Times, Post broadcast message: Last Monday, Kevin Drum told the kids to get off his lawn when they engage in their juuling.
Well, that isn't exactly what he said, along with which you may not know just what this "juuling" is. But after he finished his juuling chunk, Drum expressed his main point.
His main point concerned the young people whose lives and interests actually count within our upper-end press corps. He said that, when it comes to the youth, the press corps [HEART] the elite:
DRUM (5/7/18): I don’t actually have any comment to make about Juuling. But this article was a reminder of something that’s long bothered me about reporting on kids: too much of it is focused not just on college kids, but on elite college kids. In this article, the main message from America’s youth is that everything is ironic and “we’re ready to die.” In political writing more generally, it’s about how liberals need to appeal to kids by supporting college loan forgiveness, urbanization, and bicycle lanes.As it turned out, Drum was possibly being perhaps a tiny bit Machiavellian. He said we liberals can't persuade young people to vote if we focus on the ten percent while ignoring everyone else.
That’s fine if your goal is to appeal to about 10 percent of young people. But what about the rest of them? The ones who went to state colleges, or community colleges, or no college at all? On average, they probably don’t care much about college loans, urbanization, or bicycle lanes. They work, they raise children, they pay rent, they buy groceries, and they just generally lead lives that are unironically dedicated to making ends meet.
That said, we'll recommend his larger point. Our big newspapers do seem to focus on the often perhaps not hugely talented but sublimely elitist tenth. It's a noxious habit and, as a general matter, it reeks at the New York Times.
(We'll add a note to Drum's political brief. This noxious habit broadcasts a message, loud and clear, to a wide array of voters.)
That said, is Drum right in his specific assertion? In its reporting on youth, does the upper-end press really concentrate on the unimpressive elite?
We'll only say that the New York Times delighted readers on Saturday with these college admission essays, written by five high school seniors who will be attending Yale, Harvard, Yale, Chicago and even lowly Colgate. On the front page of Sunday's Times was a tragic report from Hamilton College.
Meanwhile, on the front page of the Washington Post, we were asked to care about the deep thoughts which appeared beneath these hard-copy headlines:
Yale course is all about getting an A in lifeWho knows? The course may be worthwhile! On line, the headline says this:
Wildly popular psychology class teaches simple lesson: Play more, worry less
Less cramming. More Frisbee. At Yale, students learn how to live the good life.Just so unbelievably cool! People, we're just saying!
Dr. King has a different idea: "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."
That was Dr. King's central point. Along the way, he stressed the fact that you didn't necessarily have to have gone to Yale:
Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” to serve. You don’t have to know the Second Theory of Thermal Dynamics in Physics to serve...We're omitting where that ended up, because we don't want to be embarrassing. But Dr. King knew he was being helped by people who were morally great but who hadn't been to any college, let alone Harvard or Yale.
Speaking of Yale, let's add this: We're asked today to be deeply upset about an experience a graduate student had last week. We'd have to say that's part of the syndrome to which we refer.
We expect to discuss that incident further at some point. We're trained to shriek at the racial insult while missing the class condescension involved in the overall tale.
That said, the world is full of deserving kids who are struggling in public school and in their chance for a full life. Increasingly, though, we're asked to worry about some of the most overprivileged malcontents in the history of the world, even as we throw fifth graders by the millions under a leaky bus.
We care about the one social class, not about the other. How hard is that to see?
Back to yesterday's headline. Do Yale students really just wanna have fun? We doubt that, but one thing is clear:
Our "journalists" wanna write all about them and their wonderfulness. This preference broadcast a noxious message. That message comes through loud and clear.
A few last thoughts on juuling: We recall the values of Cornelia Africana, greatest of all Roman matrons, as described by the leading authority on her life:
An anecdote related by Valerius Maximus in his Factorum ac dictorum memorabilium libri IX (IV, 4, incipit) demonstrates Cornelia's devotion to and admiration for her sons. When women friends questioned Cornelia about her mode of dress and personal adornment, which was far more simple and understated than was usual for a wealthy Roman woman of her rank and station, Cornelia indicated her two sons and said, haec ornamenta mea [sunt], i.e., "These are my jewels."True story!