Another group hate question March 21, 2011 11:26 AM   Subscribe

This "what's the matter with those people" question is especially hateful chatfilter. Since a mod has chosen to answer it, I assume it will not be deleted. Why not?
posted by enn to Etiquette/Policy at 11:26 AM (165 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I agree with you that it seems hateful chatfilter, and it's framed really, really poorly (as in literally it says very little beyond 'kids today are so lazy amirite?!'

BUT I think the answers are addressing the issue and it hasn't been a big "dude, i totally know! WTF!' kind of thing, which is why I assume it has stayed. It's mostly been people saying some like either 'no, not really,' or, 'here's some differences, but it's a culture change and not really like WTF lazy hooligans!'
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:30 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


BUT I think the answers are addressing the issue

Who cares? I don't see why we should have to put up with such hateful, hurtful stuff on the front page of AskMe just because it might be the occasion of somebody's special consciousness-raising moment.
posted by enn at 11:33 AM on March 21, 2011


That's totally chatty, despite some thoughtful responses. I'm not sure about it being hateful and hurtful, but then again, I do despise the young people.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:36 AM on March 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


The OP also came back with a clarifying comment that makes the question a little less LOLmillenials. I still think the question sucks, and I'm not really trying to defend the OP. But, it could be worse?
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:36 AM on March 21, 2011


The question is bad. The answers have saved it by pointing out and responding in good faith to say "no, what I think is happening/am seeing is..."

So, go AskMe Answerers.
posted by The Whelk at 11:36 AM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I didn't like it. However, I think it has an answerable question and is very clearly someone who is not just looking for a bunch of people to be like "yeah here's my shitty experience with those terrible people" By the time I saw it, it was being answered by a lot of reasonable folks who were giving cogent answers, so I figured I'd try to add one of my own. And I'm sorry but I don't see the hateful part of it, like really really don't. Being younger is a temporary phase we all go through assuming we live long enough. This is not at all the same as "Why do Spanish people do this weird thing?" [which we deleted earlier in the week] this is specifically about what people have observed about workplace behavior of people in a certain age bracket and the OP claims they are looking for something other than the usual anecdata.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:38 AM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


The initial question is a sarcastic pop culture reference, and the rest is carefully padded with a hefty amount of "...or is it just me?"

It's a little bit iffy, but overall, I'm not really seeing a problem, personally.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:38 AM on March 21, 2011


Hateful? Hurtful?

Really?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:39 AM on March 21, 2011 [22 favorites]


It's not a good question and it pretty borderline chatfilter, but I think calling it "especially hateful" is a bit of exaggeration, no?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:40 AM on March 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


And I'm sorry but I don't see the hateful part of it, like really really don't. Being younger is a temporary phase we all go through assuming we live long enough.

It isn't a question about young people. It's a question about a specific generational cohort. The questioner isn't saying, why do young people suck? She's saying, why do today's young people suck so much worse than they did when I was one of them? If you can't see what's hateful about that, I don't really know what to say.
posted by enn at 11:40 AM on March 21, 2011


Really?

Yes, I am really hurt when people voice opinions like that of the asker.
posted by enn at 11:41 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


"especially hateful"? really? you need to get out more.
posted by Perplexity at 11:43 AM on March 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


If you can't see what's hateful about that, I don't really know what to say.

I don't, and even after you've explained it, I still don't. I think the questioner is under the influence of a misunderstanding which is what people have told her and which was clarified somewhat with her follow-up comment. We all have continuums along which we see the offensiveness of statements like the one in the question and I think you and I fall at fairly distant points from each other along that continuum.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:45 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you can't see what's hateful about that, I don't really know what to say.

I read it as obnoxious, not hateful. Hateful's a pretty charged word that I associate with far clearer expressions of intolerance and bad intent than "kids today seem lazy to me!"
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:46 AM on March 21, 2011


Maybe not outright hateful, but certainly ageist, in the same way as "Those retired people? What's with their driving?"
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:47 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't call it 'hateful' but I personally am sick to death of hearing Boomers complain about "kids today" so I understand where enn is coming from.
posted by lhall at 11:48 AM on March 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


The youth of today: no sense of perspective, eh?
posted by MuffinMan at 11:52 AM on March 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


The questioner isn't saying, why do young people suck? She's saying, why do today's young people suck so much worse than they did when I was one of them?

"Do kids today suck harder than kids of yore?" is not the same question as "WHY do kids today suck harder than kids of yore?". She was asking the first question.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:53 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The questioner isn't saying, why do young people suck? She's saying, why do today's young people suck so much worse than they did when I was one of them?

That's pretty much the same thing because the OP is no longer young, so yeah, she's talking about young people sucking.

Which she later clarified was mostly humor and noting being as clear as she should have been.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:55 AM on March 21, 2011


It did present a good myth-dispelling learning opportunity for both the OP and others, which is now in the public record. Sometimes it's nice to have a cogent rebuttal to 'somebody being wrong on the Internet' there for all the world to see and possibly learn from. We often don't see our biases until we're presented with reflections or abstractions or analogies from them, and I feel like this is one of those questions that makes me think about myself and where I stand on such a topic.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:55 AM on March 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Do kids today suck harder than kids of yore?" is not the same question as "WHY do kids today suck harder than kids of yore?". She was asking the first question.

Her question was "what is wrong with these young people," (emphasis mine) which is closer to the second than the first question.
posted by enn at 11:56 AM on March 21, 2011


Who cares? I don't see why we should have to put up with such hateful, hurtful stuff on the front page of AskMe just because it might be the occasion of somebody's special consciousness-raising moment.

How about, because raising their consciousness means they will stop and think before making such generalizations again? You know, the ones that are so hateful and hurtful to you personally?

And maybe other people who were having the same thoughts will also read the thread and think, "You know, I was pretty obnoxious in X way when I was young, and it wasn't a generational thing, it was me being obnoxious. Hmm." Or, "Maybe kids these days actually have it right and are starting to balance work and the rest of their lives, that's better than we did, huh, I never looked at it that way before."

And those would also be good things.
posted by misha at 11:56 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not so much offended by the question, but I am really confused about how it made it past the chatfilter filter.
posted by Think_Long at 12:03 PM on March 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, insofar as cultural attitudes about work ethic will inevitably change over time, I do think it's legitimate to ask whether there are generational differences such as, for example, a decreased willingness to work one's ass off. Nor do I think it's insane to wonder whether there is an increased shared sense of entitlement. There's no reason to think that couldn't happen. We talk about other cultural trends over time, like increased sexual open-mindedness, etc.

In other words, culture is not in stasis. Attitudes change over time. To a certain extent, it's possible to compare generations in terms of their preferences and such (though it's obviously difficult given the complexity of our society). Because this is the case, I don't see why we shouldn't be able to ask about negative change over time (decreased willingness to work).
posted by prefpara at 12:03 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I totally agree. It's THESE people we need to worry about.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:03 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's pretty much the same thing because the OP is no longer young

I think there's a big difference between saying "what is wrong with this age group (to which I once myself belonged)" and "what is wrong with this particular generation (to which I haven't and won't ever belong, thank god)." The second seems to be much more other-directed. But I guess not everyone sees a distinction there.
posted by enn at 12:04 PM on March 21, 2011


Why do kids these days have such thin skins?
posted by adamdschneider at 12:05 PM on March 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


If you can't see what's hateful about that, I don't really know what to say.

I'm not seeing the hatefulness either. Questions relating to how different generational cohorts act differently in the workplace are really quite common among human resources and diversity management sorts.

Is your objection to having members of a generational cohort discussed as if they have things in common, or to the "young people today suck amirite?" tone of the original post?
posted by Lexica at 12:05 PM on March 21, 2011


I got too convoluted. All I meant to say was that I don't see a major difference between this question and something like "I've noticed that the younger employees in my workplace are much more gay-friendly. Are the rest of you guys seeing an increasing tolerance on the part of young people?"
posted by prefpara at 12:06 PM on March 21, 2011


Yes, I am really hurt when people voice opinions like that of the asker.

I am surprised, I did not find the question hateful. You strike me as being unusually sensitive to this issue, and I think your opinion may be an outlier.
posted by Diablevert at 12:07 PM on March 21, 2011


I promise that I did not do history-digging for this, but I am astonished that someone who used words like 'fluffer of the fucking neoliberal class' and who said they would rather purchase human shit than pay for the NY Times finds a question about millennials "especially hateful."
posted by proj at 12:07 PM on March 21, 2011 [19 favorites]


Can we talk about how kids today talk? Because goddamn it's annoying.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:08 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I feel pretty hateful toward Bill Keller. I'm not sure what your point is, though. I haven't ever "bill keller sucks, amirite?" as an AskMe question that I remember. Or were you just looking for a fight?
posted by enn at 12:08 PM on March 21, 2011


No, I'm just saying your outrage about the tone of a totally innocuous question seems a little odd given your willingness to immediately escalate to actually hateful language in other threads that interest you.
posted by proj at 12:10 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not outraged about the tone. I'm outraged about the content.
posted by enn at 12:11 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Do kids today suck harder than kids of yore?" is not the same question as "WHY do kids today suck harder than kids of yore?". She was asking the first question.


Her question was "what is wrong with these young people," (emphasis mine) which is closer to the second than the first question.


She had three questions, actually:

1. What's the matter with these kids today?
2. For those of you who have been in your respective fields for a while, are you finding that younger employees/trainees/interns are less willing to work their asses off?
3. College profs, are you seeing a(n even) greater sense of entitlement in students?
posted by 23skidoo at 12:16 PM on March 21, 2011


I am outraged by this outrage.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:17 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm outraged about these pants.
posted by carsonb at 12:19 PM on March 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've noticed that spiked mohawks have made a comeback in the past year. Is that like a 7 year cycle?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:21 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I'm outraged about these pants.

What possible reason could there be for making pants like that? That's approaching unforgivable territory.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:22 PM on March 21, 2011


Hey, I know I guy who has those pants!

I thought it was a crummy question but not particularly offensive.
posted by ghharr at 12:22 PM on March 21, 2011


To allow college kids to have something to wear when playing Bar Golf.
posted by proj at 12:22 PM on March 21, 2011


What possible reason could there be for making pants like that? That's approaching unforgivable territory.

Some people just want to see the world burn.
posted by The Whelk at 12:23 PM on March 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


I was totally offended. But then I realized I was no longer young. So then I didn't care. And went along blaming baby boomers for everything like I always do, even though they probably don't deserve it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:23 PM on March 21, 2011


To allow college kids Norwegians to have something to wear when playing Bar Golf curling.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'd give anything to be able to pull off wearing those pants.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:26 PM on March 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't see why we should have to put up with such hateful, hurtful stuff on the front page of AskMe just because it might be the occasion of somebody's special consciousness-raising moment.

The asker has been sufficiently punished by their genetics and their inability to think critically without my needing to seek additional chastisement for their failings.

Now get offa my lawn.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:27 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's total, 100% chatfilter. But it isn't offensive, unless being slightly lazy and reductionist is somehow automatically offensive.
posted by Forktine at 12:27 PM on March 21, 2011


I don't think anyone has claimed it is offensive.
posted by enn at 12:28 PM on March 21, 2011


especially hateful chatfilter
such hateful, hurtful stuff
If you can't see what's hateful about that, I don't really know what to say.
Yes, I am really hurt when people voice opinions like that of the asker.
I'm not outraged about the tone. I'm outraged about the content.


Nope, no one claimed it was offensive directly. However, the above quotes (all yours) certainly seem to imply it with a jackhammer.
posted by proj at 12:30 PM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


If I'd meant offensive, I would have said offensive, instead of saying hateful, which I said because I meant hateful, which means something else. What the fuck is your problem with me?
posted by enn at 12:31 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


What we need now is some good old-fashioned hair-splitting pedantry.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [50 favorites]


I don't think anyone has claimed it is offensive.

Hunh. What other things do you categorize as "hateful, but not offense"? Expressions of deep antipathy toward fascism comes to mind as a possible example, but beyond that...
posted by Diablevert at 12:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Damn, should've previewed.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't think anyone has claimed it is offensive.
posted by enn

I'm not outraged about the tone. I'm outraged about the content.
posted by enn


"Outraged" then. Which you say you are. Which is bizarre.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:33 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Outraged" then. Which you say you are.

I was just repeating proj's word choice in my response to him. I shouldn't have. I'm not outraged. I think the question's phrasing expresses hate, but I'm not offended, outraged, or anything else. I just think it's unpleasant to read on AskMe, and chatfilter to begin with.
posted by enn at 12:35 PM on March 21, 2011


That question is worse than a radioactive tsunami made of Hitler heading straight for the nice farm in the country where my dog went to live after he got sick.
posted by Mister_A at 12:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [15 favorites]


I promise that I did not do history-digging for this, but...

If your point is you just happened to have those comments handy, that doesn't really entitle you to make history-digging types of comments of the type we'd prefer not to see here. If you two need to take this to email, please do, I feel like I'm missing some context here maybe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:36 PM on March 21, 2011


[response deleted on preview]

It's just spillover from another thread. I had those comments handy in my head because they were part of a back-and-forth yesterday.
posted by proj at 12:37 PM on March 21, 2011


Since we're talking about Gen-Y, can I just say they're a bunch of entitled, narcissistic ninnies who need to HTFU? Thanks, I feel better now.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:37 PM on March 21, 2011


I thought we were talking about the millennials.
posted by Mister_A at 12:38 PM on March 21, 2011


I know you ain't talkin' 'bout Gen X because we invented everything that is dope.
posted by Mister_A at 12:39 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everything we invented was inspired by smoking dope.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:40 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Her question was "what is wrong with these young people," (emphasis mine) which is closer to the second than the first question.

No it wasn't.

Again, pop culture reference. Don't get it? Get off my lawn.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:40 PM on March 21, 2011


Oh look ...

Main Entry: hateful
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: nasty, obnoxious

Synonyms: abhorrent, abominable, accursed, awful, bitter, blasted, catty, confounded, cursed, cussed, damnable, damned, despicable, despiteful, detestable, disgusting, evil, execrable, forbidding, foul, gross, heinous, horrid, infamous, invidious, loathsome, malevolent, malign, mean, odious, offensive, ornery*, pesky, pestiferous, repellent, repugnant, repulsive, resentful, revolting, shuddersome, spiteful, uncool, undesirable, vicious, vile
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:41 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


OH SNAP THE THESAURUS!
posted by enn at 12:43 PM on March 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


I was going to respond, but I was born in 1986, so I can't be bothered. Now where's my free money and automatic A+?
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:43 PM on March 21, 2011 [20 favorites]


Pro tip; If you're not outraged, don't say that you are, enn. It's quite confusing.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:43 PM on March 21, 2011


If you meant "invidious," you should have said "invidious," enn.
posted by Mister_A at 12:44 PM on March 21, 2011


Hey, feel free to swap in "hateful," "outrageous," or any of the long list of alternative words that gives you that special happy feeling down there, whatever floats your boat.

My point is that the question is chatfilter and lazy, but isn't anything worse than that. Whether you call it "hateful" or something else doesn't magically make it so.
posted by Forktine at 12:48 PM on March 21, 2011


Hey, feel free to swap in "hateful," "outrageous," or any of the long list of alternative words that gives you that special happy feeling down there, whatever floats your boat.

"Battlestar Galatica ending" will do just fine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:49 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


just keep picking that scab Brandon.
posted by The Whelk at 12:51 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


enn: "I don't see why we should have to put up with such hateful, hurtful stuff on the front page of AskMe just because it might be the occasion of somebody's special consciousness-raising moment."

I do. Dealing with it once on AskMe will save hundreds or thousands of teens and twenty-somethings from being assumed at by the now-educated asker. Does it really hurt you so much to read this hateful, hurtful stuff that you think those hard-working people deserve to continue to be prejudged because you weren't willing to read a thread where a prejudger was learning the error of his/her ways?
posted by Plutor at 12:51 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah that Battlestar Galactica ending was pretty Aaron Eckhart. The cylon dreamed the whole thing in the shower? Come on!
posted by Mister_A at 12:52 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]




I think there's a big difference between saying "what is wrong with this age group (to which I once myself belonged)" and "what is wrong with this particular generation (to which I haven't and won't ever belong, thank god)." The second seems to be much more other-directed. But I guess not everyone sees a distinction there.

But this question is always asked at a specific point in time. Therefore, it will always refer to a specific group of people. "What is wrong with kids these days?" Is asking about these day's kids. If this question is asked by every generation, does that mean that every older generation is always especially hateful?

Besides, the OP didn't specify "this particular generation (to which I haven't and won't ever belong, thank god." They asked about, "younger employees/trainees/interns." Which is your first group.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:57 PM on March 21, 2011


just keep picking that scab Brandon.

Season 4 of Big Love?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:00 PM on March 21, 2011


I think there's a big difference between saying "what is wrong with this age group (to which I once myself belonged)" and "what is wrong with this particular generation (to which I haven't and won't ever belong, thank god)."

So the only people allowed to criticize a group are members of that group? Or the flip side, a person is only allowed to criticize groups they're a member of?

Unless you're striving for — and pushing others to achieve — a super-enlightened more-Zen-than-the-Dalai-Lama* I-can-only-criticize-myself attitude, I don't see how that's going to work.

It's human nature to wonder "Hey, those people do things differently from the way I and people like me do. What's up with that?" And it's human nature that sometimes "they do things differently" is going to mean "and I don't like the way they do them".


* Yes, that's a freaking joke.
posted by Lexica at 1:10 PM on March 21, 2011


Season 4 of Big Love?

Season 4 of Ugly Betty. No, wait, Season 4 of Six Feet Under! I love this game.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:12 PM on March 21, 2011


What is the matter with the kids today hating the ending of Battlestar Galactica, amirite? How much longer do we have to tolerate this hateful stuff in MeTa?
posted by DWRoelands at 1:15 PM on March 21, 2011


Season 4 of Six Feet Under! I love this game

Was that the one where every one was a jerk to everyone else for no reason?

oh wait that was all of them.
posted by The Whelk at 1:16 PM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Once again the Simpsons are the answer to every question.

Don't make me link it again, Whelk.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:19 PM on March 21, 2011


Oh God Paul Lynde was just the shining avatar of camp wasn't he?
posted by The Whelk at 1:25 PM on March 21, 2011


And what's up with everyone wearing tennis shoes all the time, eh?
posted by Mister_A at 1:25 PM on March 21, 2011


So the only people allowed to criticize a group are members of that group?

I might be treading on thin ice in MeFi land with this, but the other day I was trying to explain to a friend who grew up wealthy why humor on class issues in America can be so fraught and...well, basically: yes. The (MeFi-inspired) examples that first came to mind were People of Wal-Msrt (which is authors of middle-class or higher-income backgrounds making fun of the poor, which I find vile) vs. Stuff White People Like (which is a bourgeois/hipster/upper-middle-whatever guy making fun of his own social circle, which I find hilarious); my reactions--and I don't think I'm alone--are based on a simple principle: humor at the expense of someone who's at your socioeconomic level or above is not going to be as damaging as that directed at one's "inferiors."

With generations...on one hand, it's not really so much of a hierarchy, but in general (for variables other than beauty), older = more powerful. So where is this going: looking down on young people and saying "What's up with that?" is fine; "What is their fucking problem?" ...not so much.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:25 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I loved Paul Lynde on the Hollywood Squares. That was really all I knew about him when I was a kid.
posted by Mister_A at 1:26 PM on March 21, 2011




I have been consulted.
posted by fixedgear at 1:32 PM on March 21, 2011


humor at the expense of someone who's at your socioeconomic level or above is not going to be as damaging as that directed at one's "inferiors."

The quote you're looking for is "Comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finley_Peter_Dunne)
posted by GuyZero at 1:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also: Without impugning here, I'll modestly suggest that the cream of today's college crop probably isn't taking unpaid internships in journalism, and anyone with such a position is probably spending their time looking for something better.
posted by miyabo at 1:42 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I might be treading on thin ice in MeFi land with this, but the other day I was trying to explain to a friend who grew up wealthy why humor on class issues in America can be so fraught and...well, basically: yes. The (MeFi-inspired) examples that first came to mind were People of Wal-Msrt (which is authors of middle-class or higher-income backgrounds making fun of the poor, which I find vile) vs. Stuff White People Like (which is a bourgeois/hipster/upper-middle-whatever guy making fun of his own social circle, which I find hilarious); my reactions--and I don't think I'm alone--are based on a simple principle: humor at the expense of someone who's at your socioeconomic level or above is not going to be as damaging as that directed at one's "inferiors."

I feel like you're changing the terms of the discussion here. The original AskMe question wasn't about humor (well, other than the barely-humorous "get off my lawn" reference, which really is stale and tired at this point), it was about discussing generational differences as they affect education and the workplace. That's why all the links I posted above were to articles about HR and diversity management, not to Stuff White People Like or People Of Wal-Mart.

As I read the original post, the poster's question (which could have been phrased a lot better so as to be less likely to annoy many readers) was "In my workplace, I'm noticing differences in how younger people do things compared to how older people do things. Is this real or am I imagining it? If I'm not imagining it, what's going on here?"
posted by Lexica at 1:42 PM on March 21, 2011


The poster said:

I've really been noticing something in my workplace and after seeing something about it on 30 Rock (in the episode "Gentleman's Intermission", sorry, can't find video...) I'm starting to think it's not just me, or my non-profit line of work. So I ask you--in all seriousness, and with an eye toward actual information.

That sounds to me like someone who thinks they're noticing something, but recognises that it might be personal prejudice, and so is asking for other opinions and "actual information" - i.e. non-anecdotal evidence, in either direction.

No problem with that. Calling it "hateful" is an absolutely ridiculous overreaction.
posted by Decani at 1:46 PM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


People of Wal-Msrt (which is authors of middle-class or higher-income backgrounds making fun of the poor, which I find vile) vs. Stuff White People Like (which is a bourgeois/hipster/upper-middle-whatever guy making fun of his own social circle, which I find hilarious)

As someone from a poor working-class background I find "People of Wal-Mart" justified and occasionally funny. It isn't making fun of people for being poor. It's making fun of people for having no class (and we're not talking social class here), self-awareness or basic consideration for others. As a non-racist person (i.e. someone who thinks making fun of people because of their race is fucking inexcusable in and from any direction) I think "Stuff White People Like" is disgraceful, hypocritical and absolutely racist bullshit.
posted by Decani at 1:51 PM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think the OP also realized that maybe she was being a bit too crochety herself; there are jokes in the post at the OP's expense. All the "kids get off my lawn" positing is understood to be pointing fun at the older generation as much as the younger, even while she is expressing frustration. So, the OP sounds genuinely curious and willing to be proved wrong, to me at least. She acknowledges that complaints about younger generations are something older generations do, often without merit, but wants to know if, in this case, that's what's going on, or if others have noticed this trend (which she defines as laziness) as well. And I think that's okay.

FWIW, I have kids who are in their late teens and will be in college and working soon. They ARE less motivated to work long, hard hours--but are MORE motivated to be socially conscious, more tolerant of alternative lifestyles, more protective of their personal space and more laid-back than their Dad and I. There's good and bad there, but I think they will all turn out all right in the end, just like every generation before them.
posted by misha at 1:58 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm 33 but I think this question is pretty chatfiltery and stupid, if not necessarily hateful. I can't understand why it was allowed to let stand, with its inherent KIDS SUCK AMIRITE tone.
posted by sweetkid at 1:58 PM on March 21, 2011


Metafilter: You strike me as being unusually sensitive to this issue, and I think your opinion may be an outlier.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:18 PM on March 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


"If I'd meant offensive, I would have said offensive, instead of saying hateful, which I said because I meant hateful, which means something else. What the fuck is your problem with me?"

Trust me on this. It's you.

Asking a questions about things being hateful, and then escalating it this this quote, in response to people trying to address your concern...... I think the problem people might have with you that, perhaps, and this is just conjecture on my part, if I may be so bold, they find that you may in some ways be an asshole. Just guessing.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:26 PM on March 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh boy. Name calling? Really?
posted by josher71 at 2:46 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


A silent-but-deadly-fart by any other name is just as stinky.
posted by nomisxid at 2:51 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd give anything to be able to pull off wearing those pants.

Don pants. Shove hand down front of pants. Pull.
posted by loquacious at 2:52 PM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I agree that this is pretty chatfiltery, but as someone who straddles one of the age groups and struggles with his own motivation and perception of it by his seniors, I found the answers enlightening and helpful.
posted by Big_B at 2:52 PM on March 21, 2011


The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is available in its goofy completeness on youtube

When you posted that, I didn't realize the first musical number was going to be "what's the matter with kids today".

Or that the 2nd part would start with Witch-E-Poo.
posted by nomisxid at 3:02 PM on March 21, 2011


Anything I want, he gives it to me. Anything I want, he gives it but not for free. It's hateful!
posted by scody at 3:06 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kids today! They're faster than they look.

/movie monster voice
posted by quin at 3:11 PM on March 21, 2011


Metafilter: What the fuck is your problem with me?
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:19 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Shove hand down front of pants.
posted by Zozo at 3:22 PM on March 21, 2011


Yep, chatfilter...

"kids today are bad" has been a false statement and a " get off my lawn " past-timing game that started shortly after Cain and Able hit the age of 12.
posted by tomswift at 3:24 PM on March 21, 2011


I read the question as, "I hire a lot of young people for little-to-no wages at a small non-profit. Why don't they want to work long hours with an enthusiastic go-get-em attitude every day like I had just for the privilege of being there?"
posted by deanc at 3:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Whoa...there's a party over here in MetaTalk about this question. Cool!

I dunno...I don't think it was hateful. I hope it doesn't get deleted so that Gen Y people can read and learn and arm themselves against this ridiculous assertion every time it rears its head. It's stylish now in journalism to write op-ed pieces about how our youth today doesn't know how to put in work...so I think its important to see how to deconstruct this one-lane argument.

I also think it was an ironic question to ask at the same time that labor unions are being dealt their final blows in this country :) "You all should be happy to work harder for less! words words words venom!"
posted by jnnla at 3:46 PM on March 21, 2011


I don't know, my wife recruits college kids for her company, and some of the stories she tells me are incredible. Basically, it seems like they've mostly never been more than 10 feet from their parents since birth.

That being said, I have two comments: I found the whole "they don't want to bust their asses for bad wages for a company which might lay them off with extreme predjudice at any moment" instructional. I have nothing nice to say about corporations in general, but I had never made this connection, which I think is valid.

Also, they are apparently HUGE on "work/life balance," from which I think all us Gen-X codgers could take a page.
posted by nevercalm at 3:57 PM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Work to live, don't live to work.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:07 PM on March 21, 2011


nevercalm - maybe your wife's problem is that her recruitment is biased towards young people from upper class environments. Never having "been more than 10 feet from their parents" is not something that poorer people experience; most have, through lack of choice, been on their own through the whole of their university experience, and largely on their own through most of high school.
posted by jb at 4:26 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe not offensive but pretty annoying. Right up there with anti-Facebook rants in the MeFi 'kids today!' stakes
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


maybe your wife's problem is that her recruitment is biased towards young people from upper class environments. Never having "been more than 10 feet from their parents" is not something that poorer people experience; most have, through lack of choice, been on their own through the whole of their university experience, and largely on their own through most of high school.

That's certainly true, and she's said as much, but it's a function of the jobs she recruits for more than where she's looking - I should have remembered to mention that. I always hear way more about the blue-collar kid who broke his/her ass to get into and through a really expensive school than about the "whitewhine" kid who gripes about the blister on his finger being aggravated by the button of his iPad 2.

In fact, she has schools she prefers because of the class of student and how much easier and pleasant they are to deal with. It'll be interesting when she herself gets her 4 year degree, as she is going to start a program to recruit kids with different backgrounds, and I know she's champing at the bit.
posted by nevercalm at 4:44 PM on March 21, 2011


It is obvious to me that "people aren't getting worse", partly because various texts from centuries gone contain exactly the same type of complaints. It's silly but it seems human, so meh.
Then there's that "sorry can't find the video" passage in the original question that makes it clear to me that it isn't about people getting worse, but about differences of standpoint and interest. "Do your research before posting a question about us not working our asses off" would any of those criticized youngsters say, I bet.

So: based on silly assumptions of imaginary tendencies, yes (so much actually that I refrained from answering, because I wouldn't have liked to suppress some snark); framed poorly, yes. Hateful just not at all. The question is explicitly framed as not hateful, which doesn't say it isn't prejudiced; but hey: calling it "hateful" may be a tad prejudiced as well.
posted by Namlit at 4:45 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well if you want to base your views on an entire generation from single upper-class sources I've got a few Upper East Side Nannies who could tell you SUCH STORIES.
posted by The Whelk at 4:49 PM on March 21, 2011


"Anything I want, he gives it to me. Anything I want, he gives it but not for free. It's hateful!"

AW MAN I WAS GONNA POST THE EXACT SAME THING!

HATEFUL!
posted by klangklangston at 4:50 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Norwegian curling pants.
posted by ltracey at 4:54 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


the blister on his finger being aggravated by the button of his iPad 2.

iPads don't really have buttons.
posted by The Whelk at 4:55 PM on March 21, 2011


Funny, mine has 4...the main one, two volume buttons and the one on top.
posted by nevercalm at 4:59 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've got an app to catalog my button collection. Ooh, that one's shiny!
posted by box at 5:01 PM on March 21, 2011


I can't see getting a blister from one, unless you're rapidly occsilating the volume to create a Woo-Woo sound effect.

I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING TONIGHT!
posted by The Whelk at 5:05 PM on March 21, 2011


I can't see getting a blister from one

That wasn't what I said, and I never meant to infer that and OH MY SWEET JESUS THE BEANPLATING.
posted by nevercalm at 5:09 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
posted by The Whelk at 5:11 PM on March 21, 2011


Now my forehead has keyboard marks on it.
posted by nevercalm at 5:12 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I banged my head against my iPad so hard one of those little green pigs popped.
posted by carsonb at 5:13 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


You people are just too serious. [disclaimer. This comment expresses a general tendency but is not hateful]
posted by Namlit at 5:18 PM on March 21, 2011


I'm late enough to this thread that it's gone completely off the rails (and hoorah for that), but as one of the supposedly-insulted members of the group here, um... it's not something that I see as hateful, or hurtful, or offensive (although how something can be hateful but not offensive is one to ponder upon!). It's just a cranky older person who probably has some lazy workers and is lazily attributing it to their age. Who cares, really? The fact that you've gotten so up in arms about it, OP, is a little crazy to be honest with you.
posted by asciident at 5:19 PM on March 21, 2011


I may be taking a job where, aside from the boss, I could literally be the father of the rest of the crew had I, as feared, actually knocked up my 15 year old girlfriend all those years ago, so this newsletter...how might I subscribe?

That said, I have a theory.

This generation born full blown from the brow of the Internet has spent literally their entire lives both surveilled and watching others. They accept this as normal.

Now, any furtive prurience aside, what happens 15-20 years from now when they are our senators and COOs? They will find it completely normal to broadcast live video of lunch with that lobbyist and vote based on the results of the real time poll as to the suitability of their proposal (and, my god that hair...); the COO will introduce live blogging from them boardroom when discussing a merger and take an instapoll from his colleagues in other c-suites which in turn will be aggregated and fed to the successor to HuffPo or the WSJ. The SEC will adjust because it'll be full of these "youngins'" too. As Negroponte said, privacy is dead; the question now is equality of access.

And these young folk are our last, best hope to finally bring equality of access.
posted by digitalprimate at 5:30 PM on March 21, 2011


Why do kids these days have such thin skins?

It is because they are not wearing socks or pantyhose.
posted by jgirl at 5:49 PM on March 21, 2011


This entire thread needs to get off my damn lawn.
posted by jonmc at 5:49 PM on March 21, 2011


jgirl, that thread floored me. People in an office environment really run around bare-legged?
posted by desjardins at 6:30 PM on March 21, 2011


GOMPER

Get Off My Property Elder Rage.

Cit-AH-zin Radios kay, we had odd names and drank from steel cans with PULL TABS.
posted by clavdivs at 7:10 PM on March 21, 2011


I feel like you're changing the terms of the discussion here.

I was attempting to draw a parallel, got distracted, it got away from me. My point was that the perceived difference between "I don't get why people do this" to "Damn, these people suck" gets bigger when you go down the food chain and I can see why someone in the target group would bristle at the original question. (Not that I think "hateful" or "offensive" is apt, but I kind of get it.)
posted by kittyprecious at 7:27 PM on March 21, 2011


desjardins - it's happened over... the past 15 years or so? And I am SO thankful for it. I teach high school, and I never wear socks or hose, though I wear stockings in the winter. I've never understood the point of pantyhose--itchy, so broadly sized so that often your options are "too wide" or "too tall" in order to get close to a decent fit, and the ridiculous "nude" color that was ostensibly to make it look like you weren't wearing pantyhose, when it would have been simpler to, you know, not wear pantyhose. I always hated having to wear them. I'm so glad we're finally free of that.

Oh - and there's nothing hurtful or hateful about that ask post. Poorly phrased or badly framed, sure. Missing info that was only filled in later in the thread, yeah. But hurtful and hateful? How do you manage to read anything on MetaFilter if *that* is what you consider hurtful and hateful?
posted by tzikeh at 7:32 PM on March 21, 2011


I really don't understand how someone who thinks that post was hateful or hurtful gets through the day. How does one develop that sheer capacity of ridiculous outrage?
posted by spaltavian at 7:38 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


desjardins, seconding that it has become much more popular and acceptable to go bare-legged as opposed to nude pantyhose, especially in the summer. I think "casual Fridays" have a little to do with it, and also the fact that more men are dressing in khakis or chinos with polos or button-downs instead of suits with ties, so women can be a little more relaxed as well.
posted by misha at 7:52 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's with people taking lessons from television shows (sitcoms even!) on interpersonal relationships of all things?

Seriously? You're asking me why our relationship isn't more like Uncle Jesse and Rebecca's from Full House? Well I'm not opposed to trying that out. I'll see you Friday at 8pm (7 central).
posted by ODiV at 8:20 PM on March 21, 2011


I'm not a hateful AskMe thread. I'm a hate stylist.
posted by staggernation at 8:27 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess I know now how my grandmother felt about makeup; she couldn't understand why some women would leave the house without at least applying lipstick. I doubt I could ever comfortably wear a skirt without nylons (not that I wear skirts very often anyway). It would feel like I was doing something very, very wrong.
posted by desjardins at 8:27 PM on March 21, 2011


I like that OSHA bans me from wearing nylons in the lab when I'm doing the benchwork part of my job.

Ever since my grandmother (a scientist) told me the story about the medical laboratory accident that melted her (required) nylons to her legs, I've been grateful that safety trumps performing femininity. I have also been slightly terrified of nylons ever since.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 8:38 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


My point was that the perceived difference between "I don't get why people do this" to "Damn, these people suck" gets bigger when you go down the food chain

Hmmmmmm. Down the food chain, you say? Please then, describe this group.

*starts making popcorn * Remember, no matter what you say, someone will find it hateful, offensive, or outrageous.



posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:39 PM on March 21, 2011


It's stylish now in journalism to write op-ed pieces about how our youth today doesn't know how to put in work...so I think its important to see how to deconstruct this one-lane argument.

If you Gen-Y and Millennials could be bothered to do a wee amount of research, you'd find that we Gen-Xers already wrote all of those rebuttals 15 years ago. Sheesh. And quit rolling your eyes like that! We invented that eyeroll!

I've had some mid-20s coworkers who flopped about complaining about how easy and dumb and unfulfilling they found the work, but they'd produce utterly shoddy work full of really basic errors. I went blue in the face trying to explain the expertise that I wanted them to gain so that I could give them more responsibility, but it was apparently more satisfying to be perpetually offended. And then I had 20somethings who worked hard to learn the lay of the land and quickly demonstrated insight, creativity, and critical thinking with poise.
posted by desuetude at 10:39 PM on March 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


As a Gen-X ( Bwah? I'm 35, you tell me...) workaholic, that thread actually completely blew my mind. At first dismissive, I could not argue the sad, honest, true points of the younger-than-me folks now taking work positions in this economy who came in with really fantastic and thoughtful comments. It looks and feels pretty bleak out there. Blurghhh. Additionally, I could not be more grateful for them speaking up and making their points. I didn't see it as chatfilter so much as a real answer to a real question.

I understand the frustration of young folks (god, I do not mean to imply that 35 is old, which it is not. or that old isn't totally rad. which I suspect it will be) being offended that we don't get them. We don't. We are "a generation" for a reason. We grew up together. We saw the same movies, saw our generation make art and films and music...watched the world change and unfold...debated art and politics through our own *** haze. Differently than it has for this new generation. (NOT BETTERIST.) Which is how it should be. I may not agree with the point of this thread, but enn, if you are still listening...

I might not know this if I hadn't made a career switch (I chose to do it! In this economy! 1/3 pay rate, terrible benefits, sociopath boss...follow your dreams folks!) this year. As such, I am working on much a lower level (pay, responsibility, reward....the gamut) as folks 10 years my junior. I left a career I had been building for 20 years, but never loved. The guys though, they literally have to tell me to slow down, that killing myself for this job will get me nowhere these days, I need to develop self respect and ask for what I deserve...I mean these kids are downright...heart-breakingly brilliant. All THREE of them.

So do I have deep insights into the psyche of the Gen-Y folks? Nope. Just a couple guys.

But I have their blessing to have some self respect and get a good nights sleep. Which is rad.

Which I promise to do, as soon as I get all the work I secretly brought home done...

(Enn, this questioning of the next generation and what they are up to? It's weird, sure...but leads to really interesting debates and revelations. Try not to let it get you too down.)
posted by metasav at 10:42 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


lol @ work ethic questions asked on a not-related-to-anybody's-work-except-a-handful-of-metafilter-employees website at 10:30 on a Monday morning.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:23 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unless it's like Arbor Day over there, fuck if I know.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:24 AM on March 22, 2011


"Hateful"? You need to readjust your sense of outrage.
posted by OmieWise at 5:06 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was young once too, you know *sob*

People said that my generation was lazy and unmotivated and blah blah blah back then, just as I sometimes look at my niece now who I love dearly and think 'bloody hell, woman, get off yer arse'. It doesn't mean that I think she's in any way worse than I ever was (or am). Maybe I just have a good memory, though.

Now people look at me and think I'm too old to know or care about what's current and so they hurt my feelings by treating me as if I'm an old woman. The fact that I'm so old and creaky now doesn't negate my formerly spry and groovy self *sob*

Stop looking at me!
posted by h00py at 6:31 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Serious question way down here at the bottom of the thread.
How would one go about asking this question in a non-chat-filtery way?

Or is any question of the form:
Is observation X true in most peoples' experiences, or is it particular to my situation?
Always chat filter?
posted by forforf at 6:33 AM on March 22, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: Maybe not offensive but pretty annoying. Right up there with anti-Facebook rants in the MeFi 'kids today!' stakes

Can you blame them?
posted by gman at 6:45 AM on March 22, 2011


I think that was a ridiculous question with only anecdotal answers possible. The terms "younger employee", "trainee", "intern" and "college student" are all so vague as to be meaningless when using them to describe age, especially in today's economy. I'm 33, so I am seen as a younger employee to many of my forty-something coworkers. However, I've worked here longer than most of them.
Then there are the terms "work their asses off" and "sense of entitlement". Hmm, how would you even begin to measure these things? My grandpa would never have described a person sitting at a desk all day as working their anything off. Is demanding equal pay for equal work a "sense of entitlement"? It's all so subjective as to make that part of the question also nearly meaningless.

If this question served to educate people on how prejudging people based on their age or generation is a bad thing, that's good of course. It doesn't mean it was a good question.
posted by soelo at 8:43 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


We actually had intergenerational training sessions where there was a whole load of platitudes about "that generation does this" and "this generation does that" which I thought was BS at the time. The longer I'm working though, the more I see how that can be pretty valuable information for a bunch of people who don't really know many people (well) outside of their specific generational range. If nothing else, it was a reminder that different people have different motivations and it would help to manage them according to their own personalities/styles/motivations.

Threeway Handshake: "I'd give anything to be able to pull off wearing those pants."

I have a friend who totally makes those pants work. Of course, he also wore rainbow paisley pants (linen maybe?) to a steeplechase in South Carolina while setting up a full table spread Martha Stewart (for some values of gay Martha Stewarts) would envy. Including a centerpiece with growing grass interspersed with sparkly cut-out horses.

The plot next to us in the tailgating section, seeing a bunch of guys pour out of a van, asked us "Oh! What frat are y'all?". We just said "We aren't one!" and then they quickly came to understand as soon as he was finished setting up.

I'd be impressed to see the golfer that can successfully pull those off, though.
posted by This Guy at 10:10 AM on March 22, 2011


I attribute their bad attitudes and general good-for-nothingness to their lack of soup.
posted by electroboy at 11:10 AM on March 22, 2011


your hyperbolic use of the word 'hateful' leads me to believe you have lived a sheltered life.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:49 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


That sounds to me like someone who thinks they're noticing something, but recognises that it might be personal prejudice, and so is asking for other opinions and "actual information" - i.e. non-anecdotal evidence, in either direction.

No problem with that. Calling it "hateful" is an absolutely ridiculous overreaction.

Yeah, this was how I read the question, even without the later clarification. As someone who is on the cusp of Baby-boomer/Gen X and who manages a team of ~50 people who range from early Baby Boomers to Gen Y, this is an issue of great interest to me and I was keen to hear perspectives other than my own. By its nature, the question is likely to be kind of chatfilter-ish, but only because answers are going to be almost exclusively anecdata rather than hard fact. There's nothing hateful or obnoxious about examining the cross-generational issues that exist in a modern workforce. To do otherwise is to pretend these issues don't exist.
posted by dg at 2:42 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are also issues that exist if some of your employees are recent immigrants, or have a different ethnic background than you are used to, or are disabled. That doesn't mean you should lead off your question with "What's the matter with (black people | paraplegics | Chinese exchange students | kids today)?"
posted by mbrubeck at 3:42 PM on March 22, 2011


Of course. But when you precede the statement 'What's the matter with these kids today?' with 'Get off my lawn filter:', it's clear that the statement is intended to be tongue-in-cheek. It's not fair to equate that with your other examples. Context is everything.
posted by dg at 4:03 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are also issues that exist if some of your employees are recent immigrants, or have a different ethnic background than you are used to, or are disabled. That doesn't mean you should lead off your question with "What's the matter with (black people | paraplegics | Chinese exchange students | kids today)?"

It's not remotely equivalent. We were previously younger and less experienced; most of us are still considered goshdarn entitled kids by someone.
posted by desuetude at 9:47 PM on March 22, 2011


I was born in 1989 so I guess I'm probably around the age group the asker is asking about. I was not in any way offended. I thought it was pretty chatfilter and that way it was phrased the OP knew it was chatfilter, but I really don't see the hatefulness.

I'm sure I saw a question a few months back written by someone who was having trouble with a young person in their workplace and was asking if it was a generational issue, and nobody seemed to object to that. Maybe if they'd just stuck with the second sentence from inside the cut it would have gone better? But I for one took the preceding 'get off my lawn' bit as intended to be humorous.
posted by lwb at 10:22 PM on March 22, 2011


That doesn't mean you should lead off your question with "What's the matter with (black people | paraplegics | Chinese exchange students | kids today)?"

I don't think they're equivalent. There's a societal context of discrimination against black people/disabled people/various other minority groups that contributes to the way we find comments like that unacceptable. Youth, on the other hand, is typically glorified by modern Western culture. I think the distinction does affect the way we interpret questions like the OP's.
posted by lwb at 10:31 PM on March 22, 2011


Youth, on the other hand, is typically glorified by modern Western culture.

You don't read the papers much, do you? Most mass-media outside MTV is relentlessly focused on stories aimed at Boomers who want to hear how shit everyone under 40 is.
posted by rodgerd at 1:31 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


You don't read the papers much, do you? Most mass-media outside MTV is relentlessly focused on stories aimed at Boomers who want to hear how shit everyone under 40 is.

Well, I've never actually watched MTV, I read the papers a lot since I work at a newsagent and there's often not that much else to do, and I disagree with your statement.
posted by lwb at 3:24 AM on March 23, 2011


You don't read the papers much, do you? Most mass-media outside MTV is relentlessly focused on stories aimed at Boomers who want to hear how shit everyone under 40 is.

You don't watch MTV much, do you?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:39 AM on March 23, 2011


I was offended. And the closer I looked at the rhetoric of it, the more offended I got. It is biased towards an answer. It uses loaded, debatable phrases. It makes hidden assumptions. Intellectually, it makes a generalization leap, from personal observation + a comedy episode, to a proposition about large-scale social phenomena. It addresses one group of people to gossip about another group, when both groups are part of the Metafilter community. All of these problems in the question, a thoughtful reply would have to somehow tease apart. That, I think, is somewhat unfair (or tedious).

So, while some people above have stated that the responses were useful/insightful. But if the question was phrased in a more neutral way, and more nuanced to contemporary issues, methinks a) the number and quality of the responses would have been even higher, and b) a certain amount of metatalk drama could have been mitigated.

(I'm not offended now, though, so no worries. ponies & rabbits)
posted by polymodus at 1:28 AM on March 24, 2011


This generation born full blown from the brow of the Internet has spent literally their entire lives both surveilled and watching others. They accept this as normal.

My own opinion is that we're the first generation who have known, definitively and without question, that none of us are truly alone in the world.

It used to be that you found the few people who were similar to you somewhere within your hometown's general geographic range, and maybe when you went to college or a new or bigger city you found more people who were like you. But ultimately you had to rely on people congregating in the same place.

I grew up chatting on the local BBS so I knew there were people in my state who were like me, even if there weren't many at my school. Later it was MUDs, so that opened up the whole country. And then came the internet proper, through which I made online friends who live all over the world. When we moved to a city across the country, it was one of my online friends who first introduced us to people in the new place.

Similarly, there's no sex act, secret fetish, political proclivity, obscure diet, or any other kind of human preference or behavior that you can dream up, that doesn't have at least a small community online. Even if you keep it secret in your "real" life, you know inside yourself that there are other people like you.

Are these good things? Are we more free, or more tethered? Have cell phones removed the possibility of chance meetings from our lives? Are we dealing with so much information that it's hard to take in any? I don't really know. I don't feel that we're far enough removed from whatever contemporary stuff is happening to effectively analyze it. But I am very interested to see what's coming next.
posted by lhall at 5:52 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


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