About a decade ago, one began to notice a profusion of Organization
Kids at elite college campuses. These were bright students who had been
formed by the meritocratic system placed in front of them. They had
great grades, perfect teacher recommendations, broad extracurricular
interests, admirable self-confidence and winning personalities.
they had any flaw, it was that they often had a professional and
strategic attitude toward life. They were not intellectual risk-takers.
They regarded professors as bosses to be pleased rather than
authorities to be challenged. As one admissions director told me at the
time, they were prudential rather than poetic.
Yes. Because there’s nothing more awesome than a New York Times columnist telling you that success is passé and vaguely boring, and working for it even more so. I look forward to him quitting his job to spend time painting landscapes and backpacking through Europe writing sonnets. You know, to prove he has a soul.
Driftglass pretty thoroughly eviscerates this bullshit:
As both Sullivan and Brooks damn well know, while the New Capitalism
claims to celebrate the rebel and the risk-taker, it actually destroys
them, and anyone else who can’t come to the table armed with enough
wealth, position, “private knowledge and web of social networks” to keep their shirt past the first or second spin of the wheel.
would also add that the hilarity really peaked for me in the moments of
pure, sublime, comic absurdity when Andrew Sullivan bemoaned the “private knowledge and web of social networks”
that made the Kagan nomination possible…from safely beneath the
sheltering, career-sustaining bower of his own “private knowledge and
web of social networks”…
… and David Brooks, the reigning
King of Calculatedly Hollow Beige Conservative Doublespeak, loudly
tsked-tsked the kind of critters that “a system that punishes creativity and rewards caginess” produces. )
But you know, it really does make me think how catastrophically fucked those college kids Brooks bemoans are. If they spent all their time protesting and drinking and studying philosophy, they’d be lazy privileged brats who expected the world to be handed to them, who compare poorly to hard-working children in Africa or something (maybe that’s Friedman, really … eh, six of one …). If they bust their balls and do everything right, and I mean everything, Brooks whines that they’re boring climbers and have no romance in their hearts.
Just once I would like to see a column in a major American newspaper basically stating that kids today are as bad or as good as they ever were, even with their Xboxes and their iPods, and enough with this generational generalizing because it’s generally horseshit.