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Why think? It only leads to trouble.

 Hmmm... ummm... er... yeah.

*thumb twiddle*

Thinking up things to write about is always a challenge; not because I can't write just about anything (it is, after all, my journal), but because I get big thoughts and want to communicate them so that all your heads swell up to massive size with all the enormous thinky-type stuff, and then explode.

Man, I loves me some head-explody.

But thinking - we regularly see articles and complaints and editorials and random bums on street corners screaming about how disconnected everyone has become.  How it's all teenagers plugged into their phones and i-whatsits, and plinking away on little miniature letters until their fingers go numb, and their eyes glaze over in a drooling text-coma.  How we're all plugged in, but so tuned out that we're unaware of anything except what happened last night on The Hills.  "No-one thinks any more!", they cry. 

The end of civilization has come, and we're all going to die.  No-one thinks.  All the pundits and people we pay to think for us are telling us so.

Myself, I wonder how anyone has any time to tune out, what with all the people nagging at us about how we're so shallow and unaware.  More, I am amazed that with all the scary things going on in the world today, and all of it beamed by satellite-real-time-right-now-OMGWTFBBQ-technology into our sitting rooms, that we haven't shut down completely and put our brains in storage for a time when things aren't so damned terrifying to think about.

I wonder that we haven't all buried ourselves in everything-proof underground bunkers and left the surface of the planet to the terrorists and assorted Pets Gone Wild - after all, aren't the terrorists winning?  Didn't Osama develop secret hurricane-wielding technology to destroy everyone in America?  And even if the terrorists don't win, the environment is very keen to kill us off with earthquakes, tornadoes, and sick chickens.

In times of great social upheaval, people seek escape.  The early 21st century world is a scary place, and if we try to absorb and care about every single thing that happens, well, talk about head-explody.  Television news actually helps with the disconnect even though bad news is all the news we generally get, because it flits from disaster to disaster, and never lets us think about any one thing for more than three days of intense round-the-clock coverage.  Tsunami in Asia! - no, wait - Hurricane Katrina! - no, wait - Earthquake in Pakistan! - uh... shootings! - um... death!  - disaster! - a different disaster! - ecological disaster! - code orange!  - wait, where were we?

Box of kittens!  Stat!

It probably shouldn't surprise us in the least that we're tuning out, especially our teenagers and young adults.  Every day, constantly, they're shown terrible events on every channel, and they're powerless to do anything about it.  The adults that were supposed to protect them and take care of the world until they were old enough to take over now tell them the world is falling to pieces, and there's going to be nothing left for future generations but a soggy landfill under three feet of poisoned seawater that's riddled with IEDs.  

Wouldn't you prefer to fill your head with music and pointless reality TV?  Flava Flav is making his harem eat huge chunks of brains and foie gras!  Gross!  Are the Kardashians really that stupid?  Wow!  Hey, look - Britney shaved her eyebrows off!  Oh, that girl!

The alternative is to spend all day listening to the older generation whine about how it isn't really their fault that the planet is running out of oil, and anyway, we make really great prosthetic limbs for returning soldiers these days, so it's not like your 20 year old brother is going to miss his leg that badly - he'll be like the Bionic Man!  And anyway, it's too hard to change everything, so you kids need to grow up and fix our mess, and hey... are you even listening?  Take that i-Pod out of your ears right now!  I swear, kids these days!

But I also think appearances can be deceiving - I think there are more socially committed people than are obvious at first glance.  We all need to escape, and in the current climate, adding the fears of a disintegrating global structure to the usual teenage fears and hormones makes a lot of people feel a powerful hankering for some mental down time.

Sure, we have idiot children who only live to imitate their favourite celebrity, who look on education as "nerdy".  We've always had them - 90% of the world can only follow, not lead, they're simply not cut out for that role.  But the trope of the millenial generation all being vapid celebrity worshippers who can't find Iraq on a map is very wrong.  Perhaps I'm being over-optimistic, but I really think this generation is, in part by neccessity, less self-centered and self-serving than the previous couple of generations.  

It's time we admitted that the navel-gazing of the Baby Boomers and the studied disassociation of Generation X are passe; perhaps we can allow the newest generation of young adults the respect they need to change things for the better, while allowing them their escapes.

And if I'm wrong, well - I know how to build a nifty home out of dumpster trash.  

Comments

( 32 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
bantiarna
Apr. 15th, 2008 12:53 pm (UTC)
Here is an interesting counter point to the whole teenager thing.

I have some cousins who are 13 and 16 and I do not hold out much hope for the 13 year old. She was born with her black berry in her hand and habitually runs up frighteningly high texting bills. She will listen to her MP3 player, talk on the phone and text all at the same time and they are struggling to keep her from flunking out of school. She is also president of her sorority (a MIDDLE school sorority) and is very popular. Her favorite shows are those Laguna Beach/The OC/The Hills/Gossip Girl and thats pretty much what she spends all this time talking about.

Well at Christmas she told her Mom she would love to go out to Laguna Beach. So, the whole family just took a vacation to LA. None of them had ever been out to the west coast and they did the whole tour. They spent over a week out there as a family and my cousins did not have any time to text or yack (And they were out of coverage anyway) and they ended up having a fabulous family vacation. AND the kids decided that that area was not as interesting as it is on TV and that the people did not look or seem that fabulous and both of them were glad to get home.

So it all ended up rather well:)
thatpotteryguy
Apr. 15th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
"AND the kids decided that that area was not as interesting as it is on TV and that the people did not look or seem that fabulous and both of them were glad to get home."

Hee...!

My inlaws, who live in Northern California (aka Baja Oregon), call that "Going Behind The Orange Curtain".


spranglady
Apr. 15th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC)
I think you're right. I think that the average/above average teen/young adult is a lot more socially aware than most give them credit for. I know it was an eye-opener when I sat down with my 'baby' brothers one Sunday afternoon, asked them about college, and they started in with geo-political and religious views, the state of the nation and the world, the gas crisis and the war in Iraq. Where the hell did my 'babies' go, and where'd these really neat, interesting, Aware young men come from?

I think kids these days watch more than they talk, and their views on such things can probably be found more readily on their blogs instead of at the dinner-table, but I think that they're very much aware of the world they're inheriting, and they're trying to figure out how to reverse the damage previous generations have done.

I'd like to think they are, anyhow, because the generation that's in charge doesn't seem to give a crap, for hte most part. :(
sileas_1
Apr. 15th, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
consumerism and the constant battle for the dollar have created monstrosities out of our newspapers, television stations (even the PBS stations) and every known method of communication we have. All the media seem to be interested in is appealing to the lowest common denominator to get more money out of us. With all the television stations available one would think there would be at least one channel that would appeal to each varied interest, but no, every channel features the latest celebrity crap, who's wearing what and what hair Britainny has removed lately. Any innovative interesting programming eventually gets discarded for more of the same crap. No wonder our kids are tuning out, who can blame them.
reasie
Apr. 15th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
Well, we also have idiot celebrity-obsessed adults.
*shrug*

My objection is that with the myriad array of news sources, people are able to pick those that present the reality they wish to see - some Fox news viewers actually think we found WMDs in Iraq!!

*sigh*

But I don't think our youth is any more or less disaffected than they were 500 years ago. It's youth's job to be disaffected and it's old folks job to shake their canes and mutter about "these kids today!" and forget that they were "those kids" in their own youth.

attack_laurel
Apr. 15th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
Precisely. :)
my_stitching
Apr. 15th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
I know this is focus on a small part of your post and not the overall point, but I it struck my mind and made me think. ;-)

The world IS a scary place right now. But as I recall, it was scary in the 90s too... and the 80s, 70s. I wasn't really old enough to remember the 60s, but from what I can tell from other sources... scary. My study of history tells me that this isn't a 20th or 21st century phenomena. I'm sure 15th century folks felt it was scary too. And 17th, 14th, 3rd, etc, as well. I'm fairly sure the neanderthals didn't have it any easier.

What's the point of this? No idea. My head asplodied a while ago. :p
attack_laurel
Apr. 15th, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC)
The world will always be scary, but the focus changes depending on how much information you get pumped into your day.

With the explosion of intarweb communication, and the disaster fetish news stations have as a result of managers and owners who are only concerned with profit, not truth, the scaremongering has expanded considerably over the past twenty years.

There have always been people screaming about the end of civilization, but it used to be easier to escape, y'know? Now, you literally have to shut out the world in front of your face to get some rest from constant "news" programming.

My brain is in trust until the day I can use it responsibly. :P
(no subject) - femkederoas - Apr. 15th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thealater - Apr. 15th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vom_schwarzwald - Apr. 15th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thealater - Apr. 15th, 2008 06:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spranglady - Apr. 15th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thealater - Apr. 15th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - janinas_nest - Apr. 15th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laurensa - Apr. 15th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
vom_schwarzwald
Apr. 15th, 2008 01:57 pm (UTC)
"Wouldn't you prefer to fill your head with music and pointless reality TV? Flava Flav is making his harem eat huge chunks of brains and foie gras! Gross! Are the Kardashians really that stupid? Wow! Hey, look - Britney shaved her eyebrows off! Oh, that girl!"

Perhaps...but then only until I was old/mature enough to realize "escape" doesn't fix anything.

"perhaps we can allow the newest generation of young adults the respect they need to change things for the better, while allowing them their escapes."

Absolutely...as long as they are not self destructive.
zihuatanejo
Apr. 15th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
Here ya go!

KittensStat
attack_laurel
Apr. 15th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
Hah! I was hoping someone would find it! 8)
(no subject) - zihuatanejo - Apr. 15th, 2008 02:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ermine_rat - Apr. 15th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacnukesoul - Apr. 16th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC) - Expand
baronsnorri
Apr. 15th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
Wow!! If it make you happy, my head go "Boom!! Splat!!" after 2.5 paragraph...Ow!! Look like ermine_rat kitty have major angst issue, too...
The ancient Greeks complained about their rising generations--lack of respect for traditional values or their elders, the all-night parties & drunkenness, the cut of their vestments. If needed, the younger generation will rise to the occasion. If not, the geological record can handle another extinction event anytime soon. Comforting? : )
attack_laurel
Apr. 15th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
It is a truth universally denied that each generation thinks they are the second coming, and the generation after them sucks.

Funnily enough, the world has been going downhill since the beginning of civilization. But my teeth are better than any generation before me. *That's* progress. 8)
(no subject) - tacnukesoul - Apr. 16th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
the_gersemi
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
Isn't it lovely how this quote always applies, no matter what year it is?

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
jljonsn
Apr. 16th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
I'm listening to NPR on my way to a conference this morning, and there's a story about a 16-yr-old girl who's put up an apparently well-researched website discussing global warming, and how it's received all sorts of attention. Unfortunately, she seems to have taken a position in opposition to that of the NPR reporter. So, according to the spin of the report, she's apparently socially-conscious, but misguided...

There are a lot like her, on any side of the issues. Bless the young and idealistic, before they turn into cynics like us 40-plusses.
tacnukesoul
Apr. 16th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
Being in the "head-explody" business, I yearn for the release promised by reality TV. However, I only want to flog the contestants onto the next flight heading to some place needing reconstruction.

Sometime in the 90's I remember writing in an e-mail something along the lines of, "I miss the good old days when the KGB were watching the nukes and you knew the nukes would all be there the next day."
devikat
Apr. 16th, 2008 06:23 am (UTC)
Hmmm... this makes think of something I was musing about recently. I think it started with feminism. But anyway, I was thinking about how, in my mother's generation, and other's previous, there was always something you had to fight against, something specific that as women we didn't have, that we wanted - devorces, voting, jobs, pay, etc. They were always being told they couldn't do this or that. So logically, those with chutzpah said, "says who?" But now, we're growing up with a "you can do anything, be anything, you want to be" (for the most part) mentality... and sometimes I think that's infinitely scarier.

Ever been out to South Dakota? The sky almost literally never ends. So imagine you've been let out of a little box and find yourself in the middle of S. Dakota with a bunch of other people... how long do you stand there, not knowing what to do? How many wonder off on there own, instead of just following the one guy who finally just picks a direction?
(Deleted comment)
gottasing
Apr. 17th, 2008 03:37 am (UTC)
"If we want our kids to be more connected, we need to connect with them..."

As a middle school teacher I say, bless you woman.
albreda
Apr. 16th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
"there's going to be nothing left for future generations but a soggy landfill under three feet of poisoned seawater that's riddled with IEDs."

Is it sad that this made me laugh so hard it hurt?
( 32 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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