Monday, March 22, 2010
Actually, this World Magazine column by Janie B. Cheaney is entitled "Abetting the Clueless." Even so, I chose to title this post a bit more strongly, and when you read Ms. Cheaney's editorial, you'll see why.
Ms. Cheaney is discussing the recent death of author J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye." The book is required reading in many high schools across the country, and has been for years. To be honest, the book bored me to tears. But I think Janie is on to something in her column. I love this quote especially . . .
Why do some adults romanticize a time of life that almost no one wants to revisit? Though youth has its joys, those years might best be summed up as "Clueless in the Universe": cruelly self-aware but without perspective. Society seems equally confused about teens, allowing them to drive at 16 but not to rent a car until 23, encouraging sexual activity through entertainment and dress while discouraging it through abstinence programs, celebrating youthful alienation in literature but deploring it in the classroom. The idealization of adolescence does it no favors. Psalm 103 offers a better attitude: "As a father shows compassion to his children . . . "
Ms. Cheaney also records a line from the novel King Dork, which excoriates the "Holden Caulfield cult" among educators . . .
They're looking over your shoulder with these expectant smiles, wishing they were the ones discovering the earth-shattering joys of The Catcher in the Rye for the very first time. Too late, man. I mean, I've been around the . . . block. I've been forced to read it like three hundred times, and don't tell anyone but I think it sucks."
There is so much there to ponder if you just let yourself for a while. The damage done to our society and country -- not to mention to the next generation -- by a whole slew of 1960s liberals who have deified adolescence with all of its narcissism is incalculable.
We've just seen a sliver of it in the health care debacle this past weekend. The entitlement culture and mindset will be the eventual ruin of the United States.
We're just too adolescent to see it.