The Myth of the Lazy Youth

As we have seen time and time again, one of the challenges of modern myths is their relative invisibility. It is the outsiders of any age, those who are alien to their own times, that make the best artist shamans, and the same goes for mythic explorers. If you are too close to a culture, you will very frequently mistake the truisms of culture, the myths, as a fact. This is true with “human nature” (as we have seen), and it is also true with our myths of labor and work.

Let’s consider the example presented when one generation judges another,

“Twenge and Kasser analyzed data from the Monitoring the Future survey, which has tracked the views of a representative sample of 17- and 18-year-old Americans since 1976. They compared the answers to key questions given by high school seniors in 2005-2007 to those provided by previous generations.

To measure materialism, the youngsters were asked to rate on a one-to-four (“not important” to “extremely important”) scale how vital they felt it was to own certain expensive items: “a new car every two to three years,” “a house of my own (instead of an apartment or condominium),” “a vacation house,” and “a motor-powered recreational vehicle.” They were also asked straightforwardly how important they felt it was to “have a lot of money.”

To measure their attitudes toward work, the seniors rated on a one-to-five scale the extent to which they agreed with a series of statements, including “I expect my work to be a very central part of my life,” and “I want to do my best in my job, even if this sometimes means working overtime.”

The researchers found a couple of disturbing trends. …”

(Salon.com.)

It isn’t particularly difficult to smell the distinct scent of bullshit in this article. This is the same gripe the elder generation has had since time began about the younger generations: they are lazy, they dress funny, they aren’t concerned with the same things, they represent the end of ‘the old ways,’ and so on.

Full article on Modern Mythology.

 

, , ,

  • Simon Valentine

    and you’ll see them
    laughing all the way to a culmination of worthless efforts
    strutting the disease all the way to sovereign religion
    performing debauchery like the fly metamorphosis cycle they are
    they are feasting on their own shit
    own doesn’t mean what anyone thought it did
    isn’t binary
    doesn’t exist
    isn’t much more or less than a hypnotist show
    as people pool like so many waters
    seeking the math to alter vision of what math they are
    trying to learn the language to talk like a programmer would
    on the outside of the universe
    Mr. Hologram
    Deadpool
    shouting
    YOU REQUIRE MORE VESPENE GAS
    all are equal
    for each is equally stupid, insignificant, worthless shit

    • Jamie Lee

      Jesus Mary and Joseph I want to be what you’re on.

      • Simon Valentine

        the right only has one thing right
        that even wrong Must be done Rite
        the wrong?
        that’s where all the learning is ;)

  • Anarchy Pony

    I dunno if I’d describe anyone I know in my generation lazy, they all work fairly hard at whatever they do. Some of them are more proactive than others, but none are really lazy.

    • mannyfurious

      I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 28 and I’m lazy as fuck. And I’m not even the laziest person I know.

      It’s not a generational thing, though. I tend to believe most people are lazy.

      • Anarchy Pony

        Well it could just be my particular peer group. And sure everyone can be lazy at times. But my experience is that it’s not anyone’s defining characteristic.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Its a rigged game.

  • InfvoCuernos

    but their music does suck.

    • Trevor Smith

      I don’t really understand people who have this view that back in the olden days the music was all around way better. It was in some ways, and i love a shitload of it…

      But are you only aware of the *mainstream* music these days or something? Because thats just the tip of the ice berg my friend. And yes, i agree it does suck beyond belief.

      However there is an awful lot of mind blowing music that has come out within the last ten years.

      • The Well Dressed Man

        Grumpy old former music fanatic wants to know about this mind blowing music from recent years.

        • flipdog

          Oneida
          White Hills
          Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat
          Six Organs of Admittance / Comets on Fire
          Electric Moon
          Headdress
          Valerio Cosi
          Lungfish (although they made amazing music pre-ten years ago too)
          Screaming Females
          Carlton Melton
          William Parker
          The Heads
          Pontiak
          and of course,One Dog Clapping ;)

          there are many, many more, but I’m at work and have a poor brain.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Thanks, I know nothing of these acts. Only worthwhile new thing I’ve heard is Beak. Great live show and recordings.

        • Trevor Smith

          I’ve only heard a few of flipdog’s suggestions to be honest. The thing is, there is so many different kinds of music these days that its hard to narrow it down to a list because everyone has different tastes…heres some i love:

          Beats antique
          bluetech (evan marc)
          tool

          a perfect circle

          younger brother

          kaya project

          shpongle
          shulman
          anrocell
          phish
          tipper
          ewan dobson
          dirtwire
          andy mckee
          dopapod
          omar rodriquez lopez
          john frusciante
          lotus (their old stuff)
          ozric tentacles
          ott
          amon tobin
          carbon based life forms

          Thats all I can think of at the moment…I should note that some of it i hated until i heard it while deep into the psychedelic space. Our left brain doesn’t tend to allow us to enjoy stuff thats too far outside its comfort zone…unless we’re getting a fresh perspective and bypassing its filter of reality.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Thanks for the list. The only stuff I recognize is from the 90s or before. Ozric has been active since the 80s! I’m really anti-Tool, but ~90% of my music-world friends are into them.

          • Trevor Smith

            Yea ozric just broke up i heard. They put out a nice album a year or two ago though. I forgot they have been around since the 80′s, i figured it was 90′s.

            Tool is mind fuckingly amazing live.

  • Bobananda Das

    being uninspired to be the shiniest cog in the system isn’t the same as lazy, and points to an evolution of culture that I see as very positive. what will the world look like when everyone is so insightful that they are no longer defined by their job, no longer chase infinite carrots or jump through endless hoops? idk, but I hope that’s where we’re heading.

    • smooth_operator

      Amen, brother. I think this line of thought all the time.

  • Tripp

    This situation is a circular problem. It comes down to the fact college students after graduating end up in minimum wage jobs or factories.These people who graduate should be attempting positions in their field but can not due to people who would have retired are opting to continue working since they can not afford to live on social security alone. So this leaves the 17/18 year olds jobs at mcdonalds and walmart. We’re not lazy it’s a matter of not wanting to waste our time in places that are horrible to work at and pay crap wages. Alas the baby boomers wanna call us lazy? WELL YOU WE’RE THE ONES WHO RAISED US TO BE THAT WAY. If you want to look for the culprits of this problem then you need to look in a mirror.

  • Gordon

    What a surprise–we were raised in an age of rampant materialism, and turned out materialistic!

    The economic picture explains this “cultural gap” perfectly–all the wealth has been concentrated at the top, leaving the middle class to take the lower class’ jobs, and the lower class to devour itself through crime and drug use.

    Those of us with an education and a brain recognize the empty promise of American capitalism, and have no desire to become wage slaves, so we look for ways to survive on the margins, living lives with happiness and freedom, I guess which makes me “lazy.”

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I was going to leave a longer comment but i am too lazy….

  • Juan

    Grumpy old man (me) emerges from his front door in rumpled bath robe and slippers, looks around, shakes fist and shouts, “Damn you kids! Get a job you nerdowells!”

  • Simon Valentine

    meet the wanna-be programmers
    they call them ancestors

    if an orange with 2 ounces of juice is squeezed they’ll expect 3 ounces of juice and laugh at the damage because it tastes like damage

    kall it philocophy
    I don’t give a damn
    People say shit
    Thing is
    This stupid growth and life idea
    This dumbass expansion
    Is people expecting to fit 101 pigeons into 100 holes in 1 to 1 correspondence
    It’s people saying that the only number there is never stops
    Because it takes one to know one
    And that therefore someone else is wrong
    And they’ll have the first and the last word

    quarantine procedure for procedural development
    how to deal with not dealing with the unexpected ex-spect-a-tor

    • Simon Valentine

      ^mushrooms^
      eat the mushrooms.
      Native Solo Style

  • The Well Dressed Man

    My perception is that it’s not so much laziness, as a lack of understanding of what actually constitutes work. In the workplace, and now back at school, I’ve spent a lot of time around kids half my age. My impression is, as a group, they’re bright and confident. I see a generation of networkers, self-promoters, and maybe even idealists. Good skills for the current state of things I suppose. It’s funny though, in my engineering design class last semester, they were mortified by the idea of actually having to build something. “But we have equations for that!” was the perennial complaint. They run circles around me in calculus and computer science, but I demolish them in physics and chem.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    There is absolutely no reason at all for anyone to work more than 15 hours per week. Technology has made labor thousands of times more productive than it ever had been for even relatively recent ancestors (say 17th century).

    Just admit it and get on with your life: you like working extra to make other people wealthier than yourself.

    • Hadrian999

      people work more to stay afloat. The one truth of life is that you can have whatever you can take but it’s only yours until someone can take it from you. people work more because the alternative for most of them is ruin. the people on top can make us work more because the working class is always willing to stab each other in the back for scraps.

21