There are days when I despair for the future of the generations that will come after me. To be clear, though, today isn’t one of them. This morning, I was gifted a photograph of 98-year-old Auntie Pat, sitting with my three-month-old niece on her lap. The joy in Pat’s face, and the equanimity with which the baby (named for one of Pat’s sisters) faced the camera was uplifting and heartening. My unexpected, but much welcomed–at this point in my 67-year-old life–little girl comes of very durable stock on both sides, and she’ll do just fine.
Still, I sometimes despair of the juvenilia which prevails on the Internet today. And so I wonder where it comes from.
At this point, my conclusion is that it stems from a surfeit of information, and from many people’s (false) assumption that whatever mite of their own that contributes to it is somehow important. regardless (or irregardless as the case may be) of its actual value. As I’ve said heretofore, a microphone used to be a very specialized piece of equipment, and those to whom it was accessible were a very elite group. Now everyone has one, and as a result, the idiotic, the moronic, the brainless, the daft, the narcissistic and the mindless are granted the same attention and headspace as are the intellectually sound.
Because frankly, when it comes to who we follow, who wants to do the difficult math, or reason out the consequences, when we can leer at whichever Kardashian is featuring online her “assisted” butt for us to savor today? (H/T Dorothy Parker.) And the kinkier, and the more artificial, the better. Failing that, let’s just attack and vilify those we hate for no reason. And if that doesn’t work, let’s just be outrageous on our own account and see who we can suck into our derangement and ruin along with ourselves.
The word “juvenile” used to mean something. And what it used to mean was that, whatever behavior it described was a characteristic of the very young. As we aged, and as we grew into our beloved Western Civilization culture, we hoped to attain maturity and gain responsibility, and–as the Good Book says–“put away childish things.”
But many (more than in the past, it seems to me) no matter their age, haven’t been able to do that.
And so they get on Twatter, on Fakebook, on Instagrim, or on their vanity blogs, or in the comment sections of their favorite news sites, or on smaller social media presences, and descend into incoherence, imbecility, immorality, vituperation and disrepute while trying to glorify themselves and their own foolish and destructive pastimes at the expense of others.
When I was a child, such things were kept in proportion. And we knew that “talking dirty,” “acting out,” and “behaving badly” were behaviors that we were eventually expected to grow out of. No mas, it seems.
Still, in the spirit of my (rather responsible) youth, I offer a musical interlude in the form of Flanders and Swann, which deals with the naughty habits of the perpetually adolescent. Would that such behavior, these days, were confined only to the young:
Crimenutely, folks. Life is passing you by.** Get a grip. And grow up, please.
PS: This post reminds me (unfortunately) of a several-years-old Ricochet thread which I’ll never find–the Ricochet search engine leaving everything to be desired, as it does–in which a member once asked “What is the point of grandchildren?”
IOW, the future.
If you’re a rational, sane, and balanced person, what else is there to live for?