (think Channing Tatum’s character’s fantasy) — Deresiewicz argues that today’s bands are “all like low-key, self-deprecating, post-ironic, very earnest, very eco-friendly sort of presentation.”
In other words, they suck.
Deresiewicz also observes that “trying” and being entrepreneurial is actually considered “cool” these days. “It’s like every artistic or moral aspiration is now expressed in terms of starting your own business, whether it’s food or music or good works,” he says.

This, of course, is dramatically different from the way things used to be.
Yeah, remember the 1980s and that radical firebrand Alex P. Keaton? You don't? Good, you're just the kind of sucker who'll swallow this bullshit whole without flinching. Who else would? Maybe a couple of culture-war wingnuts who know better will at least pretend the kids were a shaggy librul menace until Jonah Hill taught them to care because it sounds like a promising Romney-era meme, but at the end of the day they'll trudge down to their panic rooms with the Poverty Sucks and Ghostbusters posters on the wall, watch old videos of teen heartthrob Dan Quayle, and weep.

After considering some other idiotic theories, Matt K. Lewis comes up with this:
First, economic incentives work. When blue collar kids could slide through high school and still get a job paying $19 an hour in a factory, school could legitimately be seen as a joke — a waste of time. That trend has obviously come to an end. (It probably ended in the 1970s, but it might have taken a generation or so to become clear.)
WHEN THE FUCK WAS THIS? Every factory job I had in the 70s paid in the single digits. Maybe Lewis' old man owns a factory?

The rest is just as bad, but here are the bad-good bits:
“It’s uncool if you don’t try,” one young co-worker told me.
Intern at Daily Caller = Voice of a generation. There's also a "one young person told me" quote, hundreds of words long, that begins, I shit you not: "I see the entrepreneur spirit in a lot musicians, especially electronic musicians..."
Ultimately, I think technology and the internet are the most important reason for this generational shift...
That's when, bleeding from the eyes, I gave up, but I had a reading robot crawl the page and when it came back, smoke streaming from its apertures, it croaked, "There is a lot to this, and clearly something interesting is afoot" before self-destructing.

I predict the young people of today will outlive us, the poor bastards.

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