November 13, 2008

The Problem with You

Apparently the music and fashions of the 1980s are making a serious comeback. How fitting, since we are living in round two of the Me generation. Sadly, Time put "You." on the cover of its 2006 Person of the Year edition. This was well-received by the narcissistic self-entitled masses, their egos pumped with hourly visits to their Facebook and MySpace pages, stacked with their global "friends". This is a generation obsessed with rights and the blithe assumption that all opinons are valid and that everyone is entitled to share their opinions (Might as well throw me on the pile, if you are actually reading this blog). But this is a bastardization of democracy, for democracy is not solely about rights but also about responsibilities. Yes, you have a right to free speech but you have the responsibility to make sure it is informed free speech. Witness the endless cascade of comments at the end of nearly every article on the web. It matters little whether there is an ounce of intelligence in the comments. Somewhere along the way we confused free speech with graffiti. No, that's not fair. Graffiti has artistic merit. The primary school ramblings in most comment boxes are not worthy of the locker room let alone websites of news organizations. We learn that a majority of U.S. university students expect a B for either showing up or reading the course materials, and that professors should reconsider their marks because the students try hard. This reminds me of when I used to work in university admissions--parents would plea that their beloved child should be admitted because they really want to get in. What happened to authority? What happened to the idea that you should know something before you contribute to the conversation, that the wise speak of only what they know, and that a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing indeed? (Sigh...)

1 comment:

  1. So eloquently put. You were right, I love it!