The kids aren’t alright (but their grandparents are worse)

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recently posted some thoughts on “young people today” that has been getting a lot of play. Here’s the pull quote:

In certain young people today like these two from my writing workshop, I notice what I find increasingly troubling: a cold-blooded grasping, a hunger to take and take and take, but never give; a massive sense of entitlement; an inability to show gratitude; an ease with dishonesty and pretension and selfishness that is couched in the language of self-care; an expectation always to be helped and rewarded no matter whether deserving or not; language that is slick and sleek but with little emotional intelligence; an astonishing level of self-absorption; an unrealistic expectation of puritanism from others; an over-inflated sense of ability, or of talent where there is any at all; an inability to apologize, truly and fully, without justifications; a passionate performance of virtue that is well executed in the public space of Twitter but not in the intimate space of friendship.

I find it obscene.

I think this is well observed and very nicely expressed, but I’m put off a bit by Adichie attributing this frame of mind to young people. It’s a targeting I hear a lot and I think it’s unfair, even a bit of a smear. Are young people the only ones behaving like this and having these sorts of opinions? Some of them are. And I do put a lot of the blame on social media, which is having a terrible effect we haven’t begun to plumb the depths of yet. But are kids the worst offenders?

Not in my opinion. If we’re playing the generational blame game I think Adichie would find spending time with some retirees a revelation. In my own experience it’s the much- and justly-maligned Boomers who are even more politically intolerant, rude, bitter, selfish, narrow-minded, entitled, angry, and narcissistic. To make the easiest point, in the U.S. it was older voters who elected Trump. I find most (but not all) young people to be pretty decent. I find most (but not all) old people (a group I’m having to include myself in more and more) to be insufferable.

5 thoughts on “The kids aren’t alright (but their grandparents are worse)

    • Yeah, I do it too. But it really seems off to me to keep slagging Millennials (who are no longer young) or kids for all these bad things, calling them self-absorbed, whiny, entitled, rude, etc., due to all the time they’re on Facebook or Instagram. From my own experience I’d say seniors are worse, on average, in all these departments. And they’re on Facebook even more. Plus I really do feel bad for young people because I think they’re inheriting a world that’s wrecked.

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      • I don’t do Facebook except to see what the family have been doing, and twitter is a cesspit so don’t go there. There’s rudeness across the board as far as I can see. I guess I’m a senior, at least I was born in the latter half of the boomer lot known as Generation Jones apparently, and quite resent being blamed for wrecking the world. I was a single parent struggling to survive it when I was young, I didn’t even know the world needed saving back then. I do my best now that I do. The only young people I know are family and they’re not rude or whiny etc, just trying to bring their kids up right and doing a good job. They’re not eco warriors like me though!

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      • I was on Facebook for about two weeks a while back. I blame myself for wrecking the world. Basically it was all me. But I did a lot of dumb things when I was young. I’m not sure wrecking the world was the worst of it.

        Liked by 1 person

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