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Old 04-18-2005, 10:57 AM   #1
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kids today: just keep getting better.

we've had a small spate of articles about "kids today" being horrible to each other and to society. while this isn't intended to minimize these incidents, it's important to take a step back and look at the big picture. David Brooks, the NYT's conservative columnist, has this to say, and it is heartening:


Public Hedonism and Private Restraint
By DAVID BROOKS

Published: April 17, 2005


You see the febrile young teens in their skintight spaghetti strap tank tops with their acres of exposed pelvic skin. You hear 50 Cent's ode to oral sex, "Candy Shop," throbbing from their iPods. You open the college newspapers and see the bawdy sex columns; at William and Mary last week I read a playful discussion of how to fondle testicles and find G spots.

You could get the impression that America's young people are leading lives of Caligulan hedonism. You could give credence to all those parental scare stories about oral sex parties at bar mitzvahs and junior high school dances. You could worry about hookups, friends with benefits, and the rampant spread of casual, transactional sexuality.

But it turns out you'd be wrong.

The fact is, sex is more explicit everywhere - on "Desperate Housewives," on booty-quaking music videos, on the Internet - except in real life. As the entertainment media have become more sex-saturated, American teenagers have become more sexually abstemious.

Teenage pregnancy rates have declined by about a third over the past 15 years. Teenage birth and abortion rates have dropped just as much.

Young people are waiting longer to have sex. The percentage of 15-year-olds who have had sex has dropped significantly. Among 13-year-olds, the percentage has dropped even more.

They are also having fewer partners. The number of high schoolers who even report having four or more sexual partners during their lives has declined by about a quarter. Half of all high school boys now say they are virgins, up from 39 percent in 1990.

Reports of an epidemic of teenage oral sex are also greatly exaggerated. There's very little evidence to suggest it is really happening. Meanwhile, teenagers' own attitudes about sex are turning more conservative. There's been a distinct rise in the number of teenagers who think casual sex is wrong. There's been an increase in the share of kids who think teenagers should wait until adulthood before getting skin to skin.

When you actually look at the intimate life of America's youth, you find this heterodoxical pattern: people can seem raunchy on the surface but are wholesome within. There are Ivy League sex columnists who don't want anybody to think they are loose. There are foul-mouthed Maxim readers terrified they will someday divorce, like their parents. Eminem hardly seems like a paragon of traditional morality, but what he's really angry about is that he comes from a broken home, and what he longs for is enough suburban bliss to raise his daughter.

In other words, American pop culture may look trashy, but America's social fabric is in the middle of an amazing moment of improvement and repair.

The first lesson in all this is we shouldn't overestimate the importance of the media. People like 50 Cent may produce hit after pornographic hit, but that doesn't mean his fans want to lead the lives he raps about. It's make-believe.

What matters is reality. The reality is that we have a generation of kids who have seen the ravages of divorce, who are more likely to respect and listen to their parents and their ministers, who are worried about sexually transmitted diseases and who don't want to mess up their careers.

Second, it's becoming clear that we are seeing the denouement of one of the longest and increasingly boring plays on Broadway, the culture war.

Since the 1830's, we've witnessed the same struggle. One camp poses as the party of responsibility, lamenting the decadence of culture and the loss of traditional morality. The other side poses as the army of liberation, lamenting Puritanism, repression and the menace of the religious right.

No doubt some people will continue these stale kabuki battles on into their graves: the 50's against the 60's, the same trumped-up outrage, the same self-congratulatory righteousness, the same fund-raising-friendly arguments again and again.

But today's young people appear not to have taken a side in this war; they've just left it behind. For them, the personal is not political. Sex isn't a battleground in a clash of moralities.

They seem happy with the frankness of the left and the wholesomeness of the right. You may not like the growing influence of religion in public life, but the lives of young people have improved. You may not like the growing acceptance of homosexuality, but as it has happened heterosexual families have grown healthier.

Just lie back and enjoy the optimism.
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:06 AM   #2
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cool
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:08 AM   #3
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However, as I said in another thread I think more needs to be done to regulate the Internet and protect children from graphic images on it, etc.
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:19 AM   #4
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I agree. I'm kinda new so I'll feel out the forum before I start ranting about how blinded todays youth is as a whole.
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:32 AM   #5
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Encouraging.




Now, if they could just pull up their pants.....
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Now, if they could just pull up their pants.....

but low-riders make it SO much easier to give 'em a good spanking ...
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Old 04-18-2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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Interesting.

And that pull up their pants comment I agree. I was downtown for easter, and this guy was wearing nothing but boxers and jeans that didn't fit him. If he had no boxers, you would be able to see his entire butt and part of his thigh. This was basically a grown man, I'd guess around 20 years of age. Not sure what the point of my rambling is.
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Old 04-18-2005, 12:53 PM   #8
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Personally, the low pants style isn't for me, but if some other kid wants to walk around like that....

Anywho, yeah-I've run into so many kids who think Britney exposes too much (heh, so there goes the worry of many people who fear Britney'll have some "bad influence" on girls...), and who think girls in rap videos expose too much and stuff.

Like I've said many times before, I do wish some adults in this country would give kids more credit in regards to all this stuff.

Angela
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:16 PM   #9
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Hrm. I don't know, they're all still little shits to me.

Ant.
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:31 PM   #10
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I hope that's all true
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:03 PM   #11
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and because i want to stir the pot a bit, here's what andrew sullivan -- conservative, british, gay, DC resident, and perhaps the most maddening gay thinker out there -- had to say about the article:



David Brooks, in another smart column, points out that from the beginning of the 1990s, we have seen a sharp decline in all sorts of anti-social behavior: crime, abortion rates, teen pregnancy, and so on. At the same time, the last fifteen years have been marked by the high watermark of gay visibility and activism. If the assumptions of many social conservatives are true - that there is a direct relationship between culture and society, and that gay visibility is a sign of moral decline - then none of this should have happened. But it did. In fact, I think the two phenomena are linked. At the same time that teen pregnancies and abortion rates were falling, the gay rights movement moved toward the goals of social responsibility, i.e. the right to serve one's country and the right to marry the person you love, with all the responsibility that entails. If any other formerly liberal minority group had embraced those goals, conservatives would have rejoiced. But gays cannot win. If we embrace counter-cultural leftism, we are a threat to society and the family. If we embrace conservative social values, like marriage and military service, we are a threat to society and the family. The bottom line social policy toward gay people embraced by social conservatives is that gay people simply shouldn't exist. And if they do exist, society has to pretend they don't. When was the last time you read an essay in, say, the Weekly Standard or National Review, making a case for how gays actually should fit in to society? Or how gay culture could be improved? David Brooks is one of those conservatives who actually asks himself what a sane conservative social policy should be toward homosexual citizens and family members. (The obvious, glaring, simple answer is: encourage stable relationships.) That's why Brooks is a real conservative. And why those who want simply no social policy toward gays - except a vague disdain and loathing - are better understood as reactionaries and soft bigots rather than as actual conservatives.
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony
Hrm. I don't know, they're all still little shits to me.
All of them? Are you sure?

I've seen kids who act responsibly, and I've seen some that do not.
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
and because i want to stir the pot a bit, here's what andrew sullivan -- conservative, british, gay, DC resident, and perhaps the most maddening gay thinker out there -- had to say about the article:



David Brooks, in another smart column, points out that from the beginning of the 1990s, we have seen a sharp decline in all sorts of anti-social behavior: crime, abortion rates, teen pregnancy, and so on. At the same time, the last fifteen years have been marked by the high watermark of gay visibility and activism. If the assumptions of many social conservatives are true - that there is a direct relationship between culture and society, and that gay visibility is a sign of moral decline - then none of this should have happened. But it did. In fact, I think the two phenomena are linked. At the same time that teen pregnancies and abortion rates were falling, the gay rights movement moved toward the goals of social responsibility, i.e. the right to serve one's country and the right to marry the person you love, with all the responsibility that entails. If any other formerly liberal minority group had embraced those goals, conservatives would have rejoiced. But gays cannot win. If we embrace counter-cultural leftism, we are a threat to society and the family. If we embrace conservative social values, like marriage and military service, we are a threat to society and the family. The bottom line social policy toward gay people embraced by social conservatives is that gay people simply shouldn't exist. And if they do exist, society has to pretend they don't. When was the last time you read an essay in, say, the Weekly Standard or National Review, making a case for how gays actually should fit in to society? Or how gay culture could be improved? David Brooks is one of those conservatives who actually asks himself what a sane conservative social policy should be toward homosexual citizens and family members. (The obvious, glaring, simple answer is: encourage stable relationships.) That's why Brooks is a real conservative. And why those who want simply no social policy toward gays - except a vague disdain and loathing - are better understood as reactionaries and soft bigots rather than as actual conservatives.
Sully hits the mark yet again.
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:30 PM   #14
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That article was refreshing to read.
There would always be "those other kids", and I guess the things they're doing now has always happened, only now its out in the open.
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Old 04-18-2005, 05:37 PM   #15
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finally something positive about my generation! thanks irvine

i want to ask some people not to make sweeping generalizations about "kids today" since i am in fact on of those "kids".
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