November 13, 2011

What emotion does your youth culture valorize and what social form does it envision?

William Deresiewicz takes inventory.
For the hippies, the emotion was love: love-ins, free love, the Summer of Love, all you need is love. The social form was utopia, understood in collective terms: the commune, the music festival, the liberation movement.

The beatniks aimed at ecstasy, embodied as a social form in individual transcendence. Theirs was a culture of jazz, with its spontaneity; of marijuana, arresting time and flooding the soul with pleasure (this was before the substance became the background drug of every youth culture); of flight, on the road, to the West; of the quest for the perfect moment.

The punks were all about rage, their social program nihilistic anarchy. “Get pissed,” Johnny Rotten sang. “Destroy.” Hip-hop, punk’s younger brother, was all about rage and nihilism, too, at least until it turned to a vision of individual aggrandizement.

As for the slackers of the late ’80s and early ’90s (Generation X, grunge music, the fiction of David Foster Wallace), their affect ran to apathy and angst, a sense of aimlessness and pointlessness. Whatever. That they had no social vision was precisely what their social vision was: a defensive withdrawal from all commitment as inherently phony.
And what of these kids today? Are we going to call them the "hipsters?" Deresiewicz prefers "millennials." He diagnoses the emotion as niceness, which doesn't seem hip at all. (Not that hippies were hip.) Is niceness an emotion? Deresiewicz toys with "post-emotional," then comes up with "the affect of the salesman." And that's not very nice at all. What "social form" do these little jerks get? Deresiewicz assigns them: small business
Our culture hero is not the artist or reformer, not the saint or scientist, but the entrepreneur. (Think of Steve Jobs, our new deity.) Autonomy, adventure, imagination: entrepreneurship comprehends all this and more for us. The characteristic art form of our age may be the business plan.
See how that goes with "the affect of the salesman"?
Today’s polite, pleasant personality is, above all, a commercial personality. It is the salesman’s smile and hearty handshake, because the customer is always right and you should always keep the customer happy. If you want to get ahead, said Benjamin Franklin, the original business guru, make yourself pleasing to others.
This is not meant as a compliment. Deresiewicz is not a fan of "the bland, inoffensive, smile-and-a-shoeshine personality — the stay-positive, other-directed, I’ll-be-whoever-you-want-me-to-be personality — that everybody has today."

ADDED: I like Deresiewicz's writing style and he has a lot of nice observations, but something's obviously missing — something expressed by the "these kids today" tag I just added. In every generation, there's a mix of conventional and rebellious type individuals. The millennials he describes sound very similar to the people beatniks, hippies, and slackers rebelled against. There are rebels among the millennial generation too. Look at all the protests these days! Look at all the young people who are looking to the government to deal with the joblessness. How cheerfully entrepreneurial are they?


Carol_Herman said...

Love walks out the door as you grow up. Among other things, Dorothy Parker pointed out how stupid it is to wait by the telephone.

And, even if men "don't make passes" at women in glasses; once a woman experiences childbirth ... Boy, does reality kick in.

Oh, yes. You love your babies. But it's not the same grusome affair it was when you were young, and your heart went aflitter for men who returned no affection.

Real key to commitment is the two-way street.

My mom told me a man's looks were unimportant. Because it didn't mean the woman would get "satisified."

And, then she'd point to a particularly ugly guy ... and tell me to "look at his wife." No acne. And, she was usually smiling from ear to ear.

That's when my mom said (unlike the queen of England who told her daughter "to just put her head on the pillow and thing of England.) That the lights are off. Your makeup doesn't count. And, what does count, you can feel.

Churchill was right. During the time of youth, are heart controls. Get a little bit older and it shifts to your brains.

Oh, those huge tits that stuck out like headlights? There's a good chance they'll become knee knockers

And, if your in a monogamous relatiohnship? You're always going to look stunning to your beloved.

edutcher said...

Anybody who says the hippies valued (or "valorized", whatever that means) love never met any. They talked about something they called "love" the same way they talked about "meaningful dialogue".

When anybody tried to have meaningful dialogue with them, all they got was shouted down and a list of non-negotiable demands.

Love, like free speech, was too important to be wasted on those that didn't agree with them.

If anything, the millennials will tell you they value consensus. I hope they can find it. Lyndon Johnson also valued consensus.

MayBee said...

I grew up listening to my hippie teenaged neighbor yelling at his father late into the night. My husband's grandparents spent a desperate year searching for their runaway hippie daughter.
Hippies were not all about love.

Matthew said...

"Today’s polite, pleasant personality is, above all, a commercial personality."

... today's kids are "polite, pleasant"? I think we've seen different kids.

fivewheels said...

This doesn't match my experience with young people at all, If we're talking about kids in their early 20s, that experience is not terribly wide but still pretty diverse. The entrepreneurial types are more along the lines of "I'll succeed or fail on my terms, take it or leave it" rather than the phony salesman I'll-be-what-you-want types.

Saying that "everyone" has one personality now? Complete horseshit.

Maguro said...

Kids these days. Get off my lawn!

Big Mike said...

I think this generation of young college graduates valorizes binge drinking and drunkeness.

Then after taking out huge loans to attend college where they partied the nights away drinking and smoking week until they have no functioning brain cells (but showing up once in a while for class), they want the U.S. taxpayer to forgive their college loans.

Ain't gonna happen.

MisterBuddwing said...

When you "get pissed" in Britain, doesn't that mean getting drunk?

WV: pribul.

phx said...

I also dislike these kind of generalizations. Not so helpful in understanding anyone, young or not. Good for confirming your own prejudices, however.

ricpic said...

Those who become adult eventually drop all these affects...or they don't become adult.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

My experience with young people, whether friends of my kids or coworkers, are pretty much in line with these conclusions. I find them polite, tolerant, and very willing to be useful. For the most part they shun drugs and alcohol. I think their prospects are better than my own generation's (b. 1953). I admit I'm judging a relatively small sample, but I am judging those I know, not those appearing at the local OWS.

DADvocate said...

I guess Deresiewicziwjhsiognlske is one of those guys who likes to pigeonhole everybody because it seemingly makes them easier to deal with. When I look at my 3 youngest kids, 11,18 and 15, and their friends and I see kids that have good social skills and know how to get along with most people. But, they're not the "I'll be whatever you want me to be" types.

They know how to disagree without being disagreeable. They're quite aware of what they need to do to build a good future for themselves. To bad Deresiewicziwjhsiognlske finds hippies, beatnicks and punks more pleasing.

Over the past few years, I've spent a lot of time visiting colleges and college run football camps regarding football. I've met a lot of kids from all over the country from Kodiak Island, Alaska (my son's roommate at one camp) to Florida.

Lots of great kids. Intelligent, articulate, friendly. Indeed, my optimism about the future of our country increased tremendously from these experiences.

Telford said...

Chap Clark studied high-school age kids in the mid-2000s and identified a highly protected subculture that older adults are barely aware of, which he regards as a response to being abandoned to social structures and systems constructed largely by self-centered Boomers. The book is called Hurt: Inside the Lives of America's Teenagers. Highly recommended, shocking and deeply informative. I think "hurt" well characterizes this generation's outlook, in contrast to love, ecstasy, rage, etc.

YoungHegelian said...

I think if I had to pick a word for the millenials it would be "useless".

Poorly served by their PC educational systems, their watered-down churches, and their too busy parents, they just don't seem to have a good set of basic life skills.

YoungHegelian said...


I think you and I just said the same thing -- except you did it better by giving a source.

ricpic said...

Love walks out the door
When those huge headlights
Turn to knee knockers;
So find an ugly man
Who'll still delight
They haven't hit the floor.

The Crack Emcee said...

There are rebels among the millennial generation too. Look at all the protests these days!

They're being tools - not rebels. They are our living (and damning) examples of "garbage in/garbage out," delivered by a completely useless education system.

Carol said...

I notice a lot affected sadness. Young commenters on blogs like to say, this makes me sad..huh? something that should piss them off makes them "sad"? or they say "I'm terrified of X" Terrified?? you really want to present as terrified? What kind of moral stand is that?

I don't buy these poses for a minute, and think the underlying emotion is hatred.

cassandra lite said...

My favorite hippie entrepreneur story: A good buddy got a job building the stage at Woodstock, so he was in position to see Michael Lang, the main force behind the festival--the guy on the BSA motorcycle--get into an argument with a hippie who sold his own head gear and jewelry.

He wanted permission to set up a booth at the festival. Lang said it would cost. This led to a screaming match...and Lang throwing a right hook that put the guy out on his feet.

In the end, it's all the same generation. Hippies, beatniks, punks, slackers, millenials--everybody's selling something, and nobody likes the rules.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is also Portland...

Hipsters seem a little further from the martial values and duties, religious obligations, and maybe the traditional concepts of manhood.

Partly that's what Portland and Seattle are for...anti-establishment havens where "community" is the buzzword. Relatively Leftist cities and relatively immature and young. Diversity is often the highest thing around. I've actually met a few communist sympathizers. But there are all types.

Maybe the East Village looks the same.

If folks can separate art from ideology and political "Activism" I'm ok with them. If they allow themselves to become skeptical of politicians and politics they go down much easier.

One way to look at them (since we're stereotyping and lazily analyzing) is a generation that reflects and longer process of post Enlightenment WEstern idealism (climate change, equality for women, minorities, gays, cultural relativism, secular and more agressive atheism)

They're facing harder economic times, and the relative failure of our political system to adapt to the rapid changes that many want to bring about socially from within, and also, the demands from without. Here is the change the boomers are handing out.

I"m sure they'll be someone hawking the post-millenial guide to metrosexual lifestyles and manhood soon.

Telford said...


You're absolutely right that they haven't been well served. Some are 'useless' too ... but what I couldn't see till I read the book was that they're quite useful to each other: intensely loyal, in fact, to the friends in their 'cluster' that has banded together for protection and solace like a platoon in a war zone. They find the adult world pretty useless in return.

It's terrible for all concerned, especially because the mid-adolescent world isn't healthy or sustainable.

I urge anyone who has or works with kids (and the oldest are now twentysomethings; I teach them in college) to read the book. My executive summary here.

GMay said...

Each generation's youth is largely the same and seems to have been throughout recorded history - rebellion and slacking. The culture is just the outward manifestation.

Nothing really insightful here other than putting a name to the face.

EDH said...

Today’s polite, pleasant personality is, above all, a commercial personality. It is the salesman’s smile and hearty handshake, because the customer is always right and you should always keep the customer happy. If you want to get ahead, said Benjamin Franklin, the original business guru, make yourself pleasing to others.

I would differentiate this so-called "commercial personality" from one that is entrepreneurial.

Rather, the "commercial personality " Deresiewicz describes is a top-down mentality that, above all, avoids controversy at almost any cost. A by-product of a P-C, litigious society built on a culture and politics of grievance foisted on today's young people throughout their formative years mostly by the education establishment, the media and the political class.

For the private sector, it's a survival strategy, where Alice in Wonderland PR problems that have nothing to do with quality or price delivered to the market can make or break firms.

AprilApple said...

In the youth generation now, I see less entrepreneurial spirit and more "gimme gimme, it's mine, I deserve it, and I don't want to have to work for it". Our leaders foster a lot of envy too, and the youth love that envy.

Oligonicella said...

Telford --

"Some are 'useless' too ... but what I couldn't see till I read the book was that they're quite useful to each other: intensely loyal, in fact, to the friends in their 'cluster' that has banded together for protection and solace like a platoon in a war zone. They find the adult world pretty useless in return."

This is a description of beatniks, hippies, gen-Xrs and every other group of younger people. Same thing when I was a kid.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Back to my recurring Strauss & Howe commentary. If you haven't done already, please read Generations (1992) and Fourth Turning (1997): they explain a lot.

The value of any theory is to be found in its predictive ability. In 1997, Strauss and Howe wrote that "Any wars fought in the 2000s will be fought with great moral fervor, but without consensus or necessary follow-through."

When, therefore, they describe the Millennials as the new version of the GI generation (Brokaw's 'Greatest Generation') it's worth taking seriously.

Of course a Baby Boomer dislikes them, every bit as much as most Boomers detested the GIs.

On the other hand, my mother (nearing 94) has said "I can go in peace because the rising generation seems just like mine. It's the first time in decades I've been optimistic about America's future."

Unsurprisingly, the Baby Boom, with no vision beyond their next orgasm, feel differently.

AprilApple said...

The OWS movement, sanctioned by our highest leaders, brings me sorrow and pessimism. These folks will be in charge some day? Yikes.
They are the paranoid, conspiracy theory generation.

lemondog said...

The Fourth Turning, for me, was a mind altering read in viewing generational cycles and the impact of each.

David said...

If only ignorance were an emotion, the discussion would be over.

frank said...

"self-centered Boomers." Which is why I call my peers the 'stupid' not 'boomer' generation. I'm amazed at how well the kids are doing. I like to think that's my rationale for not 'trusting' or 'dating' anyone over 30. Heh.

Joe Schmoe said...

As a Gen Xer, I'll admit the aimless tag may fit, but I ascribe it to the cognitive dissonance of trying to function in a world that was very different than a lot of progressive claptrap we were fed in school and through the media. It took many of us years to work through and realize that old-fashioned values hadn't gone out of style. As hippie baby-boomers try to achieve the contradictory tasks of saving and shaping a utopian society while groveling for every buck they can get, my generation is coming of age and is starting to clean up their mess. We've already been through the crap the millenials are going through now (no faith in govt., bad economy, etc.), so we don't want to hear anything from you. When you come in to interview for one of our job openings, we'll cut you a break for your unproductive life after college, but then the fairy tale's over and it's time to get busy. You'll be surprised how fulfilling traditional work and family life can be if you give it a try.

Joe Schmoe said...

Regarding the pleasant personality thing, I agree with the author but I also see that trait in hippie-baby boomers as well. A lot of prog-types are really conflict-averse so they've tried to shape the higher ed and workplace environments to tilt towards their type of conflict resolution (file a complaint form with a 3rd party; all kinds of 'rules' and training about proper speech and behavior etiquette that plays to their biases); the type of stuff so they don't have to engage in face-to-face conflict. I think that's more of a progressive thing.

Chip Ahoy said...

I agree with EDH.

Last night I ordered a pizza from a nearby hipster pizzeria owned and operated by so-called millennials. They ARE all so polite there, and business-like in their approach throughout their contact with me. Would you like to see them? Here they are in 14 gallery photos.

They look so happy being there together. I bet they all whistle the tune Whistle While You Work as they goof around, scratch that, work so brilliantly together.

I tried to overlook the one prominent online review that reported witnessing a guy spinning pizza dough and dropping it on the floor then using the dropped dough for pizza as if it had not been dropped, because what are the chances I would get a dropped pizza?

The fellow who delivered could have been a beatnik in an earlier decade. Large earlobe plugs, vintage hat, tats, soul patch, just as the article says, but I'll add solid dull color cotton clothing. At the door he was all pizza business-like and proper credit card transaction, utterly serious. They even got the building call box thing right which is a bit of an obstacle. The name on the call box to buzz open the door to the building is a compressed version of first and last name on the pizza order. I made that clear on the phone but making it clear often doesn't matter.

So what emotion does youth culture valorize? I'd say seriousness.

Anonymous said...

Ugh! Seriously? You "like Deresiewicz's writing style", Althouse?

It's awful. It reads like it was written by an out-of-touch Ivy League English professor who sees the world as trends and forces, mostly ending with "-ism", and completely devoid of individuality.

If anything of "youth culture" surfaces now, it is appreciated at face value for a moment or two. Then, before you can say "meme-cadabra", the mockery starts: A thread on 4chan, a post on Reddit, a mocking mention on Colbert, a tearing apart of the construct until only the truest true believers still believe in it. It's not that there aren't interesting things to young people; it's just that their naive aspects are exposed quickly, right back in y'er face... and that rapid clearing away of the shit is a good, helpful thing!

So, what's left? A desire, maybe, to get along in the world? To survive? To make a buck or two? To be, you know, a useful and productive member of society.

Only a tightass Yale humanities man could have a problem with this. Get out of the 60s mindset, dude! Wake up and smell the Tomorrow!

Joe Schmoe said...

Okay, last comment from me. How hilarious that the author labels millenials as 'nice' (in a phony way) while admiring entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs--who self-admittedly was a gigantic prick.

Paco Wové said...

"You "like Deresiewicz's writing style", Althouse?"

My first three thoughts on reading the post (in order):

1. What horseshit.

2. The author is a douchebag.

3. This must have come from the New York Times.

madAsHell said...

Reading tea leaves would be more meaningful.

Synova said...

Steve Jobs sounds more like my generation. Not quite boomer... post-boomer. Alex Keaton.

Kids now are about Nice?

We're Hippies about love? I think that millennials are nostalgic (along with their grandparents) about the 60's but I don't think it's the love they're nostalgic about. I think that what they see when they look back is the conflict. The discomfort.

Perhaps kids today are about discomfort.

There's the guilt for being too comfortable.

There's the romantic understanding of people living in discomfort, like the poor folks picking fair-trade coffee.

There's the sacrificial discomfort involved (theoretically) doing everything the hard way... doing without oil, without "factory farmed" but abundant food, without technology if that's what it takes to save the earth.

No, of course this isn't thought out very well, or even slightly consistent, but that's not the point. The point is, what emotion is valorized, not what emotion is consistent.

Youngblood said...


Despite their hippie reputation, Boomers have always had a very a strong entrepreneurial streak. The yuppies of the late 1970s and early 1980s were Boomers, and the boutique culture of the 1980s and 1990s was basically engineered by Boomers.

Steve Jobs wasn't at all like Alex P. Keaton. He dropped acid, went off to the ashram, and saw destroying IBM (and what it represented) as his spiritual mission. He loathed the masscult and idealized refinement.

In short, he was a Boomer.

jr565 said...

Call them the Mobies.

jr565 said...

Snarkies. Assies. Douchies.

jr565 said...


David said...


They want things they don't have: purpose, power, happiness, respect. They think others--and not just the so called 1%--have all these things without having earned them.

Mostly they envy "success," though they would not call it that. Only by demonizing that which they can not attain do they avoid confronting their own covetousness.

It's the envy generation.

cokaygne said...

I work with youngsters every day.

They give me massive guilt feelings. First is the fact that they are working for ridiculously low wages and paying ridiculously high taxes in an economy dominated by selfish spendthrift boomers who have saddled these kids with unsupportable debts. Second is the fact that, "when I was your age, Sonny" i was so drunk or stoned that I could barely walk half the time while these kids today are clean, sober, and physically fit.

It is a wonder that they don't just kill all of us off; but they are too nice to do that.

i work with a young recent college graduate. i took Veterans' Day off because, i told her, "i'm a veteran", which i am. She looked at me, smiled very sweetly, and said "Happy Veterans' Day." How does one criticise that?

new york said...

What exactly do people on this site mean when they describe someone as a "hippie" I didn't realize people even used the term anymore but lately it seems to be revived. In the 60s I thought it meant someone who used drugs. Why not be more specific about what you are trying to say.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Snark. Pure and simple.

They try to call it irony, but it's just snark.

fivewheels said...

I think we're seeing in these comments that people who do know and work with young people have much higher opinions of them than those who are just going off impressions they got from god knows where (probably like Deresiewicz).

MayBee said...

I really like the kids I know today, btw.

Youngblood said...

Althouse wrote:

"What emotion does your youth culture valorize and what social form does it envision?"

What if a youth culture doesn't value emotion as much as its absence? Is the other-directed salesman-like "niceness" of the Millennials an emotion, or is it the suppression of emotion?

Maybe the youth of today aren't into showing emotion at all. Maybe the flat-affect associated with the young (especially young actors and popstars) isn't a result of cellphones and laptops and iPads and social awkwardness; maybe it's by design. Maybe hipster irony is a calculated attempt to appear cool and emotionless as opposed to hot and passionate.

Maybe they don't see celebrating any emotion as desirable.

Anonymous said...

I live proximate Ft. Bragg. The young people there valorize valor.

geoffb said...

"Hippie" was a media invention which gained nationwide usage with the coverage of the 1967 "Summer of Love" in Haight-Ashbury. Most of the people I knew at the time if and when we referred to ourselves used the term "freak" or "freaks" never hippie.

Youngblood said...

Boomers have always been about emotional authenticity and integrating the different aspects of self into a cohesive unit. They've always favored thin, sleek glasses and light-colored sunglasses. They've always hated masks.

In fact, the three figures of horror that Boomers have given American culture (Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th and Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs) have been associated with masks. Masks were to be feared, loathed, and (if possible) destroyed.

Millennials, on the other hand, love masks. They wear face-hiding bandanas and Guy Fawkes masks to protests. Lady Gaga sings about how nobody can read her p-p-poker face from beneath masks and face-hiding sunglasses. They wrap themselves in detachment and irony to hide their authentic emotions and prize inauthenticity and irony.

And, more than any other generation, they recognize identity and the self as prismatic and fragmented.

frank said...

boomers. my peers who went to uw for a student deferment, then went to 'protest the war' marches to get high and laid all became successful [meaning rich] capitalists. surely you would not expect them to still be married or have their kids call them once a year? the most successful [a rich lawyer] never married, no kids. lectures in washington and sanfrancisco bath houses, smile.

Youngblood said...

"I live proximate Ft. Bragg. The young people there valorize valor."

Up until a few years ago, I lived on Fort Bragg, among the younger people there as a peer. (Until my last year, I was junior enlisted and lived in the barracks with young men who were toddlers when I was a teenager.)

Given my experience, I'm not so sure that they valorize "valor". They make jokes about bravery, even as they display it, and a lot of them resent the cultural image of "soldier as valorous hero", because it brings with it certain restrictions.

They express that resentment in private. However, when it comes to dealing with civilians and the outside world, they're willing to do what's expected of them and put on the mask.

And that is the key to understanding Millennials -- they're willing to do what's expected of them despite how they feel about it.

jamboree said...

Nah. They've been touting entrepreneurs since I was in junior high in the 80s (the first reign of Steve) and then again in the early-90s (Bill Gates was located near Seattle, ground zero for grunge), and then again in the late-90s with the initial dotcom boom.

Additionally, entrepreneurs aren't "nice", generally, at all.

Not that I have a problem with it. Lord knows, we need them to think it's their duty to build new businesses. Good luck to them trying to do that and be nice at the same time.

Ann Althouse said...

""Hippie" was a media invention which gained nationwide usage with the coverage of the 1967 "Summer of Love" in Haight-Ashbury. Most of the people I knew at the time if and when we referred to ourselves used the term "freak" or "freaks" never hippie."

I agree. People I knew (in New Jersey and Michigan) didn't claim to be hippies. "Hippie" was used to tease people or in phrases like "phony hippie."

"Freak" was used. I remember that.

"Who could imagine... that they would freak out in [name of city]?"

We tormented my parents by singing that song for every city we passed through on one long car ride... to a funeral, I think, I'm ashamed to remember.

Youngblood said...

One more thing:

Valor isn't really an emotion, is it? It's an activity -- the suppression of an emotion (fear) in favor of something larger and more important than the self.

To the extent that Millennials display valor and respect it to a significant degree, it fits in with what I'm saying. What's valorized isn't emotion but the suppression of emotion to achieve a larger goal.

That very much fits in with what I'm saying.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gumby said...

"little jerks"? wtf
These children that you spit on, as they try to change THEIR world, are immune to your consultation, they are quite AWARE of what they are going through.

Oligonicella said...

Certain intellectual types believe that they can observe groups and determine what motivates them and what they think.

They are wrong, of course, but since they would never deign to socialize with said groups, it's all they got and they won't turn loose of their self-authority.

DADvocate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

Another thing this article highlights, unintentionally, is the pathological of some in every generation to denigrate following generations. Oh, No! They can't be as good as us, or better!!

Denigrate? Did I use the word denigrate? Please don't call me a racist! Please!!

gerry said...

This is all bullshit. It's intellectuals spewing gism in the gutter. They think it's smart. It's stupid. Vacuous. Stinking fecal material.

SunnyJ said...

I'm the parent of a millenial and have had the opportunity to listen to many of her friends. Here's what I see:

They are media smart that they see through all of it...all the spin, the leftist media bias, there beloved teachers over zealous progressive unionism brings a sigh, their conservative Tea Party parents get a hug because they know how hard they work...and they know it's for them.

Why are the students mad at the media at Penn State instead of doing the drama in the street for child abuse? Because the millenials know the media don't give a hoot about those kids either and they are not willing to give them the high ground. They saw the media play the elect Obama game, and they see what it's done to our country. They are disappointed in Joe Pa but, they are not willing to see him go from saint to devil in less than 15 minutes either.

The millenials are going to save this country because they see the bullshit and they are going to quiety and nicely go about getting it fixed...and it starts with cut the OWS drama or anyother drama.

DADvocate said...

They are media smart that they see through all of it...all the spin, the leftist media bias, there beloved teachers over zealous progressive unionism brings a sigh, their conservative Tea Party parents get a hug because they know how hard they work...and they know it's for them.

Sounds like you see pretty much what I see.

As I said earlier, Lots of great kids. Intelligent, articulate, friendly. Indeed, my optimism about the future of our country increased tremendously from these experiences.

Nora said...

I think that Deresiewicz "takes inventory" is somewhat misstated. He makes wrong premise and tries to make it walk. As a result he misses his own point in "unlike those of previous youth cultures, the hipster ethos contains no element of rebellion, rejection or dissent — remarkably so, given that countercultural opposition would seem to be essential to the very idea of youth culture". If it's a "given" "that countercultural opposition would seem to be essential to the very idea of youth culture" the logical conclussion would be that the "niceness" of the latest generation is a direct rebellion against the self-serving inertia, nihilism and rage of the previous generations.

The youth of today is revolting. but Deresiewicz obviously does not like the direction this revolution is taking.

Carol_Herman said...

You know, Sunny J, at 6:19 PM, that's an excellent post.

Carol_Herman said...

Because of what Sunny J said ... I'm reminded that back in the 1960's ... the kids weren't complaining about the teachers they had when they went to school!

There really was respect for teachers!

And, plenty of teachers, back when I was young, lived in apartment buildings ... where it wasn't unusual for a kid to knock on their doors ... to ask for help in solving school problems.

Yes. There was a "big change."

We went from movies that had to pass through censorship ... (Anyone remember the scene with Bill Holden and Audrey Hepburn in a taxi cab. Where he "jumps in" because there weren't enough cabs. And, at some point, the two movie leads start up a conversation. And, he asks her "if she's a virgin." Hollywood censorship went nuts. But the film got shown. And, became a hit.)

Where the kids really went nuts was with the Beatles. And, Ed Sullivan had them on his show.

The "change" didn't contain a great divide. It was all the fake censorship that went out the window.

Carol_Herman said...

I am absolutely sure that Occupy Wall Street isn't going to overturn our government!

I've seen football games ending with more street violence. And, I've seen the police handling the rioters well. Even better. It doesn't "happen again."

Not even when the Staples Center in LA let's out after a big team win.

First? You get the experience.

Then? You've gotten to see how the media manipulates things.

The media's been losing respect, while at the same time, the Internet GROWS!

Oh. Spending more for a worthless college credential ... doesn't get you a job. Nor can you move out of a parent's basement.

Where there's pain is where so many who own real estate ... maybe as much as 50% of real estate owners ... are underwater.

Obama should be so easy to beat.

How come the GOP can't do better than their 8 contendahs?

Nora said...

DADvocate said...
Lots of great kids. Intelligent, articulate, friendly.
That is my experience with my kids' (29 & 22) friends too. They are fun to have around.

Henry said...

My nieces and nephews are entrepreneurial and nice, but I think they're the exceptions. They're Mormon.

Jube said...

pretty sure that the polite, plastic smiles are kid's way of humoring the creepy old dude trying to analyze them.

bagoh20 said...

There are too many writers today, and not enough to write about. We need more ditch diggers, and pot hole fillers. I think they call it "re-purposing".

Youngblood said...

Actually, I lied; I have one more thing to say.

Deresiewicz has it wrong anyway.

Punk wasn't really about "rage" or "nihilistic anarchy".

The Dead Kennedys were famous for songs like "California Uber Alles" and "Holiday in Cambodia", both of which are (dead on) attacks on the hypocrisy of hippies and the totalitarian-worshipping New Left.

Black Flag's major song was "Rise Above", about rejecting the stereotypes and low expectations of adults.

The Ramones? Listen to the rage! Hear the nihilism!


You might get close with groups like Fear, but how much of that was irony? How much of it was reportage? ("I Love Living in the City" is actually a pretty accurate portrayal of the 1970s inner-city implosion.)

And, more importantly, how much of it was a pose, calculated to piss off the Love Generation?

"Blitzkrieg Bop". "Let's Have a War". "I Don't Care About You". "My War".

On their own (and to an outsider) stuff like that might appear angry and nihilistic.

However, if you consider the fact that it came after a lovetarded decade of Love Trains, Love Bugs, Love-Ins, "Make love not war," and "War is not healthy for children and other living things," it's a perfectly rational and sane response.

I know that you're familiar with Jim Carroll, Althouse.

Is "People Who Died" nihilistic and full of rage, or is it a high-energy celebration of not being dead?

sorepaw said...
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Youngblood said...

How about hip-hop?


Although its roots go deeper, the first wave of rap hit in the early to mid-1980s. I grew up on that stuff, literally. Listen to "Roxanne, Roxanne" by UTFO, "Jam on It" by Newcleus, "The Show" by Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, or "King of Rock" by Run DMC.

You can find rage-filled and nihilistic stuff, I'm sure, but the style covers a lot of ground.

Ann Althouse said...

""little jerks"? wtf These children that you spit on, as they try to change THEIR world, are immune to your consultation, they are quite AWARE of what they are going through."

That phrase is characterizing Deresiewicz's attitude, not mine.

Craig said...

What's missing is his debts to Philip Wylie, Nathaniel West, Fats Waller and Jane Austen. Every generation is a generation of vipers.

PatCA said...

I think they are feminized these days.

geoffb said...

A little of the "Love" music from youth in the Michigan 60s.

Not that I want to relive it. OWS is showing that second time really is the farce.

roesch/voltaire said...

I agree that any generalization misses the mix and complex forming of identity that youth go through. While only a small number of youth were hippies, they had a large influence on style and attitude of middle class youth who maybe thought of themselves as freaks because they smoked weed or listened to Jimmy Hendricks while attending to their ordinary business. An example of this mix today, that he misses, is the Hip Hop generation that seems to have taken root in places from the MIddle East to Japan as a counter narrative to the establishment. And his comment that "The self today is an entrepreneurial self, a self that’s packaged to be sold, " I think reflects the structural changes in our culture that has shredded middle class opportunities for employment and advancement leaving its youth anxious and worried to the point where they are afraid to say no to anything asked of them by employers or customers. And thanks to Youngblood for all the links that took me down a memory lane-- twisted of course.

sorepaw said...
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E.M. Davis said...

Do we not understand that without the sixties and hippies you would not have had the punks?

And without the 80s there probably would have been no grunge or Generation X?

These are not isolated "eras" or "generations"

roesch/voltaire said...

Sorepaw, well I had a friend who made some clothes for Hendrix, and in those days I participated in smoke-ins in front of city hall, help start an under ground newspaper, attended parties with Gingsberg, and later with Warhol-- so I had some sense of the times. And you?