Kids These Days

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    People aren’t really good with history in the aggregate. For a lot of them, the past is a time of epic deeds and interesting clothing and hairstyles. If your an American in your thirties or young and raised in reasonably comfortable circumstances like lower middle class or better than how Americans used to live from the 1890s to the Second World War is really alien. College is the first time that a lot of young Americans have to share a room with somebody. Before World War II, having your own room was probably the exception rather than the norm for most kids regardless of whether you lived in the city, country, or a proto-suburb.Report

    • Avatar Will H. says:

      On the one hand, I am amazed as how bright and engaged the group of 18 – 24 yr olds are today.
      On the other, I am amazed at how little knowledge of the world they have.
      I was doing a presentation, and I was a bit curious; so I started my presentation with an aside about conspiracy theories. I went on for a bit about how there were these “crazy conspiracy theories” about that some might have heard about how the American gov’t had done all these racist things. I told them that there was this one crazy story about the US gov’t inventing crack cocaine to distribute to black communities to destabilize them, and I asked if anyone had heard of it. One student out of something like thirty raised his hand. Then I told them that the story is part of a Congressional report, known as “the Iran-Contra affair.” Some of them might have thought that Contra had a fling with Iran at one time– I don’t know.
      Other things I’ve noted:
      “I don’t know who that is.” (in response to the question, “Do you think Venus de Milo is degrading to women?”)
      Not knowing who Karen Carpenter is in a discussion of anorexia.
      Thinking that The Onion was an actual news magazine (this is actually more widespread than you might think)

      All of which leads me to the conclusion:
      Thank God I’m not in Texas. It could surely be so much worse.
      I must instead come to recognize how fortunate I am.

      But with all fairness, looking back (farther than I care to . . . ), when I was a very young man, I did some horrible things. The way I see it, my punishment for having done those horrible things is to live long enough to understand how truly horrible they were.
      And while I was a very intelligent young man, I was a very, very ignorant young man. I was extraordinarily insular, and isolated among even those; and very opinionated. Who has time to be bothered with the notion of direct proofs when one has on hand so active and multi-faceted rational capacity? Again, my punishment for having held such ignorant beliefs, and for having been so out-spoken in my ignorance, is to live long enough to be horribly ashamed by how truly ignorant I was in my former self– little more than the meanest of beasts.

      And sometimes, I wonder how much I really have grown.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        There is a book that I need to get around reading called “Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts.” Its by a psychologist and its’ about historical thought. The thesis of the book is that the ability to think historically, break down the past into somewhat to very precise units like Antiquity, the Qing Dynasty, or the Napoleonic Wars, is not something that comes naturally to most people. Most people just see things as a matter of past, present, and future and for the past, a lot of it bleeds together. If the thesis is true, a lot of depictions of the past in historical fiction become more explainable.Report

    • People aren’t really good with history in the aggregate. For a lot of them, the past is a time of epic deeds and interesting clothing and hairstyles.

      I think that’s part of the answer. Another part is that it’s easy to play the “you’re being ahistorical” card when you (the general you, not you personally) want to criticize someone and it’s harder to “think historically” about other things. In that sense, selectively accusing others of ahistoricity can descend into self-serving pedantry. I’m just as guilty of that as others.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    My question is would BuzzFeed still post the article if the bathtub-in-the-kitchen apartment was common knowledge? Or is a showerstall in the kitchen still a sign of “crazy” NY real estate?

    From the article “A shower kitchen is apparently not an unusual arrangement for tenement apartments.”

    So, Ms. Kliegman seems to know something about something.

    “Tenenment” itself it evocative of a dead past, a model of residential living that no longer exists due to economic and societal changes. See also, ‘plantation’.

    The fact that one can say “oh, this is nothing new, it’s how people lived once upon a time” is *exactly* the reason it signals “oh, that whacky New York real estate market”.

    next up Typhoid for Hipsters: “Meet Mary. You Won’t Believe Her One Secret To Lose Weight in Just Four Weeks!”Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Crazy is not used once in the article. The article is not arguing that the NYC apartment market is crazy. But that NYC apartments are uniquely cramped by American standards and can still fetch high rents because location, location, location. You are projecting with the “crazy” comment.

    Would they have written the article if everyone knew this was how NYC worked? No. But isn’t that true of pretty much every article? Buzzfeed writes for an (inter)national audience. They are not NYC-centric and as such ‘educating’ (I struggle to use “Buzzfeed” and “educating” in the same piece and, yet, here you have me doing it!) their readers on something they may not know about seems perfectly consistent with a ‘news’ site.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

      Kazzy: Would they have written the article if everyone knew this was how NYC worked? No.

      This.

      I actually tend to like “news” more that reports things that have always been that I didn’t know rather than exclusively things that just happened yesterday. I’m happy as long as it’s news to me.Report

  4. Avatar Michael M. says:

    What next? Kitchens in basements?! Everything old is new again.Report