Saturday, February 19, 2011

Where have the good slackers gone?

There's an appallingly bad article in yesterday's WSJ bemoaning the fact that all twenty-something men are perpetual post-adolescents. Somehow they've managed the interesting phenomenon of delayed marriage, already thoroughly discussed in books like Red Families/Blue Families, and spin it into yet another piece asking (literally) "Where have the good men gone?".

Really, the entire article is one long exercise in begging the question. It claims that men ("guys"... blech) are delaying adulthood, but then narrowly defines adulthood as follows:

  • High-school diploma
  • Financially independent
  • Wife
  • Kids

Given that the cohort the article describes typically has college degrees and well-paying jobs it really starts to sound like a well-meaning aunt asking "When are you going to settle down and find yourself a nice girl?".

Hello, missing the point much? You shouldn't be complaining about delayed adulthood, you should be asking why we consider having a wife and kids to be a definitive marker thereof. Even the complaints about pot-smoking, Playstation-playing ne'er-do-wells ring hollow given the accompanying article profiling 20-something start-up founders. Which, strangely enough, is titled "Two Cheers for the Maligned Slacker Dude", leading me to conclude that "slacker" no longer means "someone bereft of ambition" but now means whatever the NYT wants it to mean. Which, in this case, seems to be "unattached hipster entrepreneur".

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