Matt Labash writes: As we celebrate this Christmas season (or this “holiday,” for Christ-haters), I don’t wish to be a killjoy to the world. But reflecting on the year gone by, it’s hard not to notice that we have lost a few of our favorite things: Tom Petty, political moderation, our dignity.
And yet, as we’ve hunkered down throughout 2017 to weather every storm from Hurricane Harvey (the tropical cyclone that nearly destroyed Houston) to Hurricane Harvey (the film producer/sex-criminal who has all but destroyed famous men), there seems to be another death that has barely registered—that of the open-bar office Christmas party.
It is a time-honored tradition, and in Dilbert-ified America most cubicle monkeys know the drill: Don your smart-yet-festive sweater vest. Show up to your company’s voluntary holiday gathering, where absences are informally noted by supervisors who will passive-aggressively punish the missing come January. Pretend you enjoy socializing with colleagues that you wouldn’t invite over to your house on a dare. All while drinking until your liver cries uncle, or until Jones from purchasing miraculously transforms into a sparkling conversationalist.
But the already-ailing patient might have died on the table last week, when news broke that Vox Media, after an internal sexual-harassment scandal that saw editorial director Lockhart Steele get fired, announced of their holiday party in a staff memo: “At the request of many of you, we will ramp up the food and cut down on the drinks.” According to accuser Eden Rohatensky’s Medium post, after an apparent drinking bout, the man eventually revealed as Steele caressed her hand and kissed the back of her neck in an Uber.
Vox Media, in case you don’t read the Internet, is, as they put it with characteristic modesty, “a prestigious modern media company . . . [that is] shaping the future of journalism and entertainment.”
The parent company’s myriad media outlets—or “brands,” as modern media companies now insist on calling themselves—include everything from tech-news site the Verge to foodie site Eater to the flagship itself, Vox.Read the rest of this entry »
… According to the latest survey from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a D.C.-based nonprofit, one in two U.S. millennials say they would rather live in a socialist or communist country than a capitalist democracy.
What’s more, 22% of them have a favorable view of Karl Marx and a surprising number see Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un as “heroes.”
Really, that’s what the numbers show.
“Millennials now make up the largest generation in America, and we’re seeing some deeply worrisome trends,” said Marion Smith, executive director of the organization. “Millennials are increasingly turning away from capitalism and toward socialism and even communism as a viable alternative.”
I’m going to take half of Chloe’s candy tonight & give it to some kid who sat at home. It’s never to early to teach her about socialism. pic.twitter.com/3ie9C0jv2G
The survey, which was conducted by research and data firm YouGov, found that millennials are the least knowledgable generation on the subject, with 71% failing to identify the proper definition of communism.
Smith explained that this “troubling turn” highlights pervasive historical illiteracy across the country and “the systemic failure of our education system to teach students about the genocide, destruction, and misery caused by communism since the Bolshevik Revolution one hundred years ago.” Read the rest of this entry »
It appears that the “Golden Age of Cinema” has lost its sheen to the young over the years, as millennials are turning their back on classic movies.
A new study finds that less than a quarter of millennials have watched a film from start to finish that was made back in the 1940s or 50s and only a third have seen one from the 1960s.
Thirty percent of young people also admit to never having watched a black and white film all the way through – as opposed to 85 percent of those over 50 – with 20 percent branding the films “boring.”
Top 10 most common movies millennials have seen
“The Lion King” 81.60 percent
“Forrest Gump” 74.60 percent
“Back to the Future” 66.80 percent
“The Dark Knight” 66.50 percent
“The Matrix” 63.20 percent
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” 60.90 percent
“Terminator 2: Judgement Day” 59.20 percent
“The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” 59 percent
“The Silence of the Lambs” 54.90 percent
“The Godfather” 55 percent
Top 10 most common movies over-50’s have seen
“Forrest Gump” 84.30 percent
“Back to the Future” 80 percent
“The Silence of the Lambs” 71 percent
“It’s a Wonderful Life” 70.50 percent
“The Godfather” 69.90 percent
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” 69.30 percent
“Saving Private Ryan” 68.30 percent
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” 66.40 percent
“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” 65.90 percent
“The Green Mile 65.60 percent
A new survey polling 1,000 millennials and 1,000 Americans over the age of 50 conducted by FYE.com, reveals that looking back into the history of cinema isn’t the preference of youth today, with millennials exponentially more likely to have binged on films of the last 15 years than on classics from bygone eras.
Less than half of millennials have seen the likes of “Gone with the Wind,” “The Sound of Music,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” or even “The Shawshank Redemption” — rated the greatest film of all time on IMDB.
Only 28 percent have seen “Casablanca,” 16 percent have watched “Once Upon a Time in the West” and only a measly 12 percent have seen the Hitchcock classic “Rear Window” – though the director’s “Psycho” fares moderately better at a rate of 38 percent.
On the other side of things, some over-50s appear to have the tendency to stick to their old classics and ignore new cinema altogether with one in ten admitting they aren’t sure if they have seen a film newer than 2010 – and eight percent straight up saying no, they have not. Read the rest of this entry »
More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.
Jean M. Twenge writes: One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.
”Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”
I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys. Then I began studying Athena’s generation.
Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.
“The allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations, holds less sway over today’s teens.”
At first I presumed these might be blips, but the trends persisted, across several years and a series of national surveys. The changes weren’t just in degree, but in kind. The biggest difference between the Millennials and their predecessors was in how they viewed the world; teens today differ from the Millennials not just in their views but in how they spend their time. The experiences they have every day are radically different from those of the generation that came of age just a few years before them.
What happened in 2012 to cause such dramatic shifts in behavior? It was after the Great Recession, which officially lasted from 2007 to 2009 and had a starker effect on Millennials trying to find a place in a sputtering economy. But it was exactly the moment when the proportion of Americans who owned a smartphone surpassed 50 percent.
The more I pored over yearly surveys of teen attitudes and behaviors, and the more I talked with young people like Athena, the clearer it became that theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and by the concomitant rise of social media. I call them iGen. Born between 1995 and 2012, members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet. The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night. iGen’s oldest members were early adolescents when the iPhone was introduced, in 2007, and high-school students when the iPad entered the scene, in 2010. A 2017 survey of more than 5,000 American teens found that three out of four owned an iPhone.
The advent of the smartphone and its cousin the tablet was followed quickly by hand-wringing about the deleterious effects of “screen time.” But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.
To those of us who fondly recall a more analog adolescence, this may seem foreign and troubling. The aim of generational study, however, is not to succumb to nostalgia for the way things used to be; it’s to understand how they are now. Some generational changes are positive, some are negative, and many are both. More comfortable in their bedrooms than in a car or at a party, today’s teens are physically safer than teens have ever been. They’re markedly less likely to get into a car accident and, having less of a taste for alcohol than their predecessors, are less susceptible to drinking’s attendant ills.
Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.Even when a seismic event—a war, a technological leap, a free concert in the mud—plays an outsize role in shaping a group of young people, no single factor ever defines a generation. Parenting styles continue to change, as do school curricula and culture, and these things matter. But the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy. Read the rest of this entry »
A group of protesters hold signs before a women’s march during the first full day of Donald Trump’s presidency in San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
The trend is real.
Ewan Morrison writes: If you were to come across someone who cried in the streets, who saw the world in terms of black and white and made death threats against strangers, who cowered in a special room and made public displays of naked self-harm and blood letting, you might conclude that they were suffering from a personality disorder.
All these symptoms can be found in the High Conflict Personality Disorder category known as Axis II in DSMV, including Anti-Social PD, Histrionic PD, Paranoid PD, Narcissistic PD, and Borderline PD.
Alternatively, you might reason that these are the everyday behaviors of the modern Social Justice Warrior (SJW).
Of course, not every SJW has a personality condition, but sufferers from High Conflict disorders are often drawn to extreme beliefs and behaviors under the illusion that they are acting politically.
A 2016 UK survey found that, since 1990, rates of depression and anxiety among the young have increased by 70%, while the American Counseling Association has reported a “rising tide of personality disorders among millennials.”
That such disorders appear to be an acute problem with this generation may be an unintended outcome of the unprecedented experiment conducted in the 1990s and 2000s by progressive parents.
Persecution Complex and the “Safe Space”
In 2014, a survey of 100,000 college students at 53 U.S. campuses by the American College Health Association found that 84% of U.S. students feel unable to cope, while more than half experience overwhelming anxiety.
A byproduct of such fear has been the growth of the “safe space,” a safe-haven for minority groups and distressed students from what they perceive as threats within campus life. Safe spaces contain comforting objects that evoke childhood — bean bags, soothing music, Play-Doh, coloring books. The spaces often forbid entry to straight white men or political opponents. Read the rest of this entry »
Academia should consider how it contributed to, and reflects Americans’ judgments pertinent to, Donald Trump’s election.
George Will writes: Many undergraduates, their fawn-like eyes wide with astonishment, are wondering: Why didn’t the dean of students prevent the election from disrupting the serenity to which my school has taught me that I am entitled? Campuses create “safe spaces” where students can shelter from discombobulating thoughts and receive spiritual balm for the trauma of microaggressions. Yet the presidential election came without trigger warnings?
“Only the highly educated write so badly…the point of such ludicrous prose is to signal membership in a clerisy.”
The morning after the election, normal people rose — some elated, some despondent — and went off to actual work. But at Yale University, that incubator of late-adolescent infants, a professor responded to “heartfelt notes” from students “in shock” by making that day’s exam optional.
Academia should consider how it contributed to, and reflects Americans’ judgments pertinent to, Donald Trump’s election. The compound of childishness and condescension radiating from campuses is a reminder to normal Americans of the decay of protected classes — in this case, tenured faculty and cosseted students.
Doug Sosnik says the Democrats will be “at considerable risk” when the president leaves office.
William D. Cohan writes: It’s downhill for Democrats after President Obama leaves, one consultant says.
One of the Democrats’ most veteran strategists warns that the party is “in decline” and “at considerable risk” when President Barack Obama is no longer on the scene.
“Since Obama was elected President, the Democrats have lost nine governorships, 56 members of the House and two Senate seats,” Doug Sosnik, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House, writes in a new memo.
While Republican branding problems get the lion’s share of attention, the Democratic Party’s favorability rating has declined by 15 points since Obama took power. A Pew Research Center survey this January showed that the Democratic Party was viewed favorably by 47 percent of Americans, down from 62 percent in Jan. 2009.
These memos are read closely by an influential community of insiders in the political and business worlds. In this one, Sosnik outlines several challenges facing his own party:
• Obama’s personal popularity does not easily translate for other candidates. The president is not building the Democratic Party’s institutional apparatus in a way that it will thrive when he’s gone.
• The losses in the 2010 midterms gave Republicans control of the redistricting process, which will be in effect until after the 2020 census. This gives the GOP a structural advantage in keeping the House.
• Millennials, born 1981 to 1994, and Generation X’ers, born 1965 to 1980, are voting Democratic, but a plurality identify themselves as independents — which makes them less reliable.
Jamie Gregora reports: The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation released its first “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Towards Socialism” Monday. The survey showed a distinct generation gap regarding beliefs about socialism and communism between older and younger Americans. For example, 80 percent of baby boomers and 91 percent of elderly Americans believe that communism was and still is a problem in the world today, while just 55 percent of millennials say the same.
Just 37 percent of millennials had a “very unfavorable” view of communism, compared to 57 percent of Americans overall. Close to half (45 percent) of Americans aged 16 to 20 said they would vote for a socialist, and 21 percent would vote for a communist.
Mohammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman of ISIS and one of its most senior members, has died in Syria, reportedly as a result of an online Facebook exchange.
“Brother al-Adani suffered a nervous breakdown after trying to recruit a couple of students from Portland, Oregon. Whilst promoting Jihad, his message was drowned out by the snotty little gamers who spend their days throwing a Frisbee, dressing like Superman and singing along to carpool Karaoke. After enduring six hours of whining about parents, bragging about new iPhones and arguments about energy drinks, our leader logged off, drove to the nearest cliff, and hung himself with an iPod charger,” ISIS said. Read the rest of this entry »
Sen. Bernie Sanders proudly proclaims himself a “democratic socialist,” and many in the Democratic Party seem to have no problem with it and, in fact, are embracing him and his ideas. Listening to all of this, one gets the feeling that for a significant portion of the population, history began in the year 2000. Where have been the great socialist success stories? Much of the world’s population greatly suffered under various forms of socialism in the 20th century. Not one of the various socialist models proved to be a success.
There was the communist variety of socialism in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China and Cambodia, which resulted in tens of millions of deaths from starvation and from the gulags. There was the national socialist (Nazi) model in Germany and Italy, which, like the communist version, resulted in tens of millions of deaths. Somewhat more benign, but still coercive, versions of socialism were prevalent in India, many places in Africa and South America, and all resulted in economic stagnation — because productive effort was separated from reward. The two most socialist countries today are North Korea and Cuba — both being very poor and repressive. The average Cuban government worker has a monthly wage which is less than what the average American worker makes in an hour.
It is true that every country has some socialist enterprises at the federal, state or local levels. For instance, the U.S. government owns Amtrak, and the city of Flint, Mich., owns its water department. Arguably, both would do much better in private hands. France has many more government-owned enterprises than neighboring Switzerland. Even France is still basically a capitalistic free-market economy [Meh. – LAL] — but with far less freedom and prosperity than Switzerland.
Why does socialism always fail, and why will Bernie Sanders‘ schemes and, to a lesser extent, Hillary’s Obamacare version, also fail? Under a capitalist free-market system, the business person seeks to produce goods and services that the consumer wants at the lowest possible cost — which includes having the smallest and most productive work force possible — in order to maximize profits. Under the socialist model, the political leaders decide what the consumers should have (which is often very different from what they want or need). Productivity and innovation are given short shift, needless workers are hired and few are fired. In almost all cases, costs soon outrun revenues, and the losses are made up by ever higher taxes or more debt — eventually causing an economic collapse.
Ben Shapiro writes: A new poll from TransferWise shows that 35 percent of those born in the United States would consider ditching their home country to live elsewhere; that number skyrockets among those aged 18-34, the so-called millennials, 55 percent of whom said they would think of taking off if given the chance.
“Most of those millennials cite economics as a chief factor in their desire to leave: 43 percent of men and 38 percent of women said they’d leave if they could get paid more in another country.”
The rationales for staying in America, articulated by Americans, are particularly weak: 59 percent say they would stay because “it is home,” another 58 percent say they would stay thanks to romantic and family ties – and then the stats drop precipitously, with just 22 percent stating they would stay for the democratic society, 17 percent for the culture, 10 percent for the good future for children, 5 percent for wealth, 3 percent for low crime, and 2 percent for low taxes.
All of which makes sense, given that America has been moving in the wrong direction with regard to preservation of democratic society, a common culture, a good future for children, wealth, low crime, or low taxes. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Barone writes: Public policymakers and political pundits tend to focus on problems — understandably, because if things are going right they aren’t thought to need attention. Yet positive developments can teach us things as well, when, for reasons not necessarily clear, great masses of people start to behave more constructively.
“What accounts for this virtuous cycle? …I think what we are seeing is a mass changing of minds.”
One such trend is the better behavior of the young Americans of today compared to those 25 years ago. Almost no one anticipated it, the exception being William Strauss and Neil Howe in their 1991 book Generations, who named Americans born after 1981 the Millennial generation and predicted that “the tiny boys and girls now playing with Lego blocks” — and those then still unborn — would become “the nation’s next great Civic generation.”
The most obvious evidence of the Millennials’ virtuous behavior is the vast decline in violent crime in the last 25 years. The most crime-prone age and gender cohort — 15-to-25-year-old males — are committing far fewer crimes than that cohort did in 1990.
Statistics tell the dramatic story. In two decades the murder rate fell 49 percent, the forcible rape rate 33 percent, the robbery rate 48 percent, the aggravated assault rate 39 percent. Government agencies report that sexual assaults against 12-to-17-year-olds declined by more than half and violent victimization of teenagers at school declined 60 percent.
Binge-drinking by high school seniors is lower than at any time since 1976, sexual intercourse among ninth graders and the percentage of high school seniors with more than three partners has declined. Read the rest of this entry »
John Nolte reports: A stunning new poll of young adults aged 18 to 29 shows that in large numbers, they have turned against President Obama and ObamaCare.
Among the youngest in this group, those aged 18-24, a full 52% support a recall effort that would throw Obama out of office. The number is only a little better among 18-29 year-olds, 47%. Individual members of Congress actually fare a little better with 45% of Millennials favoring a recall. A majority do, however, favor recalling Congress as a whole.
Since his reelection, Obama’s overall approval with young adults has plummeted 11 points to just 41%; which puts it in line with the rest of the country.
ObamaCare is even less popular with this group. Fifty-seven percent disapprove of ObamaCare, with only 38% approving.