Respectful Insolence

Get off my lawn, you whipper-snappers!

Friday morning while doing some work in my office, I was treated to a discussion by the two hosts of a morning radio talk show. The talk was apparently prompted by a rather odd website, ihateyoungpeople.com, which asks:

We want you to create a video of yourself explaining what you hate the most about young people. It’s your chance to rant and rave and vent about the younger generation.

The most passionate and creative entries will be a part of a national cable television pilot… and all “appropriate” submissions will be posted on the I Hate Young People video sharing site

So fire up your webcam and tell us what bugs you the most about young people!

Be specific!
Be real!
And don’t hold back!!!!

The result is a bunch of videos of adults, mostly middle-aged and older, although some of them looked as though they were as young as in their 30s, kvetching about young people, including complaints about lack of manners, no respect for their elders, their sense of invulnerability, how they “don’t know anything that doesn’t come off the Internet or the TV,” and their lack of historical perspective. At least one of the videos has retorts by young people. Typical of the videos on the site is this one:


What’s really hilarious about this is that these are exactly the same complaints that adults have had about teens since time immemorial, and it occurs in societies that have never heard of the Internet. Particularly stupid is the complaint that young people “have no perspective.” Of course they don’t. They’re young. How could they? Perspective is acquired through living. If, as a typical college freshman today, you don’t remember any president before Bill Clinton or a time before CDs, DVDs, the cell phone, and the Internet, only maybe a decade or so worth, and most of those years you’re either a child or adolescent, how can you have perspective, other than what you read, which isn’t the same?

Moreover, I’m sure that none of the old people complaining on these videos ever showed disrespect to their parents or elders, right? I’m sure none of them ever made a lot of noise, played their music loud (you know, back in the 1960s), or did drugs.

I’m sure they don’t remember doing any of those things when they were young.

If I ever start sounding like any of the old farts on these videos, just shoot me. Or at least subject me to severe mockery.

Comments

  1. #1 Joe Fredette
    November 11, 2007

    Pah- I hate these kind of old people, they misrepresent their peers, as do those of my generation misrepresent me.

    I may not have perspective, but damnit- at least I try. I hate sweeping generalizations, they piss me off.

    ~~Joe

  2. #2 AttemptingReason
    November 11, 2007

    More and more, only knowing what’s on the internet is becoming less of a problem. Wikipedia, google books, reference sites like those used by universities, etc. Anyway, as a college freshman, I agree with you completely Orac :)

  3. #3 DuWayne
    November 11, 2007

    I don’t know, at thirty-one, I recently caught myself complaining about the music those damn kids listen to today. And dammit, if I had a lawn, I would be damn sure to keep those pesky kids off it!!!

  4. #4 Russell
    November 11, 2007

    For what it is worth, Joe, lots of us old farts like the young, and have every expectation that the current generation will be as quick to gain perspective as we were at the same age. Maybe quicker. I wasn’t particularly quick about it. ;-)

  5. #5 Sastra
    November 11, 2007

    Hey, what’s with the long hair hippie-freak in the video? Get a haircut! And button that shirt! What do you want to look like — a hooligan? Show some respect, Mister.

    Sheeesh. When I was a kid, someone who looked like when out in public this was a bum. These old folks today…

  6. #6 The Ridger
    November 11, 2007

    Something like this has been said many times in many languages, but this is one of my favorites:

    You see in me the Ruines of Time. The day is nearly at an end with me, and truly I am glad of it: I desire not to live in this corrupt age. I foresawe and foretold the late changes, and now easily foresee what will follow after. Alas! O’ God’s will! It was not so in Queen Elizabeth’s time: then youth bare Respect to old Age.

    — Thomas Tyndale ca 1665, quoted in Aubrey’s “Brief Lives”

  7. #7 Aaron Lemur Mintz
    November 11, 2007

    I’m only 22, and hence not exactly what one would call an ‘old’ person. However, my friends and I still complain about the damn punk kids. Not so much for their music / lack of respect, but rather because they act so boring and non-uniquely. But I think we’re just being elitist.

    On a fun side note, trying typing “Ihateyoungpeople” into google search, with or without quotes.

    Did you mean “shootingpeople”?
    Yes Google. That’s exactly what I meant.

  8. #8 SMC
    November 12, 2007

    Purely coincidentally, I was imagining how I would sound if I started ranting about “kids”: “When I was YOUR age, our game consoles ran on 8-bit processors! And the graphics were entirely based on sprites! And we were THANKFUL for it!…”

    Dang whippersnappers…

  9. #9 bcpmoon
    November 12, 2007

    Respect is something you earn and old people are just – people. I am often annoyed by the behaviour of the elderly who think they are entitled to rude behaviour because of their age. In my experience it is far more often the young who are well behaved.
    Rant over.
    No really, I am looking forward to the time when my kids will be old enough to drive (no fun for me, just necessity), care for the computer (being completely fed up with tinkering with, tuning of and crashing systems for 25 years) and introducing new music to their dads ears (despite being audiophile, I simply do not have the time for keeping up to date). Unfortunately, I will have to drive, install and listen to the same old crap for another 12 years. Oh well.

  10. #10 ChrisR
    November 12, 2007

    This reminds me of the BBC television series “Grumpy Old Men” and “Grumpy Old Women” in which various English “media personalities” of a certain vintage railed against at the youth and society of modern Britain. As in came from the BBC it was deliciously dry and featured a wonderful self depricating narration.

  11. #11 KayJo
    November 12, 2007

    You are absolutely right about the “perspective” issue. I am a high school teacher, and parents often complain that their children don’t appreciate their situation… How can they? It is all they’ve every known. It is impossible for them to adequately appreciate anything until they experience something else. Being a teen is HARD. These “old people” have lost their own perspective regarding the young. But this happens. Is there some selective pressure that has led to the adaptation of the crotchety-gene?

  12. #12 khan
    November 12, 2007

    I didn’t like children when I was one.

    And I’d like to smack the little $%^& who picks the flowers.

    They’re my flowers, on my property, and she should keep her grimy little paws to herself.

  13. #13 J. J. Ramsey
    November 12, 2007

    Why can’t they be like we were,
    Perfect in every way?
    What’s the matter with kids today?

    The more things change

  14. #14 Porlock Junior
    November 13, 2007

    Know what I hate about these kids today?
    They turn people of all other ages into such malicious blithering idiots.

    Same thing about the damn Boomers. But they’re worse: they turn older and younger people into malicious blithering idiots.

    It’s true, though, that most of the music they listen to is hideous garbage. Problem is, I remember thinking about the stuff my contemporaries listened to in the 1950s. What’s more, I was right about that. Well, a lot of it. Took years to discover how much of it was decent or good music. But this time I know I’m 100% right.

    Tyndale did well in his rant. I feel much the same way about the degenerate times (for which, obviously, the in-school or just-out generation bears pretty much no responsibility whatever). But Socrates beat us both to it. Would anybody have the cite for his rant on disrespectful youth?

    In fact, I quite liked my kids’ friends (when they were still kids, and since). And they tolerate me well enough, perhaps because there’s little threat from someone who’s a bit peculiar and practically of Grandparent generation.

    Sign me,
    War Baby, Too Old for the Boom

  15. #15 Anne
    November 14, 2007

    Thanks for the link, Orac. They have videos of young people complaining about old people too. “Never make eye contact, you’ll be stuck there for an hour” … ha HA, so true. (I’m an old person.)

  16. #16 Candy
    November 17, 2007

    Some of the clips on this site are VERY funny! “Old people smell prehistoric!”
    Surprised someone hasn’t done this kind of thing sooner.
    Thanks for sharing it!

  17. #17 Rich
    December 6, 2007

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