Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another of those "Kids Today!" Articles that make no sense.

Kids today! They're on the road to ruin. It's just so much worse than when we were kids. They've got the facebook, where they post their "unflattering" pictures of themselves; they've got their video games, which are just so violent; they've got their marijuana, which is just so much more potent than what they had in the 60s and 70s; they've got their underwear-exposing baggy pants; they've got their tattoos.

And now do you know what they're doing? They're "hooking up" without falling in love! Seriously, they're giving in to their natural urges and they're not even feeling guilty about it! According to this "op-ed" column in the New York Times, "The Demise of Dating,"

Dating is dated. Hooking up is here to stay.

Hooking up, as the author Charles Blow (got to be a pseudonym, right?) describes it, is "a casual sexual encounter with no expectation of future emotional commitment". Does that sound scandalous to you? Or does it sound ideal? Sometimes a casual sexual encounter with no expectation of future emotional commitment is a good thing. Why would anyone want to limit themselves if they don't have to?

Blow, obviously a fairly hip guy who first heard about "hooking up" years ago (maybe when Tom Wolfe's book came out), "figured that it was a fad that would soon fizzle. I was wrong. It seems to be becoming the norm."

Of course this is bad. Because the kids are having more sex, and we can't have that.

Oh, wait.

I should point out that just because more young people seem to be hooking up instead of dating doesn’t mean that they’re having more sex (they’ve been having less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or having sex with strangers (they’re more likely to hook up with a friend, according to a 2006 paper in the Journal of Adolescent Research).

Okay, so then there must be some reason why Blow thinks this "strange culture" is so bad.

It turns out that everything is the opposite of what I remember. Under the old model, you dated a few times and, if you really liked the person, you might consider having sex. Under the new model, you hook up a few times and, if you really like the person, you might consider going on a date.

Ah, I get it. "When I was a kid, we didn't do it that way, so it must be wrong." He's jealous. But I don't think he's jealous of the fact that the kids today are doing it. I think he's jealous of the fact that they don't feel shame about it. He gets the straight dope on the strange culture from the totally plugged in "Kathleen Bogle, a professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia who has studied hooking up among college students and is the author of the 2008 book, “Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus.”" She tells him that

"It used to be that “you were trained your whole life to date,” said Ms. Bogle. “Now we’ve lost that ability — the ability to just ask someone out and get to know them.”

Now that’s sad.

First of all it's not true. "Hooking up," even as explained in this stupid opinion piece, is described as an action between friends. You're getting to know them and hooking up at the same time. And even if it were true-- that we as a culture were somehow losing the ability to get to know someone through holding hands and walking around the town square, or attending Sadie Hawkins dances, or sharing a chocolate malted at the soda shop-- for crying out loud would that be a bad thing?

Only to some old fogey pining away for an idealized memory world in which things were done the right way, goldarnit!

But Blow's concerns aren't only with the kids today losing touch with the idealized past of his youth. He's also worried about "gender inequity"

The cons center on the issues of gender inequity. Girls get tired of hooking up because they want it to lead to a relationship (the guys don’t), and, as they get older, they start to realize that it’s not a good way to find a spouse. Also, there’s an increased likelihood of sexual assaults because hooking up is often fueled by alcohol.

You know how girls are. It's how they've always been, ever since Blow was a kid-- girls want to get married, and boys just want to get laid! That's how it is. That's how it's always been and there's no need to cite any statistics or anything to back it up. And while we're at it, let's also let people know that this "strange culture" isn't just a defiance of the old ways of doing things, it's also leading to sexual assaults because there's alcohol involved! And we don't need to give you any statistics about that either, because it's just so self-evident: Girls cannot take care of themselves, and boys are lust-crazed animals.

Why does anyone take these conservative, stasist old fogeys seriously?

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