Is it not normal from somebody from a particular generation to lament the flaws in the next generation, while not considering the generation before the lamenter often made the same laments? There are cases of people ranting about "kids today," and then repeating what their own parents said about their generation.
Anyway, here's a counter-point to Ellis by Theo Merz.
The novelist and screenwriter is just the latest in a long line of men who've reached middle age and decided the generation born after them lacks sufficient grit, from Norman “my father got on his bike and looked for work” Tebbit to Socrates’ complaint that “our youth now love luxury” (and probably stretching back to early man mocking the droopy spears of his young in cave paintings).
Crudely labelling an entire generation one thing or another is a futile exercise and it’s strange that Easton Ellis thinks it’s something worth getting involved in. The one major difference between Easton Ellis’s generation and my own is that we grew up alongside the internet and social networking – but rather than make us wussier, as the author suggests, I would say it helps us handle criticism.
Older generations may also declare young people are wusses due to an ignorance of mental health. For example, a 20-odd year old with debilitating depression in the 1950s was much more likely to be told to grow a pair, stop being a cry-baby, just get on with life, etc. than they would be today.
All the being said, generations, like individuals, are complex, and generalisations about any one will lead to pitfalls and exceptions. I could wonder if older generations are even capable of understanding depression, anxiety, etc. even if they (unknowingly) have suffered from them, but then there are very likely plenty of young people today who have a woeful and dangerous ignorance of mental health. We could say kids today are lazy and undisciplined, but our own teachers probably said the same about us, and as somebody who works with kids I'd say such a statement simply isn't true.
When the millennials become the older generation, they'll probably tell subsequent ones how they used to run 15 miles uphill in the snow in scorching heat every day just to get to school - a time-honoured tradition passed down from generation to generation.
A very vague and unhelpful guide. Why start with world history? Surely there should be enough in a person's life for them to know where they'd like to start. For example, I'm English, and my GF is Belgian-Israeli. If I decided to start learning history, I'm more likely to feel an affinity for English, Belgian, or Israeli history than for a place I've got no personal connection to. If I study world history, I have to start with a specific place, so that's my specific location chosen without having to learn little tidbits about places I don't care about.
I don't need an extensive knowledge of geography to study history. I don't need to know much about Waterloo in a geographical sense except for its rough location, and key features of the battle site, which any half-decent historical narrative (or whatever) of the battle will describe in adequate detail. I don't need to know the layout of Paris, or whence and wither the Seine runs to study the French Revolutions. In fact, beyond the basics (which, again, should be included in the history texts if necessary), I don't need to know any French geography. If I know Paris is the capital of France, and that France is in Western Europe, and that France is just across the English Channel, I have enough geographical knowledge to get started with the history of the French Revolutions.
When learning history, where to start is open to debate; however, IMO it is a good idea to be able to give one's own honest, educated answer to the following questions: What is history? Why do I want to learn history? Which of the different methods of studying and writing history do I most agree with?
After answering those questions, the answers to which should vary from person to person, one might want to begin not with history, but with historiography; this will facilitate the learning of history by giving one a greater understanding of it.
Guys, I think we can have this argument without so many insults and personal attacks.
Derrik, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't seen your Twitter feed, and parts of it did concern me. However, I feel you have long been a respected member here, and I understand you suffer from depression*. Therefore, I feel it is only fair that we allow you to explain your position on LGBTs, ethnic minorities, equality, etc. After you've done so, it might turn out there has been some misunderstanding, or I might decide our views are very incompatible, but there's no reason you should feel you have no right to explain your position.
*Somebody very close to me and whom I care very deeply about suffers from depression, and I've learned how important patience and understanding are, so if you ever need a sympathetic ear, just PM me.
Are you saying rape jokes are acceptable? Do you feel your right to tell a crass joke trumps the right of a rape victim to not have the trauma they have suffered trivialized? Or, if they do hear the joke, should they put up and shut up?
BTW, going back to your earlier point, if somebody feels bullied or victimized by something you said, it isn't simply their problem, and they do have the right to complain about it. Furthermore your blatant and malicious attacks on LGBTs are in no way comparable with a philosophical argument that may cause some people to think life is misery, especially when the intention of the former is to demonise an undeserving group of people.
If you do not think it is right for LGBTs to be victimised, treated differently, or viewed with contempt, I apologise for the misunderstanding, but it does seem as though you have a problem with them. Maybe something you want to talk about?
I've read a ton of stuff since I last posted here, which I won't bother to list.
ATM, I'm reading the following:
12 Years a Slave
A Tale of Two Cities
Side By Side (A history book about Israel and Palestinian wherein each chapter is the Israeli version on the left hand page, and the Palestinian version on the right hand page).
A book for teaching myself Hebrew.