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Look at Me, Unless I'm Smoking Weed or Something

By Jocelyn Geboy in News on Mar 7, 2007 7:51PM

Jean Twenge is a San Diego State University professor and lead author of the study that says that the generation born after 1982 is "the most narcissistic generation in recent history." OK, we've got to do some thinking about that.

On one hand, we agree. Chicagoist finds it extremely odd that even in the most casual of conversations about the most inane of pop culture references ("Fantasy Island," "Little House on the Prairie"), a lot of the people we know who were born in the mid-'80s have NO CLUE about things they were not present for. When we were their age, we were interested in politics and music and pop culture of the '60s and '70s, and knew about the roaring '20s and really admired the sufferagettes. We knew who Howdy Doody was, for God's sake! This generation doesn't seem to have something on their radar unless it's retro or hipster.

On the other hand, aren't all college-age students narcissistic? Especially with the extended adolscence a lot of middle-class kids enjoy, going to college almost as a given. We see people coming out of college in their early 20s with no clue how to rent an apartment, to pay their own bills or even to tip at a restaurant. Mom and Dad have always provided, and their sole existence has been to eke by in college and to learn the subtlties of flip cup.

However, Twenge's study brings up a point that has us back in the no column. She says, "Current technology fuels the increase in narcissism. By its very name, MySpace encourages attention-seeking, as does YouTube, whose slogan is 'Broadcast Yourself.'" Hold up, hold up. We know lots of people who use MySpace and YouTube who are over the age of 30. We know lots of people who blog who aren't writing about how Tommy dumped them for Charlotte. So, we still think that Twenge is a little off when she says that it's this generation that's more narcissistic. We think it's society in general.

More about the vanity after the jump....

The point that gets brought up time and time again is that because the youngin's are so self-absorbed, they don't stop to think about all the people that have access to their personal lives as a result of their blogs, MySpace profiles or YouTube vids — they put things out there that might be fodder for potential stalkers, could be harmful, or in the case of so many, plain, old illegal. Obviously. Because we just marvel at the number of teenagers and college students posting pictures of themselves underage drinking, smoking weed, hazing, and getting sexy. Nancy Baym, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, says, "They're thinking about, 'Who am I and how can I show myself to the world?' They're not thinking about parents, teachers, employers and all these other people who can see this."

We are constantly baffled at some of the ads we see on Craigslist for people requesting of and advertising their propensity for being 420 friendly (that's weed, people), or wanting to take a trip (that's acid, kids), or seeing who wants to go skiing this weekend (that's a rocky mountain high, if you *sniff* know what *sniff* i mean). It always seems to us that's officer bait waiting to happen, or undercover cops waiting for the bait to come to them.

At the end of the day (or this article), we aren't so sure that it's just the kids that are super vain and clueless about how they are perceived by the world. We think society in general has adopted an "it's all about me" attitude — just watch people drive these days. But we do agree that the younger people we meet seem to be particularly clueless about things that don't seem to directly affect them. And then we want to hit our foreheads for every time we want to say, "Back in the day...," cause we're not that old.

"narcissistic demon children" by mlohninger.