Skip to comments.Meet Generation N
Posted on 01/23/2013 12:12:37 AM PST by Kaslin
As Barack Obama thrilled his supporters on Monday with his clarion call to action for the poor and the oppressed, young people across the country -- though in numbers somewhat smaller than were enthralled by their leader's words four years ago -- nodded in agreement. For this was about them, and Obamas speech told them once again how great they are. Obama spoke to the "N Generation," those millions who, because they are the beneficiaries of the miracles of internet technology and instant, worldwide communications, believe firmly they know all and are entitled to everything; as the old song by Queen shouted, "[they] want it all and [they] want it now."
Academic studies reveal this pervasive narcissism clearly.
Hundreds of colleges across the nation administer the CIRP Freshman Survey (TFS) each year to their incoming students. Hundreds of thousands of young adults take this survey, which covers a wide range of demographic and psychographic topics. San Diego State University psychology professor Dr. Jean M. Twenge and her team studied these results, and recently released a report painting a disturbing picture of Americas young adults.
Todays young youth are more narcissistic than ever. This generation is more likely to find role models in vapid Hollywood tabloid starlets like Kim Kardashian than revolutionary business leaders such as the late Steve Jobs, who gave them the iPhones that are now glued to their hands, or Marc Andreessen, whose prescience and skill launched Mosaic, the world's first graphical web browser less than one generation ago.
These young people live on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; public stages in which they are the stars, demanding absolute and immediate attention from their peers. Self-worth is measured in "Likes" and "retweets;" what was had for breakfast becomes breaking news. Heaven forbid if someone ever "unfriends" them.
Of course, they are not completely to blame. Parents and adults share responsibility for creating this monster. For decades, parents were told by so-called parenting experts that offspring would be best raised on the belief each is special and entitled to all life has to offer. Now, trophies are awarded to every child on the team or in the class so no child's self-esteem is bruised by virtue of being "left out;" letter grades from "A" to "F" give way to vague and slippery narratives. We encourage every teenager to pursue their passion in college -- something to which they are "entitled" -- regardless of the marketable value of the skills they gain after many tens of thousands of dollars spent on that education.
And now, we simply have what we have. What's really become prevalent over the last two decades is the idea that being highly self-confident - loving yourself, believing in yourself - is the key to success, Twenge told BBC News in an interview. Now the interesting thing about that belief is it's widely held, it's very deeply held, and it's also untrue.
When the curtain is pulled back, the result is not pretty. But, the damage is already done; and because they lack any ability to self-assess, members of the vast N Generation cannot possibly fathom the reality that failure to meet personal goals is their fault. Their consuming sense of entitlement, a byproduct of deeply ingrained narcissism, causes them to lash out at the imaginary phantoms that obstructed them from the success to which they had a right.
It is this delusion of entitlement that served as the catalyst for the recent "Occupy" movement. Participants demanded jobs from the corporatists who "destroyed" the entitlement economy. They demanded (and continue to demand) student loan debt forgiveness from the federal government because suddenly they cannot find employment fulfilling their need to shoot to the top of the business ladder, despite having double-masters in English literature and art history. They blamed capitalists for corporate greed while posting updates from their $500 phone, all while shooing bums away from their tent city.
We see the hypocrisy. They are blind to it.
However, there is another side to this delusion. It is the side that begets desperation, depression, and violence. According to Twenge, since the 1960s and 1970s, when those expectations started to grow, there's been an increase in anxiety and depression. And, this anxiety and depression is unchecked by normal behavioral restraints. Narcissists dont empathize, or understand the needs and feelings of others. They are only concerned with themselves, and how they feel in the moment.
This leads to unpredictable conclusions when reality comes crashing in. These people are more likely to resort to violence when trapped against a wall; something that may very well help explain the uptick in mass murder among young, white males over the last few decades. They vent their frustration with society by shooting up theaters and classrooms, unable to fully comprehend the evil of their actions.
It is not only isolated incidents of violence. The 2011 riots in England, which left five dead and caused more than $300 million in property damage, were fueled by a generation of young Brits who grew up without ever hearing the word "No." They are essentially wild beasts, British journalist Max Hastings wrote after the riots. They are products of a culture which gives them so much unconditionally that they are let off learning how to become human beings.
America is heading down the same path as the U.K. and, unless somehow checked, it is only a matter time before the small outbursts of violence among the various youth protest movements spark a fire that will prove extremely difficult if not impossible to extinguish.
While not denying the thrust of the article's arguments, isn't every generation a bit like this?
The good thing about those suffering from being too young is that they will eventually grow out of it! Experience is the cure. The basic facts of life are Conservative.
“As Barack Obama thrilled his supporters on Monday with his clarion call to action for the poor and the oppressed...”
Yeah, the poor of the trade unions and the oppressed of the nation’s failing green energy companies.
What a load of horse sh*t.
For anyone who, to any degree at all, places a premium on truth and honesty (and admittedly there are very few these days), the next four years are going to be h*ll on Earth.
Queen might have done a cover of it - but that was a DOORS song - “When the Music's Over”, and they all shouted it. With Jim screaming “NOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!.
Jim Morrison provided my tagline. (Adapted from “Five to One”)
And agreed. Every youthful generation is selfish and rebellious as a whole.
The beginning of the end. One of them will eventually be in the White House ......
Yes, constant repetition of the phrase "do you want fries with that?" is a powerful motivator.
“The good thing about those suffering from being too young is that they will eventually grow out of it!”
While America’s young people today are a depressing mystery (mostly due to their post-Christianity views), I don’t envy them the position they are in. While my generation foolishly attempted to keep the standard of living enjoyed by our parents with debt (I’m just past 40), these younger people have no access to either credit or worthwhile jobs. The borrowing they would need to attend school is very risky considering the “global” job market and open borders, and the schools cost a lot more anyway.
The worst-hit segments have to be the white guys who can’t be hired because they’re white and the token minorities who have been cut loose by companies that no longer have the extra dough to maintain the affirmative action charade; the latter has never had anyone be honest with them, but now the money’s gone (and so are their prospects for another job). The former simply “acts up” by shooting people.
“Yes, constant repetition of the phrase “do you want fries with that?” is a powerful motivator.”
Well put; these young people are screwed and they know it. I remember when Occupy Wall Street first started (before Obama tried to paint himself as their leader); they were as anti-Obama as they were anti-Bush (seeing the same bleak future in both). A friend of mine in his mid-40s (married with 3 kids) was happy to just get a “new normal” job; he works for crappy pay in a soup kitchen giving away food for free to Obama voters. Qualifies for food stamps, but now he has health insurance.
Although I do consider this to be the "N Administration". Just sayin'
I agree. When people post that they're worried about how hard life will be for their children, I think of my houseful of "entitled," self-absorbed drones and think, "Bring it on."
Nope, he is talking about the Queen song “I Want It All”.
I thought they were generation “U”.
Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.
“these young people are screwed and they know it.”
I actually don’t think they do know it, not yet. Facebook and i-phones are still available and these, in my opinion, drive the apparent “narcissism” that we all see. The self-absorption is technology-enabled but probably short-lived.
Unfortunately, Facebook/Iphones will have wasted countless billions of hours of youth that could have been more productively invested as previous generations did, but not every kid fell prey to this pathology.
When they can’t replace their iphones and can’t afford internet access (and get kicked out of starbucks) then it will start to dawn on them that they are screwed.
On the other hand they will be forced into intergenerational households (if they are lucky) and that may help them in the long run.
Mediocrity is a slow process full of the distractions that are abundant today. Those that must will adjust to it. There are plenty of bright kids in the so-called Gen-N. They won’t be able to work hard enough to perpetuate the things that allowed their generation to lie fallow.
I think that with a debt default, and a reset of expectations on what government can do , things could be looking up for these kids, provided they can contribute some form of industry and effort to the cause.
I knew that quote would appear...
This was written in a time when Athens was in decay from war and long decadence. It was a society in collapse with youth gangs forming and vandalizing the city. It is not proof of anything.
A hundred years ago what responsibility was expected of a 16-year old? And what is expected today? Things do actually change and today’s youth are vain and spoiled in ways that most earlier generations were not.
Don’t use the “N” word. It’s rude.
I think the N stands for Necrophilia, the sexual attraction to corpses.
It would explain all the zombie, vampire and sex shows on TV.
If only I could live long enough to see the end of slapping stupid names on “generations.” Gack!!
I have a dream that I will never read “The Audacity of (Object)” or any term with the suffix “-gate.”
Yes, but the article author does have a point too. There is something more insidious and all-encompassing about the current generation's self-preoccupation. Possibly the credit and the technology make self-absorbtion more cosseting.
I think Jim Morrison hit the nail on the head with “LA Woman” too...
No I don’t envy them their position either, all the more so as it’s really not their fault. I know it’s traditional for each generation to blame the previous one for all of the world’s problems, but in the case of teenagers of today, and even the twenty-somethings of today, I think they have a genuine beef, because of what you said. We can hardly complain that they are self-absorbed, if we (the previous generation) did not teach them to love others. We can hardly complain they are ill-disciplined if we never disciplined them. We can’t even blame them for leaning left, as it is us who have allowed the statists, secularists and disparagers of Capitalism and the American way to dominate Education and the media.
Well spoken. Especially the last part. You may be a bright point of your age group. I have not worked with many that are.
I’m witnessing one of my supervisors trying to teach an affirmative action candidate of a client about beam deflection. She is completely lost and he does not understand why because he assumes she was both taught and learned something in school. She apparently didn’t learn much about mechanical engineering or beam deflection either.
At another client of ours the manager finally came clean to say that they just do what they can. Most of the people are there because it is required. 20 to 30% of the people do the work in spite of the others who are hopefully just merely in the way. Being in the way is the best you can hope for. Heaven help us if they actually become assertive and try to do something then you have to undo what is wrong or they present an even bigger barrier. They hire we conslutants because we have no restraints but money and job satisfaction to get the best in our skill sets. So far we have escaped the attention of affirmative action since we are and will remain too small.
I’ll take my young man to lunch soon and throw him a line for his frustration.
“I actually dont think they do know it, not yet.”
I don’t see how they wouldn’t know it; I can’t believe the number of young 20-somethings that don’t have a car (even a used one), that have to shack up with roommates (or stay in their parents’ homes), and work part-time.
It is frightening; because this is a long-term phenomenon, Dems are racing to replace their young white voters with brown ones as quickly as possible. They were successful in 2012 because the demographic race had already been lost to Hispanics; we’ve been importing them for decades while we wouldn’t breed.
Well said; at some point they have to “man up”, but older people made them what they are.
We had a big bank come to solicit my company’s business, and it was two older white gentlemen accompanied by a young black fellow (who would be the rep on our account; I guess the other 2 were “mentors”). Every time I asked the young man about different services we were using at other banks, the other two would chime in with the answers; I was asking the young man because they specifically had said he would work with our account. After an hour and a half I thanked them for their interest, showed them the door, and tossed the business cards in the garbage. It was such a waste of my time (and the young man’s as well); they weren’t doing him any favors.
Teach him about the products, then accompany him on sales calls.
The affirmative action students I ran into at a state school were even worse off; they were wasting time and money taking classes that white guys wouldn’t have even been accepted without (”remedial classes”), and as freshmen they knew very quickly they were years behind the other students (including African students, who were on average at least as bright as most of the white kids, and usually more motivated). The token students rarely finished the first semester, never mind the first year.