Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Blame Game

I've been avidly reading blogs for a number of years.

At first those blogs were to be found outside conventional journalism. Now all but the most traditional news-sheets appear in an alternate online or an online-only form where the option to comment is standard. This replicates the blogging practice of subscribers responding to what they read without the brutal sieve of Letters to the Editor. Online newspaper 'Comments' are getting more lively as more and more readers realize that, when a piece they see gets their goat or tickles their fancy, if they take fingers-to-keyboard what they write will get published. Where there's an option for other readers to comment on those comments, things can get especially interesting.

My preference is to get most of my daily diet of news-and-views from text, both print and online. Print when at breakfast since spilled coffee or dripped marmalade is a frequent outcome of aging fingers. Online when later in the day I'm at a keyboard. Online my journey through 'Comments' and 'Replies' can be an unexpectedly chilling ride, and today proves such. Underneath a dish of muesli (how else would you expect an 60-something to start his day?) I read about: "ReGeneration: A rallying cry for apathetic teens" and later at my computer I travel down its comment tree.

This newspaper article is about a US documentary showing at a kids film festival in Toronto. In it the commentator sees hope for today's youth. In contrast the long tail of comments-and-replies get straight into who's really to blame for youthful feelings of hopelessness. I groan as we Boomers are an obvious target. Our first abuser is a self-declared '70 plus' (hiding his identity as 'tsunami11'!). As it's usually Gen X that gives us stick, I'm intrigued and read on: "..the(ir) parents are from the 60's and clueless about most things except dancing with the stars and other crap". Ouch!

Tsunami's belief is that young people are scared and us came-of-age-in-the-Sixties types give them no direction. I find myself wondering whether he wore the khaki and our indolent bopping at local hops accounts for our inadequacy?

I travel on to get some relief from 'watermelon' who blames the dilemma on near-universal tiny earbuds and screens preventing youth seeing how the world around is still gay and bright. That's a relief. So those kids can't hang their worries on us boomers after all...or can they? I check this out by moving on through the links and find a new source - online journalism about campus life!

Here the kids themselves are talking up their plight. There just when it looks to me we aren't going to be blamed I spot this downer: "This isn't just a matter of a generation that expects more than it deserves. This is a cohort of graduates who are being instructed to go to university and/or college with the expectation that when they graduate, they will be able to find meaningful work"! Who else but us is 'instructing' them? And I learn that we here in Canada should feel really bad for having educated the greatest percentage of overqualified youth in the whole of the OECD!

It is with some relief then that I find elsewhere that Waterloo ON, the hip home of a great engineering university whence Microsoft, Google and RIM source many of their young geniuses, has taken fluorine out of town water by popular demand. It may after all not be so bad that more of our university-educated kids don't find 'meaningful work' if they afterward make moves that dumb!  Moves affecting their own kids in more potentially pernicious ways than our pushing them into more schooling.

1 comment:

  1. Ian:
    Two small points....Great article, more stimulating and enjoyable.
    1. Montreal does not florinate their water supply so we can comment about dental care in Montreal, but not its capacity for other pursuits.
    2. I bought a little Netbook computer so I can read my on line communication or articles with coffee and toast and very little spilling resulting. I'd love to afford the new IPAD 2 for the record.

    Keep it up.

    Chris Neuman


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