The dumbass generation

Blame baby boomers

Hannah Strom-Martin is a California-based freelance writer.

In a recent Boston Globe article, Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future, declares that everyone under 30 is, essentially, a loser. Considering America’s number of high-school dropouts, dismal voter turnout and banal pop-culture fetishes, his premise is hard to deny. What Bauerlein fails to take into account, however, is that the stupidity of the younger generation is entirely his fault.

Generation Y has its share of mindlessness. One has only to witness the flocks of iPod zombies: blank, void, listening to the Killers. Yeah. We suck.

But when compared to the selfish immorality of our parents’ generation, our sins pale. We may have an unsettling addiction to Grand Theft Auto, but is that really any worse than the generation who brought us global warming and George W. Bush? Here are a few reasons to absolve Gen Y of our “sins”:

We’re “Generation Debt.” Although Bauerlein crows that “83 percent of college students have a credit card,” he doesn’t mention that this is not a good thing. Credit card companies exist solely to exsanguinate the bank accounts of every man, woman and child they can snare. Congress occasionally tries to stop the 30 percent interest insanity, but since boomers also run Congress, Gen Y is too busy trying to barista itself out of debt to make any meaningful contribution.

We’re “latchkey kids.” Yes, Gen Y watches too much television. But remember the ’80s, also known as “that time when your entire generation was too busy snorting coke and partying to Genesis to raise their children”? Where did our TV addiction come from? Three guesses, genius.

We’d totally go to college—if you’d stop making it impossible. What’s the national debt right now? I don’t know, because its existence (your fault!) has compelled Gov. Schwarzenegger to cut school funding and raise college tuition. And don’t even get me started on the usurious practices of the student-loan people.

You destroyed the world. Do I even need to list the egregious social, economic and environmental crimes of your generation? Start with global warming, Iraq and Social Security. Faced with such gross incompetence, why shouldn’t we avoid the “adult realities” Bauerlein prattles on about? Dude, your reality is worse than Tila Tequila’s.

Stupidity is an American pastime: This, of course, is also your fault. No one who overworks themselves the way Americans do, subsisting on fast-food, taking a piddling two weeks of vacation per year and mistaking plasma TV for “quality of life” can possibly be deemed “intelligent.” Suicidal? Yes. Intelligent? Ha!

I’ll bet the money I’m paying towards Bauerlein’s Social Security that behind every intellectually challenged 20-something is a corpulent ex-coke fiend too busy watching Oprah to give a shit about their kid. Sorry, Mark, but stupidity, like moral values (or lack thereof), is contagious.

If you think the sins of your generation exist in some sort of vacuum, you’re a bigger dumbass than the creators of Grand Theft Auto.