nns1400 said:For you jhusk..
Adolescents, Envy of
From the Shulamite of the Song Of Solomon, via the Beautiful Youth of ancient Greek poetry, to the 20th century, with its clean-limbed heroes, its gods of the playing field and coyly bountiful goddesses of the Parisian hat shop or Californian drive-in, and taking in every poetical and artistic venture between the two - the swoonful amours of Courtly Love, Juliet on her balcony, Donne's lethal love-bunnies, the intolerable posturing of the Romantics, big-chinned pouting Pre-Raphaelites and all the rest - a constant of our species has been its yearning envy of youth: the liminal land between childhood and the groaning yoke of adult life, when everything is possible. Everything, on the whole, meaning hope and passion.
Not any more.
The old envy was based on an ancient asymmetry: we gave you all this, and you repay the debt by being younger? By outliving us? By having opportunities which we have lost?
But the bargain has been broken, the debt called in. Look at the world we have left to the hapless adolescents of the early 21st century. A world of food fads and neuroses, of exploitation through mass media. The affectless uniformity of the web. Danger lurking: perverts round every corner, terrorists in the shadows. A world where the sea kills fish, rain dissolves trees and sex means death. Of crumbling infrastructures, gridlock, collapsing health services. A world where only a few will be able to afford a house. A world of McJobs or no jobs or insane jobs which eat the whole of life. Where illusions are buried, childhood torn short, innocence drowned. A world of gendering and relativism, of spyware and databases, of political correctness.
Hell of a world. As if adolescence weren't a hell of a world enough already. The Observer writer Euan Ferguson once drew a terrible picture of the Lynx-reeking, unspeakable-groined young male, hunched in its room, expressing itself in verse:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I hate my parents.
But the true horror is that they don't hate their parents, poor things. Most of them seem to quite like their parents, because their parents, realising the world they will inherit, don't envy them any more. Almost the reverse. The baby boomers know that nobody ever will have it so good again, young (as they were) in the magical times between the invention of the pill and the advent of Aids: a two-decade golden age, a Saturnalia, where the laws did not run.
Poor adolescents. Bored by their music, stunned by their entertainment, living at home with parents who think of themselves as "friends", they are deprived of adventure, self-invention and the great treasure of being envied; and, worst of all, they are understood.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
My parents are OK really.
And so the world goes to hell.
Drongo said:And for you, Natasha: Extract: Lost Worlds, What Have We Lost, & Where Did It Go? by Michael Bywater | Books | The Guardian
Go down to the bit headed, "Ancients, Wisdom of the" for the pertinent section.
Aw, but hell. This book is great. The first sampled entry, by way of example:
DarkEye said:I thought this forum is active? :/