A retreat to self
David Brooks’ syndicated column on the pervasive negative attitude of young people today is shortsighted [“Today’s cynical college students,” Opinion, March 29].
Cynical kids did not emerge after 9/11 or the financial crash. Youth culture has tended toward the dark and bitter for decades, dating back to the jingoistic “evil empire” and solipsistic “it’s your money” Reagan administration.
Since that era, young people have embraced the extreme violence and misogyny peddled to them by musical groups such as Linkin Park and Public Enemy. Kids commonly celebrate stunningly violent video games and emulate clothing favored by street gangs.
Currently, it seems that most every young person is constantly staring at a small electronic screen and twiddling their thumbs on tiny keyboards. Engaging people directly and conversation seem passé among kids today. Their retreat into self over community is ongoing.
— Matthew Sproul, Portland, Ore.