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Confessions of a Teenage Curmudgeon
Sometimes, I can’t stand my generation.
It’s partially a result of the internet. Excessive sharing and increased accessibility of personal information prove a somewhat pessimistic saying—the more you know about a person, the less you like about them.
Take my lovely friend Anna who runs a blog on this stereotypically-adolescent website called tumblr. Have you heard of it? It’s endlessly avant-garde and inspirational and unique and oh-so-wonderful. Everything about its devoted users screams an unhealthy desperation to be profound. Sacrilege! They would probably cry in response to this article, proceed to strangle me with sepia-tinged photographs, and drown my unworthy body in the foul, to-be-avoided-at-all-costs waters of the mainstream.
But back to my friend. Until I saw the annoyingly-pretentious text posts and “hipster”-inspired photographs on Anna’s little slice of the world-wide web, I held a relatively favorable opinion of her. But it takes just so many petty complaints and unreasonable accusations to prompt a scoff and a dirty look at the offensive text. And it’s all downhill from there. It’s always downhill from there.
Almost every tumblr blog I have come across suffers from one or more of these classic ailments: narcissism, arrogance, and stubbornness. Anna posts once a week about how much she despises her parents, though really, she has no legitimate reason to feel this way. “They won’t pay for my three-hundred-dollar dress,” she says tearfully. Well, why should they? They have the power of the purse, Anna, and you’re an underage, unemployed teenager. “My parents are always yelling at me,” she moans. Don’t talk back to them, maybe, and perhaps they’ll stop. After all, they do demand and reserve the respect of the child they brought into the world and arduously raised from babyhood to adolescence. “I want to run away from here,” she claims. Do it, and I’ll guarantee you won’t last two days on your own.
There is an underlying feeling of superiority in Anna’s tone, and in the tone of most of these bloggers. A sense of unwavering righteousness. And although it’s best demonstrated on the exposed, unfiltered text posts on the web, this self-importance is by no means limited to typed and formatted characters on a bright computer screen.
It’s shocking to me how little respect the kids of today seem to think adults deserve. Just the other day, I was sitting in my French class, listening in on a conversation about the sometimes controversial teacher.
She’s a crazy –expletive– said a girl on my left. Murmurs of assent followed.
What could have provoked such outrage? you might ask.
The teacher had assigned extra homework for fear that we would fail our upcoming AP and IB tests.
It wasn’t even difficult homework, just simple exercises, and we all were in dire need of more practice. Of course, I didn’t say this out loud, because it’s much more “popular” to dislike effective teachers. Rebellion is admired, and encouraged.
On another day, I sat in on a meeting between the school staff and a group of students to discuss the issue of grinding at a recent school dance. I, for one, am opposed to the whole concept of grinding in public, and supported the administrators’ proposal to regulate and deter this behavior. The other students didn’t share my opinion.
“It’s our way of expression,” explained a well-liked senior girl, “and the school is taking away our basic freedoms if we aren’t allowed to engage in what I would call a modern type of dance.”
It is hard for me to describe the sort of exasperation I felt at these words, and at those who agreed with them. Since when did being inappropriate become ‘cool?’ Since when did it become acceptable, defendable even?
Since we decided that we, the inexperienced and naïve, know best.
Do I sound condescending? I’m sure I do. But I don’t overvalue myself and I don’t claim to always be right. And for that matter, neither should you, teens of the twenty-first century.