Thursday, August 18, 2005

What's on the minds of America's youth today?

Note: I posted this back in July, but just found it listed under January. The time and date stamp on Blogger can change, and sometimes I don't notice before I post. I wondered what happened to this post!

Haven't read Vanity Fair much lately, used to subscribe to it. But picked up the August issue, and noticed on page 24 an ad for the 2005 Vanity Fair Essay Contest, with the above title. Here is the text of the ad:

More than 30 years ago, young people across the country staged sit-ins for civil rights, got up and protested against a misguided, undeclared war, and actually gave a damn if a president lied to them. Although a lot has changed since then, there are still racial divides, and America is once again mired in a largely controversial war. Back in the 1960s and 70s, a similar climate motivated great numbers of young people to act, organize, and take to the streets in defiance. Today it seems as if younger Americans are content to watch their MTV, fiddle with their game players, follow the love lives of Brad, Jen, Jessica, and Paris, and assume the hard work is being done for them by others. What has changed? Is it simply that we do not have motivating factors such as a draft or Kent State to bring us together, to anger us? What is going on inside the minds of American youth today?

I have been thinking about just these issues lately. Where is the protest over the disgraceful, unjustified war in Iraq? (Note: Now of course we have a growing protest movement, started on the dusty roads outside Crawford TX) Why are many youth obsessed with the reality show of Nick and Jessica, the soft core porn ads of Paris Hilton, or in inane summer movies like the Smiths? I have no brilliant ideas. Is it because we were attacked on 9/11, and thus most of us are OK with our military ventures? There is outrage at my university about current policies, but it is very muted. Everyone, including me, just goes about their business. Have boomer parents like me coddled and taken care of everything too much for our children, now college age? Any ideas?

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