Generation Y

March 12, 2008
By Grete Karuso, Arlington, VA

Generation Y’s seeming lack of interest in today’s issues of import is something that arouses much debate between my peers and their critics. It has become popular to brand Generation Y in the west as ADHD-ridden and unable to mount a reasonable level of curiosity and commitment to matters that concern humanity, whether political, historical or cultural. I expect that these are criticisms that have been leveled at each past generation as it matured. Furthermore, my view is that attention is directly related to the quality and suitability of a communication, which, if successful, results in the engaging of its audience. Alfred Hitchcock described this idea well, albeit rhetorically, saying, “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.” Indeed, I have friends whose bladders are notorious for punctuating movies over the hundred and twenty minute mark, a practice they share with some other generations at the cinema. It is unfortunate that they are not recognized as subtle movie critics who, with a second restroom respite, can give criticism as good as Ebert and Roeper’s two thumbs down.

My movie going experience and Hitchcock’s quote make a metaphoric recommendation for all forms of communication. It is not that my peers and I do not enjoy some of the lengthier works from von Trier and Wagner; I believe that any delivery must be appropriate to an audience, respecting it with relative brevity, while maintaining the relevant style. Applied well, this conveys the elegance of scientific works, the beauty of films, the poise of drama and so on and so forth. For me, the cardinal rule is to avoid making extreme demands of an audience. Sadly, many deviate from this rule: Hugo Chavez with his long television show, people who tell interminable jokes without punch lines, and the writers of repetitive sitcoms. Bladders are sorely tested in all of these situations. While some revered communicators admonish Generation Y for its short attention span, I applaud those who take into account the limited endurance of the human bladder.

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