Saturday, March 06, 2010

Of youth and old age

-Last night we got home well after three, in part due to the MTA neglecting to put up a sign about our train line not running. (In retrospect, this would have been the night to take a cab.) That this was the first time we got back and needed to press the special "after 1am" buzzer to get into the building makes this post ideal for the "old age" tag. Today, I'm exhausted. Note, not even hungover. Just exhausted. Had to happen eventually.

-In "Today's Generation," Phi Beta Cons addresses - what else? - the question of Young People Today. I mention this not because as blog-post titles go, this should win a predictability award, but because the post itself, in a roundabout way, blames the Amanda Knox murder on... Europe, and more specifically on government-supported university education. As though Knox were not American, and as though we didn't know about the Knox case precisely because cases like it are so unusual, in Europe or the US.

Anyway, it seems Europeans are just these decadents with no values whatsoever: "A society of languor — intellectual, moral, and financial — can be a breeding ground for evil, with dire consequences, as it was for the group of which Amanda Knox was a part." This, of all things, the message we should take from an American study-abroad participant turning violent. Sweet and innocent, a young American girl can simply turn into a murderess upon contact with those whose "higher education largely provided for free." Raise taxes, pay for college for all, and violent orgies will ensue. I mean, I'll accept that there are cases to be made for the US and European systems. But to say that one's a "breeding ground for evil," and that parents or loans covering $50k tuition somehow prevents nasty behavior, and that the mere fact of briefly studying abroad with those from the other system is enough to... Just, no.

1 comment:

CC said...

First off, I really appreciate that you read Phi Beta Cons (regularly it would seem) and are engaging some of the arguments there. That alone made my day.

In this case, I don't think they're referring to Amanda Knox herself being brainwashed, but to the Italian justice system and the court of public opinion that seemed to be biased against Americans in general. It's a bit of a stretch, to be sure, but that's both part of the appeal and the major weakness of cultural arguments: they can say as much as you want them to say, but you really can't prove anything using them. It is a very common technique for many conservative (and quite a few liberal) pundits to use though in trying to explain why the other side is fundamentally wrong.