To Be Young In America Is a Dystopian Reality

Hurrah, we caught one and killed one.  Two less man-child murderer/terrorists off the streets. And while I'm happy Boston can sleep tonight, something tells me we Americans will have many more sleepless nights in our future.

Encino Man Pauly Shore Brenden Fraiser surfer dudes morons
Remember back when losers just dug
up fossils while trying to dig a pool?
Or tried to be comedians without
a fully functioning brain?  
Most of our "terror" will be at the hands of twenty year old "losers," as the uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers perfectly labeled them. I don't care right now that they were also Chechen immigrants and most likely Muslim.  To me they are just more homegrown disillusioned youngsters with anger issues.

Losers. They're everywhere. Always have been.

But thanks to modern media and social networks, losers now get to grand stand.  "You hurt me cruel world, and I will lash out like a viper." I think I liked it better when they used their voice to say things like, "Too ugly to prostitute, anything helps," on cardboard by the side of the road.  At least then, losers still were dependent on the people who alienated them in the first place. And to some extent, this type of "system failure begging," showed the world in a visual way that the American Way often leaves people behind. I think it's the reason we as a society, love the rags to riches story so much.  We want to believe that anyone, ANYONE, can raise themselves up by the bootstraps.

Twitter mean texts bullying mean spirited troll celebrity
Why should anyone, quasi-celebrity or not, have
to defend themselves from trolls.  
Whatever bootstraps r? #old-person-saying #lame #notabelieber

Sorry for the random tween tweet statement, but that is how some of these new adults think. Some have used the entirety of their creative powers to become professional trolls on websites. They mock everything everybody does. They offer nothing but cynicism and negativity to any situation. We have raised a generation filled with haters.

The eldest Tsarneav tweeted recently, "I have no American friends.  I don't understand them."

Cyberbullying by gender bar graph internet harassment bullying.  And while I seriously don't want to sympathize with a coward terrorist, I do understand his sentiment. Many young American adults are weird. We taught them not to bully in school, so they played nicely for eight hours, only to go home and release unrelenting cyber hate.  Ask any young person how often they've been victims of character assassination via facebook, twitter, reddit, tumblr, etc. and most likely they'll say more times then they can remember.

Should we be surprised that social media for teens is where gossip, accusations, and exaggeration of events are rampant? Only now it can be seen by the whole student body instead of between four cliquish friends.

Because we bought them their laptops, their cell phones, their text packages, their xbox live cards; and told them that computers and the information age would revolutionize the world.  And slowly, they forgot how to socialize like humans. The natural developmental angst that used to turn teens into garage bands, horrible poets, and ugly fashionistas, has evolved into internet hackers, PS3 vegetables, and cell phone viewing zombies.

The cyber world is not a happy world. The only medication it gives sick and depressed minds is motivation to continue further into insanity.  Think of the two different cities where young boys raped girls, then, because their moral center was so diluted, thought it best to text pictures of their crime to friends and post inflammatory statements on the victims' facebook page.  What the hell is wrong with these boys?  What is wrong with kids?

Should we be surprised this is normal?  When students commit suicide to make a statement to their classmates? When alienated children kill with guns?  When unemployed, unhappy young adults have fantasies of huge death tolls?

It reminds me of a line from 17-year-old Clarisse from Fahrenheit 451, the very social girl who was forced to see a therapist (ironically for anti-social tendencies) in the futuristic world, because she rejected technology for human interaction and nature.  She said, "Sometimes I'm ancient. I'm afraid of children my own age. They kill each other. Did it always use to be that way?...I'm afraid of them and they don't like me because I'm afraid."

How can we turn around a generation and a half filled with losers? Human interaction. We need to throw the technology in the trash and embrace people again. We need to hang out physically instead of in chat rooms or on Skype sessions. We need to tease people in public and let them see and hear our sarcasm instead of misreading it on facebook.  We need thicker skin.
Boston post-bombing celebrations with officers after capture of
College kids celebrate the capture of the 2nd bomber with
Boston police officers.  Photo credit Jim Davis/Globe staff
We need to turn off the television and really ask our kids, "how's life going?" and not accept, "fine...good...or whatever..." as an answer, but force them into real dialogue about feelings, emotions, and behaviors so that we can recognize and help them the way that real humans should.

Hopefully we can raise great children again, great humans.  Because I'm tired of robotic twenty-somethings.  I'm tired of animalistic kids. I'm tired of losers making the headlines.

Because they're hogging the limelight from the majority of other kids people doing really neat things.


  1. I look at every form of media that constantly boards us from every angle, and all I see is negativity or false benevolence. When you see some kind phrase that you can almost imagine flowing from the lips of a spacey flower child 40 years ago, it just doesn't seem genuine anymore. And look at how mean so much of the dialogue on TV shows, movies, and commercials tends to be. Seen the ad for The Big Brain Theory? Kal Penn tells people to "shut your stupid face." Fantastic. It's everywhere. The world is getting impersonal and antagonistic.

    1. Agreed. Television, especially sitcoms, have continued to trend towards mean-spirited and poorly written drivel. If you told me years ago that I would watch HBO and PBS, I would've laughed in your face, but I've been forced to...everything else is crap.

  2. Very thought-provoking, Chris. I've been, in a sense, far-removed from the last two decades of social development (or non-development) in the States. It makes me wonder what kind of a world I'm bringing my daughter back to in a few months. But if I stayed where I am, things here would eventually catch up (or regress) to the same place. As parents, just as you suggest, we need to be actively involved.

    On that note, I think I'll go get Rachel off the Chipmunks videos she's been watching on the computer and have some real human interaction with her.

    1. Not the Chipmunks! How many a child has been corrupted by Alvin's shenanigans! Just kidding.

      Julie, something tells me your child will not only be well-rounded but grounded by spending most of her life outside America. Maybe all American kids should spend some time in "less fortunate" countries to see how the other 85% live. Maybe we could learn from their happiness despite material possessions.

  3. It is interesting to think about how social media has changed the classroom and our culture. In just the past couple of years, it (Facebook mostly) has really affected my classroom. There was one day in particular when I had to stop class and have a class discussion about cyberbullying. I love your last line. It reminds me to spend more time everyday celebrating students who are doing great things, because despite what the media says, there are many students who are doing great things.

    1. My original draft was more negative. My wife told me to sleep on it, and I woke up and realized that there are many, many, many good kids out there. I was letting the few technologically un-separable students I know dictate a negative feeling fester. Are many kids abusing technology like a drug? Yes. Are many functioning still? Yes. Are some faltering? Yes. It is a universal problem that even adults are falling prey to.

      We all need to pull back on technology and reacquaint ourselves with fellowship.

  4. I agree with everything you said here Chris. The age of technology has taken away actual human interaction for the most part.

    I do wonder if we're just the older group now? You know what I mean? The group that says "I don't understand kids these days". They've existed generation after generation and we didn't have mass killings before. Maybe it is the dehumanization. Either way, it's sad to see.

    1. I don't know...our generation had a lot of shootings in schools (probably more by capita)...Maybe man has never really changed, just his ability to get large death tolls has.

  5. I have always been resistant to technology based on fears of these results. I don't want to be more intimate with my computer than with real people.

    1. "more intimate with my computer than with real people"...sounds like a great blog idea about internet porn. Yeah, nevermind, don't really want to write that one.