Jewish World Review May 18, 2012/ 26 Iyar, 5772
By Jonah Goldberg
This is the season of generational twaddle. At graduation ceremonies across the country, politicians, authors, actors and businessmen take to the stage to tell young people they are fantastic simply because they are young. This year, the ritual is more pathetic than usual because there's a presidential election in the offing. And because the current occupant of the
At the all-women's school
But in terms of naked pandering, few can match Vice President
Here's a tip: When you hear Biden say, "And that's not hyperbole," you can be sure it's hyperbole. Actually, here's an even better tip: If Biden's lips are moving, assume it's hyperbole.
The conventional response to this sort of thing is to claim that Biden is giving short shrift to some previous generation. What about the "Greatest Generation" of the World War II era? What about the self-proclaimed baby boomer secular saints of the '60s?
But such arguments are part of the problem. Sure, we can talk about age cohorts and make generalizations about them. But in a very important sense, there really is no such thing as "great generations."
I was born the same year as
Seriously, if your self-esteem is remotely dependent on the year you were born, or on the accomplishments of people who happen to be the same age as you, then you don't have a lot going for you. If you spend your days on your parents' couch, working through cases of Cheetos like they were so many equine feedbags, if bong maintenance marks the outer boundary of your personal responsibilities, then I'm sorry to say your inadequacies aren't mitigated one bit by the fact you were born the same year, never mind decade, as
And yet that's the point behind so much generational piffle. Youth politics are the cheapest form of identity politics. At least black people are black their whole lives (
That politicians pander to anything that moves is hardly a shocking revelation. Nor is it stunning to see the
What's dismaying is how much this sort of thing seems to work. Part of what's exciting about being young is the discovery that you are your own person, the captain of yourself. Cheering at the idea that you are a drone, expected to simply "act your age" is a sad declaration of your own self-worth.
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