What happens when this young man rules the world?
Stay Free! Daily:
A Wall Street Journal columnist blames twentysomething narcissism on Mr. Rogers (unfair!), Boomer-style permissive parenting (getting warmer), and the gospel of self-esteem (warmer still). What the press reports seem to miss, however, is the fact that this is the first generation of children raised in an environment of unabashed marketing. In 1980, corporate lobbying managed to get Congress to abolish the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to regulate advertising to kids. With no watchdog in sight, an entire industry developed to market directly to kids. Full-length commercials began masquerading as TV cartoons. Channel One launched its in-school advertising “news” network. And junk food marketing skyrocketed. The most common message of marketing to tweens and teens is this: your parents are idiots, your teachers are dull, you’re so much cooler than everyone else. But we understand you and know what you want. Product!
What may be bad news for the pampered white kids featured in the segment, though, should be good news for America’s immigrants. Based on this segment, I’d say immigrants who’ve brought over a strong work ethic will have a great shot at out-achieving the coddled elites, once employers stop instinctively hiring rich whites. Let’s hear it for class war!
Carrie McLaren from Stay Free! discusses in the above post the recent whining in the media about what crappy workers the next batch of post-grads have become. The so-called “millennials” are even out-slacking the slackers (that would be my generation: “X”– sorry folks, the name is taken). Like Carrie I’ve been irritated by a lot of the complainers who are attacking liberal media or parenting techniques by the so-called “helicopter” parents. Who are these dreaded parents destroying the world with all their love and affection? Last time I checked (and as a former teacher I can tell you that I checked a lot), most families I dealt with were completely broken: divorced, working ten jobs, alcoholic, impoverished, I could go on. This mythic creature of the suburban parent and the overly protective family is some kind of demographic fantasy, or… I may just live on the wrong planet. Both might be true.
I think Carrie nails a few points. One is that advertising does demonize authority, teachers and parents. If you don’t believe me, randomly select any Budweiser ad and tell me I’m wrong. The common concern of the articles she sites is that immigrants still have a strong work ethic and , boo-hoo, the white race will slack off and die. The problem for marketers and the businesses that depend on them is that their realities are imploding. The whole history of sucking the emotion out of workers is the source of “cool” and the current trend of the ironic disposition. No one is allowed to care anymore, because if you do, you might actually unionize (see my previous post on the writer’s strike). Besides, why should we care? Most corporations of yore (the kind that our parents and grandparents grew up working for) at least offered you job security for selling your soul to the company store. Not anymore. They want your undying attention and will farm your pension to some bankrupt Enron of the future so that every dime of your retirement ends up in the golden parachute of the next defrocked CEO of international finance. Geez, with so much hypocrisy looping around our economic system, it’s hard to find a reason why anyone should care about whether or not a 20 year old has enough focus to read a spreadsheet before switching to Tetras. Slack on!
Oh, and add to that the need for a volunteer military who cares enough and will willingly die for abstract concepts like freedom and democracy in the world’s shitholes that happen to be of interest because of their proximity to composted dinosaurs. LOL.
I’d like to add the following theory. Part of the reason our culture (the affluent one that is supposed to perform the knowledge work of our society) is imploding is because they are the last generation to play out the final act of the alphabetized, and hence right-brained, mind. Immigrants, many of whom come from countries that are not dominated by the history of print literacy, have spacial minds that contain broader realities, including the multidimensional, multilayered, pattern-like world that is emerging. Perhaps that is is why they will some day (soon) rule the world. I’m crying crocodile tears.
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