The Case Against Generation Y: Exhibit #1123
by Jamison Koehler on February 23, 2011
Contrarian that I am, I wish I could take this opportunity to leap to the defense of this generation of young Americans – the Generation Yers — who have been the subject of much ridicule in the blawgosphere. I could note how unfair it is to criticize an entire generation of people based on the foibles of a few. I could point out that such labeling is not only personally offensive, it is also entirely unjustified.
Sadly, I am not able to summon my normal level of sanctimony and self-righteousness in this case; the young woman in this video displays the very naivete, self-absorption, laziness and sense of entitlement that people have been complaining about with respect to this generation.
The proposed list of rights combines the trivial with, well, the trivial. My favorite “right” is the one that guarantees that students “shall not be expected to know material that was not covered in the assigned reason for that day’s class, nor covered in any of the lectures and/or assigned readings prior to that day’s class.” This sounds a whole like the question teachers have been dreading since the days Socrates walked the earth: Will we be required to know this for the exam?
Right #11 provides that “[n]o student shall be responsible for, in any graded assignment, material covered before or after the class’s scheduled meetingtime unless a majority of the students agree to elongate the class.” In other words, the professor can’t start the class a few minutes early. Nor can the professor say anything meaningful when lecturing a few minutes over the allotted class time.
As Gamso puts it, this “is about entitlement to ignorance. It’s all about the rest, don’t you know. Don’t make me know anything you won’t test. Don’t test anything you haven’t made me know.”
Read in its entirety, the proposed Bill of Rights strikes me as having the same level of sophistication as the protest a 5th grader organized against our school cafeteria when I was in grade school. It reminds me of the “report cards” our children once decided to give my wife and me when they were young, evaluating us, among other things, on our permissiveness and our cooking and cleaning skills.
Looking on the bright side, publication of the list did give Gamso the excuse to re-focus our attention on the real Bill of Rights. You can never post that thing too many times. Nor can you ever trivialize it through sorry imitation. It is also conceivable that the young woman is not a self-entitled slacker but a fantastic actress, and all of this is really a clever Generation Y hoax designed to embarrass the rest of us. In that case, the joke would truly be on us.