10 October 2007

(Ugh, TimesSelect, come back! Untear down this paywall!)

I'd been toying with a similar comment for awhile, but Choire at Gawker beat me to it. TimesSelect has been unwalled for some time now, yet I haven't felt the need to praise or throw tomatoes at, or even pay much attention to any of their stable of OpEd writers.

Did the wall lead to their increased irrelevance? Or did it merely reveal how uninteresting most of their observations have been? When you couldn't link to them, you didn't really miss linking to them, and now that you can link to them again, it hardly seems worth bothering to link to the latest entirely predictable screed from Friedman, or Dowd, or Hebert.

The article by Thomas Friedman that hacked off the blogger at Gawker enough to unload both barrels of snark at Friedman was an article about the current college age generation. He's determined that letters continue to be the best way to define generations, so he assigns "Q" to the current kiddies, for the 'Quiet American' generation. He praises them for all their commitment to service, and derides them for not noisily protesting crap the way the 60s generation did.

So dumb, but where to begin with how and why it's dumb? Seems the 60s is remembered differently than it actually was, for one thing, the majority of folks, even the majority of college aged folks, weren't full time marchers, protesters, and hippies. Nixon won the 'youth vote' in both 68 and 72, so this perception that kiddies then were all this progressive vanguard doesn't match the facts. The hippies and freaks dominate the discussion and the nostalgia industry about those years, but they were never the majority, just a vocal, dirty, hairy, drugged-out minority (I forgot smelly). The squares were the 'silent majority' then, and continue to be the silent majority now. Friedman is just seeing that fact with different eyes when he looks at people his daughters' age.

So the kiddies today would rather meet and greet via facebook and myspace instead of at a sit-in, march or rally in the quad. The end result is the same, though. The dirty secret of the protest movements back in the 60s, is that for a great many of the participants the primary motivation was avoiding military service (for the guys) and getting laid (for both the guys and gals). The internet makes it so the kiddies can hook up much easier now, no need to pretend to care about more than getting sweaty together, and the lack of a draft makes protesting the current conflict about politics only. Today's kids aren't political in that sense, they're joiners, and doers, and even activists, but they've also grown up with a touch of a libertarian streak and appreciate being left alone to do their own thing, and seem to understand that implicit with that expectation is to get out of the way and let others do their own thing, too.

This in part might explain the core of the young Ron Paul supporters, they've been so used to being told that everything must be designed to cater to them, and that limits must be put on all their activities and options, that when somebody comes along saying the only limit that should be put on a citizen is what the constitution says, and beyond that, you should be left to your own devices, that message strikes a chord. Unfortunately, Paul is a nutbag who adds in all sorts of extreme isolationism and entirely unrealistic economic policy ideas to destroy the good of his core libertarian message, but it's forgivable for young college kids not to get how dangerous Ron Paul would be if he actually got the job of President. Nothing explains their insistence on wasting their time and subverting every poll that his name pops up in, though, that's just being asinine and demonstrates nothing more than too much time on their hands.

1 comment:

cxx_guy said...

all sorts of extreme isolationism
Actually non-interventionism. We believe in free trade with all nations and entangling alliances with none. Kind of like a couple other unrealistic nutbags, named George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

entirely unrealistic economic policy ideas

Of course, a gold standard could never work. That's why we've never had one. The world has always been populated with unconvertible fiat currencies, all based on yet another unconvertible fiat currencies. That's the only thing which can work. Oh wait ... you say we've only had that since 1973? Silly me.

subverting every poll that his name pops up in

Of course, we have perl scripts that generate votes on online polls. But what we're really proud of is the perl scripts that print money and sent $5 million out of thin air and contributed it to the campaign, just like the Federal Reserve!

Of course, we could have donated more money to the campaign, but we loaded it onto pallets, flew it to Iraq, and dumped it in the street for no apparent reason. OK, you caught me, that's not true. We're just trying to take credit for George II's "accomplishments"