Playing catch-up and thinking about the next generation

Ah!  I’m finally back home, which is always the place I like best.  I’ve been trying to catch up on a week’s worth of missed political reading and am finding that it just can’t be done.  I’m starting afresh, as if the past week never happened.  I know bits and pieces, of course (the Dems are going for “Night of the Living Dead Health Care Bill”; Yoo and Bybee were cleared, appropriately, of wrongdoing in examining the applicable law on information extraction, circa 2001; Iran is on the verge of getting the bomb, unless Israel is able to save the world; the U.S. is doing well at the most boring Olympics in the history of increasingly boring Olympics; etc), but I don’t have any story neatly tucked away under my belt.  My brain is a kaleidoscope — lovely to l0ok at, I’m sure, but not much use in the way of analytics and narrative.

My promise to you, though, is that barring some unforeseen emergency, this coming week will be a blogging week.  I have work to do (last year was a slow recession year, this year is proving to be a busy recovery year), but not so much that I can read and write about my favorite topics.

I will leave you with a thought, ’cause I always love what you all do with my random ideas.  I have a theory that kids nowadays are much more boring than we were.  When I was young, I was a child of many interests.  Already back then I was a confirmed bookworm, but I didn’t just read to read.  I loved history, I collected antiques, I did Israeli folk dancing, etc.  I was a fairly interesting young person because I was an interested young person.  Nor was I unique.  My friends also had their passions — their collections and obsessions.

This current generation, though, seems to lack passion.  The kids in my house and community are uniformly nice, athletic, and good to great students.  But they are fundamentally uninteresting.  When they’re not on their relentless schedule of suburban activities, they play on the computer.  They have their iTouches, their Nintendoes, their Wiis, their X-Boxes, etc.  Even when they get together, they engage in precisely the same parallel play as toddlers, with each head bent over an individual computer screen.  The world does not interest them.  There are no hobbies, other than excelling in sports, that excite them.  Their knowledge is invariably shallow, as they learn only what is necessary to get a good grade in school, and no more.

I find what I see disheartening, but also inevitable.  I cannot turn back time and, unless I want to turn my children into social pariahs, I cannot remove them from the world of computer generated parallel play.  We’re seeing a brave new world of good, but boring and shallow children.  The real question, in the long term, is whether these children can make constructive lives.  Also, one wonders if, given their slender knowledge base and their shallow analytical abilities, they will be prey for every demagogue that comes along.  I also suspect that they’ll be much more inclined towards big government, since they are remarkably passive.

What do you think?  Am I making too much of my own little community, or am I describing a broader trend in America?